The Magic of Transitions in Presentations

What is the difference between the delivery of a series of slides and telling a compelling story about your company or your team? What is the connective tissue in a presentation that weaves the information into an engaging narrative? The difference between a standard pitch and an engaging story is not on the slides, but in-between. It’s in the transitions in presentations.

Clients necessarily spend a lot of time and effort developing and practicing their scripts, honing the most efficient way to deliver salient points on each slide. Most pitches have a similar outline. Without transitions in presentations, however, even the most proficient delivery of each slide can feel choppy to a listener. It can feel like the presenter is simply going through a checklist. 

Problem? Check. Solution? Check. Financials? Check. Competition? Check. Team? Check. 

That’s not a story, and it’s rarely engaging. 

Transitions are like guideposts for your story. They signal to the audience that you are moving from one topic to another, and they provide a bridge to the new topic. This creates a flow that guides your audience along the narrative.

How do you stitch together your key points with engaging transitions? Common phrases can include “turning our attention now to…” and “one way we do this is…” I don’t recommend picking from a menu of transition phrases, because these moments are precisely when you can personalize the story and elevate your pitch to a narrative. Identify how the slide before relates to the next one, and try different ways of making that connection. Do this aloud, not in written form, so that it sounds natural and conversational.

Many novice presenters miss the opportunity to connect the dots in between the key chapters of a pitch or presentation. These transitions are the moments when you add color to the play-by-play of a presentation. It’s when you humanize the company story, adding nuance and character. It’s the difference between a stale speech and what can feel like a conversation.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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