When you are moving from the introduction to the main body of
the speech and then to the conclusion, make sure you use warm transitions.
You can’t jolt the audience with an eye-opening introduction
about aliens landing on earth and then go into the body of your speech
as if alien landings are completely normal by sharing examples of how
the aliens are getting along just fine on this planet. I was working on a
speech about my shy daughter’s triumphant solo chorus performance.
The message was about how her bravery of stepping out on that stage
alone led me to alter my perspective of a special needs co-worker
based on how he bravely participated in the Special Olympics. Early
versions of the speech received consistent feedback from friends and
family that the transition from my daughter to the Special Olympics
athlete was too cold. I needed more character description to paint the
picture of him as an individual first, before jumping in with both feet.
You need to add some semblance of a transition that enables the
listener to go back in time and put all the pieces of the story together.
We can effectively go from the attention-grabbing introduction into a
smooth changeover into the body of the presentation. Back to the alien
example: if you add small bites for the audience to chew on, such as,
“After an exhaustive struggle, the aliens found common ground with
the earthlings by…,” the audience can find the connection. I sometimes
hear this referenced as getting the string and pulling it all the
way through. I actually found two effective transition versions that
worked on the Special Olympics speech. First, I used a pondering
open-ended question for the audience about potential catalysts for
change in their lives. Second, I added a simple phrase that said, “A
few days after my daughter’s triumph adjusted my lens on beauty….”
Both changes received positive feedback relating to a smoother transition.
With a warmer jump between topics, stories, and key points, the
audience will be able to follow the flow more easily. Smooth transitions
allow easier understanding of the organization and content of
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