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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.

Looking for experts in presentation planning? Contact SlideGenius now and receive a free quote!



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.


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Presentation Planning in 5 Easy Steps

Preparing for a high-stakes presentation is often stressful.

With so many different factors to consider, presenters might find themselves feeling pressured to create a memorable and efficient pitch. Planning then becomes a process that might involve a lot of frustration.

If you’re stressed out about that big presentation your boss recently assigned, there’s an easy way to keep your presentation planning organized.

By focusing on these five guidelines, you’ll be able to work through the process one detail at a time:

1.) How do you want the audience to react? 

As a presenter, it’s your responsibility to leave the audience with a favorable impression. The points you discuss should stand even after you’ve finished your speech.

As you prepare to draft the points you want to cover, ponder on how you want the audience to react to what you share.

Do you want them to feel inspired? Do you want them to be persuaded to take concrete action?

Whatever you decide, focusing on your desired effect will help you set the overall tone of your presentation.

2.) What do you want the audience to remember? 

Another thing to consider is your presentation’s key takeaway.

Think of it as your presentation’s premise. It’s a simple idea that can accurately describe all the points and arguments you want to discuss.

Again, consider the one idea you want your audience to leave the venue with.

To get an exact statement, think about the topic you’re covering and figure out how much of it will be included in the scope of your discussion.

3.) What will happen as a result of your presentation? 

According to public speaking guru, Stephen Boyd, establishing a sense of direction from the get-go is essential in guiding your listeners over your presentation. This also effectively captures people’s attentions, because it gives your pitch structure and meaning.

For that, always keep your desired outcome in mind.

Should everything go smoothly, what is your ideal scenario? Whether it’s to close in on a deal or impress upper management, use this as a guide on to act on the day itself.

What can you do to help convince the audience of your message’s credibility? What should you say if things fall apart and you have to salvage the situation?

4.) How can you motivate the audience to take action? 

With an intended outcome in mind, you can zero in on how to motivate your audience to take action.

At this stage, you need to consider their perspective. If you can learn what you can about their goals, you can tailor your presentation for them.

In this way, it will be easier to reach out and push them toward the results you want to see.

5.) How will you involve them in your discussion? 

Finally, it will help if you can think of ways to increase audience engagement in your presentation. It’s important to establish rapport with the audience and make them feel involved in your presentation. No one wants to sit through an hour long monologue.

According to leading venture capitalist, Marc Cenedella, knowing your audience is essential in engaging them and avoiding miscommunication during your presentation. To do this, periodically ask your listeners if they have questions or comments.

When they do participate, be open to hear an opinion that’s different from your own.

If you can, refer to the points they bring up as you move your discussion.

Presentation planning can be a lot of work. However, you can get an easy start by asking yourself these key questions. At the end of the day, what truly matters is that you deliver a presentation that results into positive action from your audience.



Audience Participation: 4 Crucial Questions to Answer.” SlideGenius, Inc. August 28, 2014. Accessed February 18, 2015.
Cenedella, Marc. “Know Your Audience.” The Ladders. Accessed February 18, 2015.
Fine-tuning Your Presentation’s Core Message.” SlideGenius, Inc. November 11, 2014. Accessed January 12, 2016.
Producing Powerful Presentations.” SBoyd. Accessed February 18, 2015.


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The Complete Presentation Checklist

Prepare for your presentation with this checklist

Are you ready for your presentation? This presentation checklist will help you cover all the bases.

We often emphasize that the secret to a great presentation is sufficient preparation. As you know, the most compelling speakers won’t face an audience expecting they can “wing it”. What makes their presentations so memorable is the fact that they took the time to craft their message. Just take a look at Steve Jobs, who was known to have spent hours practicing and perfecting his keynotes.

Thought leader Michael Hyatt says it best:

“The reason I do a good job is because I prepare. I don’t believe in ‘winging it’.”

While it may take up much of your time, preparation is the best way to a successful outcome. It’s not enough to string together a bunch of slides. You need to dig  deeper if you want to provide the audience with a complete and informative discussion. Here’s a presentation checklist to help with your preparation:

1. Identify the goal you want to achieve

Before you take on any other task, the first thing you need to do is identify the purpose of your presentation. What is the end goal? What would you consider a successful outcome? What’s the ultimate takeaway that you want your audience to remember? What is your core message? Answering these questions will give you a clear direction for your presentation.

2. Learn more about your audience

The audience is a crucial part of your presentation. This may seem pretty obvious, but some do tend to ignore the importance of their role. That’s why a lot of us have sat through presentations that seemed too long  and tedious. If you want to give your audience an experience that’s totally different from the usual scenario, you need to learn more about where they’re coming from.

The people in your audience have the power to accept or dismiss the message you’re sharing. If you want to connect with them, you need to learn more about their point of view. Where are they coming from? What are their backgrounds? How much do they know about the topic you’re presenting? You can use this guide to make sure you answer all the important question about your audience.

Another thing you should consider is the event or conference you’re participating in. What type of event is it? Is it an industry event where you’re expected to address professionals? Is it a seminar for aspiring leaders looking for inspiration and motivation? By learning the culture of a particular event, you can better understand how to communicate with your audience.

3. Create an outline of your initial ideas

Having established context, you’ll find it easier to form some great ideas. Let your presentation take shape by using different brainstorming methods. Whatever you decide to use, make sure you keep writing down everything that comes to mind. Don’t attempt to edit anything out until you’ve exhausted all your ideas.

After brainstorming, you can take your initial ideas and turn them into a rough outline. Review what you’ve written and decide which points stand out the most. You can also rearrange what you’ve written to give your points a clear and logical flow. From there, you can eventually make a presentation storyboard.

4. Fine-tune your content

Once you have a rough outline for your presentation, it’s time to bolster your message with strong presentation content. You can’t just present your ideas through a series of bullet points. You need to present your message through content that tells a story.

As you write your content, always remember your core message. Make sure the goal you’ve established is clearly highlighted on all the points you make. Keep your content well-structured and make sure you don’t include an overwhelming amount of information. You’ll need to discern which of the information you have is the most important to your overall objective.

5. Design a compelling PowerPoint deck

We’ve always emphasized how important visuals are to presentations. To keep your audience engaged, you’ll need to create a PowerPoint deck that can emphasize your message while following the principles of design.

Generally, it’s important to keep PowerPoint designs simple and concise. Use minimal text and high quality pictures. Everything in your design should cohere to the story you’re trying to tell. If you’re pitching sales prospects, make sure your brand is leveraged by your slides. If you really want the best of your story to stand out, consulting with a PowerPoint expert will be a big help.

6. Plan your presentation wear

As we’ve written in the past, first impressions are crucial in presentations. The audience can quickly decide on your credibility based on how you present yourself. To avoid giving them a bad impression, you need to maintain a polished and professional look.  A sloppy attire will make you lose the credibility you want to achieve.

Appropriate attire will depend on the context of your presentation, so take note of the information you have about the event. The easiest way to gauge what you should wear is by thinking about your audience. As a general rule, Forbes contributor Nick Morgan said that you should be dressed slightly better than your audience.

7. Internalize your entire presentation

With everything else prepared, it’s time to internalize every detail of your presentation. If you want to avoid committing mistakes, you need to rehearse your presentation as much as you can. Practice helps you become more familiar with your material. Review your speech, plan how you’ll incorporate your PowerPoint deck, and think about how you’ll deliver everything on stage. Interruptions won’t phase you if you’re sure of what you need to do.

It’s important to prepare as much as you can for any presentation. If you want to deliver a message with noticeable impact, you can’t risk to miss any step. Use this presentation checklist as a guide to make sure you cover all the bases and accomplishing everything you need.

Featured Image: Chris Lott via Flickr

Illustration: Oliver Tacke via Flickr