Tip #7: Work on Introductions, Transitions, and conclusions.
Intros, conclusions, and transitions have always been a challenge for me – in writing and in speaking! In college, me professors frequently said “David, you need a transition here” or “you need a stronger conclusion.” So I’ve been working really hard on those transitions.
And I’ve noticed that I’m not alone. I’ve seen more than one presentation where the presenter was introduced, then starts their slides with an uncomfortable “um … I guess let’s get started now” and jumps right into the presentation. Or when they’re done, they end with a weird smile and a “um, I’m done now” (I have to admit, I’ve done that myself).
They’re not really that hard to do, either. Here’s what you’ll see me do:
- Usually, someone announces who you are. If they don’t, take a minute to introduce yourself. It gets you used to talking, and gets the audience used to you
- You might start off with a question, or a statement (sort of a statement of purpose for the presentation). Then briefly cover what you’re going to talk about.
- also easy. At the end of one point, flow into the next point with something that relates to it. Or at the least, say something like “we just learned about this. Next up, let’s talk about this for awhile.”
- These transitions make it easy for people to follow along or take notes.
- If you like to walk around while giving a presentation, it helps visually to actually move to another spot while making your transition
- And of course, show something like “point #2” up on the screen if you’re using slides.
- Remind people what they just learned – something like “we’ve just covered these 5 things.”
- Then I like to end with some broad statement about what can happen if you put these ideas into practice (ie., “put these easy steps into practice and you’re bound to improve your website and make your customers happy” or something like that).
- Actually have an “I’m done now” slide. I wrote a book and have a blog, so my last slide says “Thank You,” shows my book cover, and displays my website’s URL.
- If you know you’ll have a question and answer time afterwards, you might just show something like “Q & A time” on a slide, then say “it’s time for questions.”
Improve those transitions – I promise to work on them too!