Making Connections with Transitions

This material is from Sprague, Jo and Douglas Stuart. Speaker’s Handbook. 2nd Ed. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988.

Contents

See a map of the basic structure of an oral message.

 

Transitions are important ways to make connections for your audience.

Consider the significance of the connecting words in these sentences.

He plays the piano, and I invited him to my party.

He plays the piano, so I invited him to my party.

He plays the piano, but I invited him to my party.

·  Clear transitions are important in oral messages since the audience cannot go back and reread the words to follow the message.

·  Transitions are necessary elements in making the pattern of a message clear.

·  If your preview is a map, transitions are the signs along the way.

·  Transitions reveal not only the fact that you are moving to a new idea, but also how that idea relates to the previous idea.

·  Do not worry about using too many signposts. Your audience will appreciate them.

·  Use transitions to tie main points to one another, main points to subpoints, subpoints to one another, supporting evidence to arguments, or introductions and conclusions to the body of the speech.

A.    Use phrases like . . .

1.     My next major point is ...

2.     The third cause of inflation is ...

3.     To show you what I mean, let me tell you three stories. In summarizing this entire argument ...

4.     The final point we should consider is ...

5.     What, then, is the solution to this three-part problem I have outlined?

B.    Examples

1.      

a.      Thesis:..........................................................

i.       I say that for three reasons. First,

b.     I.          ..........................................................

i.       This situation is also due to

c.      II.         ...........................................................

i.       Last of all, we can attribute the problem to

d.     IV.       .........................................................

2.      

a.      Thesis:..........................................................

i.       Initially,

b.     I.          ............................................................

i.        Next,

c.      III.       .............................................................

i.       Finally,

d.     III. .............................................................

C.     Try to use a variety of transitions, instead of always using the same hackneyed phrases like “OK, now let’s look at . . .” or “First of all,” “Second of all,” “Third of all,” and “Last of all.”

 

Relationship

Transitional words

Chronological

First, second, third,

Next, then

After ...

Following ...

Cause-effect

So, since, thus,

Therefore, hence,

Consequently, as a result,

Due to ...

Because...

Part-to-whole

One such . . .

Another ...

The first (second or third) of these . . .

For instance, for example,

Illustrative of this,

A case in point:

Let me give you an example . . .

Equality

Similarly, additionally,

Another ...

Of equal importance . . .

Also,

Moreover,

Opposition

But, though, however,

On the other hand,

Conversely, on the contrary,

Yet...

In spite of ...

Nonetheless, nevertheless,

 

D.    Use internal previews and summaries.

1.     In addition to a preview in the introduction and summaries in the conclusion, use internal previews and summaries to help clarify the structure of your message, especially in longer messages.

2.     Internal summaries and previews are much more necessary in oral message than in written since an audience cannot review for themselves during a speech.

3.     Examples

a.      INTERNAL PREVIEW

Once your resume is prepared, the next step in job seeking is to prepare a list of specific job openings. The three best sources here are newspaper listings, your campus placement service, and word-of-mouth recommendations. We will examine the pros and cons of each of these.

b.     INTERNAL SUMMARY

Since the problems in our department were affecting morale and since we had found they were caused by poor communication, we instituted an unusual training program. Let me tell you about it.

c.      INTERNAL SUMMARY AND PREVIEW

I’ve told you why we need to reduce our dependence on the automobile, and I hope I’ve convinced you that a light rail system is the best alternative for our city. Now, you’re probably asking two questions: “What will it cost?” and “How will it work?” I want to answer both these questions. First, the question of cost.

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This page was last modified on Thursday, January 16, 2003.
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