Anticipate the next slide with transitional statements


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In writing, it’s good practice to create transitional statements between paragraphs or sections. For example:

“Next, I’ll cover how you can implement the ideas I’ve discussed.”
“On the other hand…”
“That was one example; now I’ll give you another example.”

The same is true when you speak. Transitional statements help glue your points to each other and to your talk as a whole. They make clear the relationships between ideas. These relationships make the entire talk hold together for your audience.

Gluing slides together

Unfortunately, when people use slides, they often think in discrete chunks because each slide is a separate element. This turns into an awkward pause as they switch to the next slide. This is especially true when they aren’t sure what’s coming next.

You should always know the content of the slide that is coming next!

One way to do this is to practice. Yes, you should practice before a presentation.

Another way is to use Presenter View, which I cover in another post. Presenter View shows you the next slide (as well as the current slide and your notes) on your own monitor, while showing only the slide to the audience on the screen.

Of some help is to show the structure of a presentation visually, but while this helps the audience understand the presentation’s structure and where each slide fits into it, structure markers don’t make connections between the sections or between slides. I have an older post explaining how to show the structure of a presentation here.

Adding transitional statements

Once you know what’s coming next, you can add a transitional statement. For example, in the 2 slides that I show above, I have 2 statements:

  • You may need to convince executives that presentation skills need to be improved.
  • Use gentle persuasion to bring about the willingness to change.

What would be a good transitional statement after the first slide and before the second one? Here are a couple of ideas:

“What techniques might work?”

“Let’s discuss a few ways to do this.” (if there are a few ways that follow)

You can probably think of others.

Another advantage of transitional statements is that they force you to do more than read your slides.

Types of transitional statements

If you look up “transitions between paragraphs,” you’ll find a lot of ideas, although they’re mostly meant for writing. You can categorize transitional statements by the types of relationship between the two slides. Here are a few ideas.

  • Similarity/agreement: in the same way, similarly, by the same token, and so on
  • Contradiction/contrast: On the other hand, in contrast, in spite of, and so on
  • Cause/effect: Provided that, in order to, as a result, for this reason, and so on
  • Examples: To illustrate, for example, to demonstrate, and so on
  • Conclusion: As we have seen, to summarize, in short, all in all, and so on

These are just short phrases, but definitely consider using full sentences as in the examples I gave above. When you do this, you create anticipation for the upcoming slide and this holds the attention of your audience. I talk about a way to use anticipation on a slide (not between slides) in this post.

This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Ellen Finkelstein – View the original post .


About the author

Ellen is a PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional, a Microsoft award), one of only 11 in the United States and 40 in the world. Her well-known website at offers many PowerPoint tips, a blog, and the free PowerPoint Tips Newsletter. She specializes in training speakers and presenters to convert Death by PowerPoint to Life by PowerPoint; communicate clearly and powerfully; and design high-impact, persuasive and professional-looking slides.

She is an Amazon bestselling author. Some of her books and e-books are PowerPoint for Teachers: Dynamic Presentations and Interactive Classroom Projects, How to Do Everything with PowerPoint 2007 (and three earlier editions), Slide Design for Non-Designers, 101 Tips Every PowerPoint User Should Know, The Lost Art of Persuasion, and others. She has written numerous articles on presenting and PowerPoint for Microsoft’s website and blog, Inside PowerPoint,, PresentationXpert, Presentations magazine, and more.

Ellen Finkelstein has done training for Citrix, Brainshark, Disney, Microsoft, Pennsylvania State Education Association, Maharishi University of Management, State University of New York at Buffalo, State University of Illinois, Vastu Homes, and others. She does on-site training, 1-on-1 virtual coaching/training, and live workshops. Read other posts by

Published On: 7th Jul 2016

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