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Move Along Now: Transition Devices for Guiding Presentations

Getting well-organized and researched content into your presentation can take time and drain your energy. But that’s not even half the battle yet. You can’t simply take this information as is and verbally and visually present it to an audience.

You need something to make them work together, and this is where transitions come in handy. They build links and connections that make different ideas and points cohesive. These devices are effective for guiding presentations into coherent outputs that your audience will understand.

Transitions are used to outline and unify your speech’s major ideas. They make your words flow more smoothly, serving as bridges from one point, sentence, or paragraph to the next. You can continuously state facts and points in a logically organized manner, but without transitions, you’ll sound stilted or nonsensical.

University of Cincinnati’s Rudolph F. Verderber (1994) classifies internal transitions as follows:

Complementary Transitions

This may be the most common use for transition statements. Complementary transitions add one idea to another, reinforcing points in your speech. They also demonstrate similarities or parallels between different things.


  • also
  • in addition
  • just as important
  • not only

Use these to present evidence or to strengthen previous statements, especially important ones.

Causal Transitions

These transitions emphasize a cause-effect relationship between ideas. They also establish a correlation between your data and a point that you wish to prove.


  • as a result
  • consequently
  • therefore

Use these to fluidly move from one point to another without surprising your listeners.

Contrasting Transitions

This transition type shows how two ideas differ from each other. Introducing opposing points can emphasize strengths or reassure audiences of perceived weaknesses.


  • in contrast
  • in spite of
  • on the contrary
  • conversely

This might work effectively to present a twist in your pitch. Use this to highlight important differences between the ideas in your discussion.

Chronological Transitions

Chronological transitions show the time relationship between ideas. They can also be signals for moving from one point to the next. They’re vital for showing movement and injecting coherence into otherwise disjointed thoughts.


  • at the same time
  • as soon as
  • at least
  • before

Use these transitions to display relationships within the same section or point.


Transitions unify your speech’s different sections, turning a flood of ideas and information into a stream of organized thoughts and theses. Use transitions in your deck to guide the switch from one slide to the next. If your audience can follow what you’re saying, you’ll land those sales one after the other.

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How to Organize Your Ideas with a Presentation Storyboard.SlideGenius, Inc. September 1, 2014.
Types & Examples of Transitions.” KIM’S KORNER FOR TEACHER TALK.
The Pyramid Principle: Tips for Presentation Structure.SlideGenius, Inc. December 21, 2014.
Verderber, Rudolph F. The Challenge of Effective Speaking. Belmont, California: International Thomson Publishing, 1994.


Featured Image: “Forth Bridge” by SR Photies on flickr.com

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