What makes a speaker memorable?
More than content, more than structure or even accomplishments, it is the way they carry themselves.
Good speakers have a natural way of conveying their content in a merely conversational flow. You’d think this is how they’ve always been. However, this actually comes after many hours of practice.
But the good news is, this flow of speech can be learned! With the right set of transition words and our tips and tricks, you, too, can wow your audiences.
So, are you ready to discover your natural cadence?
Table of Contents
- Things to remember
- How to create a natural flow in your speech?
- Transition Words
- Transition Words Table
- What to avoid in Transitions?
- Wrapping up,
Things to remember
When it comes to public speaking, you will find hundreds of websites that think they have it all figured out.
This creates room for a lot of misconceptions. Before we get into our tips and tricks, let’s make sure we clear out any confusion:
In terms of memorization, people always seem to take an extremist point of view. Meaning that they either think you need to memorize the whole thing by heart or speak your heart out on stage.
Both of these can leave you vulnerable to looking either too robotic or unprepared. Having a proper speech structure is very important, but you don’t need to cling to it for dear life.
Let yourself have the freedom to elaborate. Have your key points so that you can keep yourself centered.
A Sprinkle of You
While you chase important speech ingredients such as structure, body gestures, research, and so on, don’t forget to add the most important ingredient of them all: You.
There are thousands of speakers out there following the same formula, so what makes you different?
It is your personality quirks that add the natural element to it. So while it is important to get all these elements correct separately, don’t lose your core essence.
The Secret to Public Speaking
Okay, you’ve unlocked a secret level. We’re going to tell you the secret to public speaking. The one true formula that never fails.
It will ensure perfect delivery every time. Do you believe us? We wouldn’t either. And yet, so many people are scavenging for the perfect public speaking tips.
There are so many different speech types that there simply cannot be one hard and fast rule. So you will need to experiment until you find a concoction that works for you.
How to create a natural flow in your speech?
What exactly makes your flow natural? It is the kind of delivery that feels smooth and conversational. The important thing is it has to keep from becoming dull or monotone.
You might have seen people knock their first speech off the park, but like most skills, some are more talented than the others.
This does not mean that you can’t catch up. After all, discipline provides the final push that only talent cannot suffice.
To get right to it, here are our top eight tips on how you can create a natural flow in your speech:
Many speakers worry about the time limit and tend to treat it as a buzzer before which you need to fit all your info.
This can make your delivery sound rushed, especially if this speaking setting does not have a timer to keep you on track.
Even if you naturally tend to speak faster, we recommend you pace yourself. Keep in mind that you might be familiar with your content, but your audience isn’t. A good speaker has control over their pace and knows that pauses are friend, not foe.
Nothing breaks your illusion of spontaneity more than you have to stop to catch your breath as you speak.
You might think it looks as if you are so passionate about your speech that you aren’t pausing to breathe, but it rarely is so.
Think of how you sound in a conversation, try to mimic that ease on stage. Practice breathing and slow down so that you don’t sound nervous.
Practice Your Speech
We know this seems like a really obvious suggestion. But you’d be surprised how many people correlate natural speaking with plain unpreparedness.
The spontaneity element that they are going for as a result comes across as incohesive. Many speakers make speaking look so natural that it leads others to believe that it is not the result of many hours of practice.
Your speech can also seem untethered without practice, and you will quickly lose your audience’s attention.
To avoid this, there is absolutely no substitute for practice. Whether you choose to do it alone or in the company of a small crowd of friends and family, you will need to know your content well so that you can experiment on the surrounding elements.
Tape Yourself during Practice
You might practice in front of the mirror a hundred times, but if you do it alone, there is a chance that you will not catch on to what exactly needs changing.
You might have your content down but might be delivering it with a stiff upper body or the wrong hand gestures. Are there enough pauses planned into your speech? What about purposeful stage movement?
These are all things that are important but easy to miss if you do not pay attention to them. We recommend video recording yourself so you can notice these little habits.
It might seem tedious, but it is the best way to observe and analyze yourself.
You know yourself best, so you will immediately be able to spot if your energy seems off or if it seems like you’re putting on a show.
Notice your speed, energy, and vocal variety. With enough practice, you should total control over your delivery
Snip and Shed
We understand that when you write a speech, you tend to get quite attached to it. It seems like everything is an important point.
It is a war crime to even think about further editing it. But sometimes when we’re too close to something, it is difficult to see faults.
There might be parts where you are adding on unnecessary details. This time can be utilized for new information that might elevate your speech altogether.
Ensure you do some practice runs in front of trusted friends who can give you some honest feedback.
Ask yourself if everything in your speech adds to your message or if any of it rings as simply fluff? And if such, snip and shed off the excess.
When you think of a natural flow, a common misconception is that it flows untamed. However, while you might think this looks uninhibited, it can come across as quite sloppy.
It is not classy to see somebody jump from one topic to another with no purpose in sight. Even though the point is to seem smooth, make sure you draw up basic key points and adhere to them.
You can add your own touch, but keep yourself anchored. The most natural speeches are not one without structure, but instead with an invisible one.
Keep Your Spirits Up
Your audience will only respond to your passion if you exude it. It is not their responsibility to bring in the enthusiasm but yours to lead them to it.
This is where it becomes essential that you pick a speech topic that excites you.
If the topic is already interesting to you, then it will seem much more natural than you simply keeping up the charade.
You cannot risk seeming dull and uninspiring on stage. Your audience will respond more easily to you if you can lift their spirits and get them engaged in your speech.
Know Your Stuff
Let’s face it. No one garners more respect than a speaker who knows what he’s talking about.
This means that there can be absolutely no slacking when it comes to research. If you simply memorize only what you need for your speech, it will not have a natural flow to it.
Furthermore, if there is any audience interaction or questions from the audience, your hesitation will be apparent.
Do your homework, and once you know your content, you will find yourself speaking with much more ease.
A natural speech is simply a scattered collection of information that is weaved together with seamless transitions.
Once you learn how to properly utilize these, your speech should flow smoothly from opening, body, to conclusion.
Improper transitions can disrupt your natural flow and make your speech seem jumpy or choppy. They can take away from the otherwise perfect cadence you might have achieved.
Here are the different types of transitions in a speech:
Contradiction transitions are to be used in scenarios where you need to introduce a counterpoint.
This is the abrupt shift from one point of view to another. This type of transition is mostly useful in argumentative or persuasive speeches.
Instead of jumping from point to point, these provide a smooth switch between sides.
For instance: We’ve heard time and again about the many benefits of a vegan diet. But what about our protein requirements?
- But what about…
- On the other hand…
- Contrast that with
- At the same time…
- But if we look at the other side…
- Contradictory to my previous statement…
Oftentimes you’ll find yourself formatting your content in a sequence format. It is easy to lose your audience in your details if you do not keep them on track.
This does not mean you need to pull out a whole numerical list, but just that you need to separate your transitions into bite-sized sections.
It is even better if you can announce to your audience early in the speech about the number of steps they can expect so that it is easier to follow along.
For instance: I’m going to give you the best fresh lemonade recipe ever in only three steps. The first thing you need to do is to make sure you have tons of ice. Secondly, you will…
- Firstly, Secondly, and Lastly
- Next, Then, After
- First, Followed by, and Finally
- The first thing, The second thing, The third thing
There can be many instances when you need to provide examples to support your idea. Using a transition can help it from getting repetitive.
It is also handy to know more transition words for this situation as it might be recurring in your speech.
- For example…
- For instance…
- You know how…
- Some instances can be…
- Take the case of…
- Such as…
- To understand this…
Let’s face it. No matter how much you love your content, not all of it will be equally important.
There are key moments and ideas that you’d like to stand out from the rest.
But if you speak in a monotone format throughout without any emphasizing, then these ideas are likely to get lost.
These aren’t exactly transition words but how you can perform the switch to these sections.
- Pause: Instead of using transitional words to fill up the gap, let your audience absorb the idea by using a few seconds of pause.
- Pace Yourself: A change in pace signifies to the audience that this is something important to pay attention to. Even just slowing down as you enunciate your words can go a long way for your important ideas.
- Question: To switch things up, try asking a question before your idea. The idea can even serve as an answer. This way, your audience is more likely to remember it as it stands out from the rest of the speech.
- Gestures and Movement: Any physical change can break the monotony that was previously built up. You can try incorporating body gestures as well as stage movement to bring a physical transition for extra emphasis.
This particular situation is when you are using visual aids such as Powerpoint slides, flipcharts, and so on.
Instead of just having pauses every time to switch slides or zero in on a point, you can use these transitions.
- If you will direct your attention to the slides…
- As you can see here…
- Moving to the next slide…
- As this graph indicates…
- As the slide displays…
Call to action
Call to action is usually added to the end of a speech. You can include them after your summary or wherever it fits your speech in between as well.
The importance of a transition in this scenario is to add more emphasis. Your goal is to convince your audience to perform a task, so you need to break the routine to get through to them.
- So, what can you do about this?
- How can you apply this in your life?
- I challenge you to try this when you get home.
- If what I said today rings true to you, then here’s how you can help.
- I urge you to try
Reinstating your point
When giving a speech, you will most likely have to repeat your key points several times. However, simply repeating these points will get very dull for your audience.
These are the transitions that will make sure restating this information does not lose its essence.
- Let’s revisit…
- If you remember, when we discussed…
- Let me take you back to…
- We discussed this earlier…
- Let me elaborate once again on the…
Transitioning between speakers
This transition is for when you are sharing the stage with multiple people.
Instead of abruptly stopping or having an awkward pause as you switch speakers, you can use one of these to ensure everything goes smoothly. It will also make it easier for the audience to follow along.
- I’d like to invite my teammate [name] to elaborate on these points…
- I will be passing the stage to [name] to further discuss other strategies…
- I’ll now be calling upon [name] to talk about the upcoming points…
- To talk about the other perspective, we have [name]…
Transition Words Table
|Contradiction/Contrast||On the other hand…Contradictory to my previous statement…But if we look at the other side…Conversely…But what about…Contrast that withAt the same time…In spite of that…However…Yet…Despite this…|
|Similarity||Likewise…Similarly…In the same way…Also…On top of that…|
|Sequence/Chronology||Firstly, Secondly, and LastlyNext, Then, AfterFirst, Followed by, and Finally|
|Examples||For instance…For example…Such as…Namely…To illustrate…|
|Timing sequence||Currently…Earlier…During…Recently…Subsequently…Simultaneously…Before/After…At last…Meanwhile…|
|Cause and Effect||Consequently…Therefore…And thus…Accordingly…Which is why…|
|Emphasis and Impact||Of course…Indeed…Truly…In fact…|
|Adding points||Additionally…Adding to that…Furthermore…In addition…Moreover…Further…Again…Also…On top of that…|
|Summarizing and Concluding||In summary…In conclusion…To summarize…To conclude…Summing up…To sum up…In brief…Drawing towards the end…Briefly summing up…In the end…|
What to avoid in Transitions?
We’ve picked up all these useful transition skills, but it is just as important to know what to avoid.
Incorrect transitions can really distract from your content and make it appear clunky and unprepared. Here’s what to avoid:
Humans, by fault, zero in on fault quite easily. If you use a transition incorrectly, they are likely to think about it for a while, which can lead to them missing important sections of your speech.
Some common examples can be using a contradictory transition such as, however, conversely, despite this, but then continuing on the same trajectory.
Make sure you understand which transition words are fit for which scenarios.
This is a common mistake when it comes to chronological or sequential narration. You need to pick a pattern and stick to it.
If you begin with, Firstly, Secondly, and the third point is, then it disrupts the flow. Even if it seems small, it adds this inconsistency that some audiences might find it difficult to excuse.
Repetition of same transitions
Remember, we are using transitions to break out of the monotony, which is why if you end up using the same transitions over and over, it can add to the problem itself. Which is why we have provided you with many options to choose from. Pick and choose to add variety and keep it interesting.
A natural flow makes you think of an easy and smooth ride with no hitches. Behind the scenes, it takes a lot of practice to make it this way.
With our tips and tricks, you should be able to deliver a speech that is simply conversational in delivery. The right transitions will make your content easy to follow and can help you maintain audience interest throughout.