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 â€œDavid, you need a transition hereâ€ or â€œyou need a stronger conclusion.â€ So Iâ€™ve been working really hard on those transitions.
And Iâ€™ve noticed that Iâ€™m not alone. Iâ€™ve seen more than one presentation where the presenter was introduced, then starts their slides with an uncomfortable â€œum â€¦ I guess letâ€™s get started nowâ€ and jumps right into the presentation. Or when theyâ€™re done, they end with a weird smile and a â€œum, Iâ€™m done nowâ€ (I have to admit, Iâ€™ve done that myself).
Theyâ€™re not really that hard to do, either. Hereâ€™s what youâ€™ll see me do:
- Usually, someone announces who you are. If they donâ€™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 youâ€™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 â€œwe just learned about this. Next up, letâ€™s talk about this for awhile.â€
- 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 â€œpoint #2â€ up on the screen if youâ€™re using slides.
- Remind people what they just learned – something like â€œweâ€™ve just covered these 5 things.â€
- Then I like to end with some broad statement about what can happen if you put these ideas into practice (ie., â€œput these easy steps into practice and youâ€™re bound to improve your website and make your customers happyâ€ or something like that).
- Actually have an â€œIâ€™m done nowâ€ slide. I wrote a book and have a blog, so my last slide says â€œThank You,â€ shows my book cover, and displays my websiteâ€™s URL.
- If you know youâ€™ll have a question and answer time afterwards, you might just show something like â€œQ & A timeâ€ on a slide, then say â€œitâ€™s time for questions.â€
Improve those transitions – I promise to work on them too!