Your Questions: How do you create segues in a presentation without spending countless hours planning them?

Transitions from one section of your presentation to the next not only sound more polished, but make the presentation easier to follow. Many times, we overlook this small but mighty practice. Let’s look at some ways you can easily make those connections in your next presentation.

  • Lay out your presentation like a storyboard. Look at the title of each slide. Does the title help you tell the story of your presentation? If it does, you have a logical progression of material. Now build your presentation, using these slide titles as transitions.  
  •  Use the headlines of your slides to connect material you just discussed to the next material. For example, when the slide says, “projected revenue” you might verbalize it this way: “Now that we have discussed the elements of the ad campaign, let’s turn our attention to what we expect to see in projected revenue.” Note, you wouldn’t put all that on your slide, but you would simply verbalize the transition.
  • You can also turn your slide title into a transitional question, for example, “What can we expect in projected revenue?” Questions like this sound different than statements, and can be an effective attention getter, just don’t use questions for every transition. It is more effective to use a variety of transitions.
  • Sometimes you can simply say, “The next slide shows us the timeline for this campaign.” It’s a simple transition from one slide to the next. Just don’t use the same catchphrase each time or it begins to sound repetitive and meaningless.
  • When you are summarizing, you can use the simple word “so” to indicate a summary at the end of a slide or segment. Don’t trail off with an unfinished “so….” but instead link it to a summary. For example, “So all indications are that this online campaign will be highly profitable.”  Some speakers put this bottom line comment in a box at the bottom of their slide. I think it is more effective to verbalize it. If you must show it visually, I would do a build so you only show it when you have finished the slide.
  • PowerPoint 16 (or Speaker View in older versions) previews your upcoming slide. By knowing what is coming, you may be able to improve your transitions. One great practice would be to rehearse your entire presentation, just focusing on the transitions without necessarily practicing each slide’s content, to hear how they sound and how it flows. 
  • Many speakers begin each new slide with a pronounced “ummm.” Practice allowing a pause before your transition statement. This should be part of your practice.

By following these tips you can incorporate effective transitions in your next presentation. Experiment, practice, and discover which of these works best for you to create a more polished and credible presentation.