I mentioned in an earlier post that an easy way to transition into the conclusion was to simply say “In conclusion” or “And, so…” I also it wasn’t a great way to transition. I also mentioned that transitions in the body of the speech could be something as easy as saying “first,” “second,” “next,” and “finally.” Or, you could add something like “Now that we’ve discussed [Main Point A], let’s look at [Main Point B].”
Now, there’s another way to transition to the next point or (and especially) into the conclusion: the question.
A Question as a Transition? Really?
How does it work? Quite smoothly, actually. Main points lead into new main points, and usually there’s a train of thought that progresses logically from point to point within a speech. Since ideas logically follow each other (or should), your transition can include the implied question.
For example, notice the question that starts the last paragraph above. The preceding statement suggests that there’s a new method of transitioning from one point to the next, which is using a question to transition into a new point. Reading that, the reader may ask, “A question? Really? How does that work?”
As a speaker, you can give that thought a voice by asking the question for the audience. Simply ask the question that is on their minds based on what you’ve just discussed as a segue into the next point. This will guide the audience into the next section very smoothly (as mentioned).
You may be asking, “Hey, does this work for conclusions?” (Yes, I’m using this transition device within this article to help you see it in action, so forgive the overkill.) Yes, it does work for conclusions, too.
Of course, you’ll need a more sweeping question such as “Where does this leave us?” or “What can we draw from this?” This will allow you to summarize the main points and relate the purpose of the speech to the audience and urge them to take the necessary next step.
How Many Questions are Too Many Questions?
Should you transition every point using a question? I have used this device for most of my transitions here, and hopefully, you’ve thought to yourself that it seems a bit excessive. You would be correct.
This transition works here and there, but be sure to mix it up a bit. Saying “First” or “Next” is a perfectly good transition, as is a sprinkled in “Let’s move on to [the next Main Point].” Now, you have an added tool for the transition between points or into your conclusion.
Also, be sure to use only one transition per transition. Don’t string them together into some sort of uber-transition: “And so, in conclusion, now that we’ve looked at these main points, what have we learned, and what are the next steps?” It’s just too much!
So, where does that leave us? Enough questions, already!