Public Speaking Course:
Most of the books and articles written on public speaking and
presentation skills will tell you that in for you to be a polished speaker you must tie all
of your information together. They say you must lead your audience and let them
know that slightly different, but related information is coming. This is
called transition, or segue (pronounced seg-way). As you will find
from my public speaking course I do believe fully
that smooth transitions are necessary if you plan on putting your
audience to sleep from boredom.
Lets pretend were at the amusement park. Look around for awhile and
tell me where all the excitement is. Obviously, it's over on the roller coaster
where the transitions are sharp and exciting. They are sharp and exciting even though you can see them coming. The excitement isn't over at the kiddie choo
choo train (notwithstanding, the excitement you might feel watching your little munchkin on there for the very first time) where turns and
motion are really mild so the lkids don't get scared. There is excitement
at the bumper cars too where you can get blind-sided because cars
are coming at you from all directions. This awareness should be incorporated in what you learn
from your public speaking course.
OK, I'll admit, some thought should be given to transition, especially
with older, more traditional audiences, and when you have a very highly
informative speech. But you don't have to be a boring, snoozer by saying things like, ." . . speaking of
chickens. I'm now going to talk
You could, however, do a transition like that and then make fun of
by saying something like, "Don't you think that transition went really smooth?"
Transitions are one of the places where you could definitely
use some humor to spice it up. This works well with technical audiences because
they won't feel you are wasting their time. Since, in their minds, you are
REQUIRED to do a transition anyway, it's OK if it's funny.
As you master everything from your public speaking course, you will learn that transitions
aren't important at all for most comedic presenters or stand-up comics. You can just
talk away and as long as
they are laughing, no one much cares about transitions. If you are not in this category, then you can begin paying
closer attention to
bridging the gaps between your points and topics. Just don't be trite and don't think you have to say something to make the transition.
After your public speaking course you will see a good presenter does not demand a transition.
You can cue transitions by changing your stage position, pausing,
using visual aids, giving out a handout, picking up a prop or sharply varying
the sound you make come out of the public address system. Do anything that breaks the pattern of what you were doing in the previous segment
and introduces what you plan to do.
For verbal transitions, one-liners, anecdotes, and questions work well.
Also, people seem to like and need recaps, so I am in favor of saying things like, "To recap
on this section . . ."
When practicing your skills from your public speaking course, whatever you do, think
in terms of roller coasters and bumper cars so you keep your audience
excited and alert all the time.