In college, I was trained for a full academic quarter to be a tour guide of my campus. During my very regimented training, they impressed upon me that above all else good tour guides never lose their tour groups. The very same standard exists for presenters and meeting facilitators. Never lose your audience because if you do, they will likely go to their phones or their friends or to sleep. The weakest link of any tour or presentation comes when moving from one place/portion to the next. It is in transition that your audience is most likely to get lost, distracted, or confused. Thus, you must spend time planning and practicing robust transitions that go beyond “next” and “so.”
In any typical business communication, there are several potential transition points that must be bridged successfully:
A successful transition includes a concrete wrap-up or takeaway of the immediately prior topic/slide/person and then bridges to the next topic/slide/person. These transitions can be statements (e.g., “With a clear understanding of the current problem, we can now address one way to solve it”) or questions (e.g., “With a problem as substantial as this, how can we best solve it?”).
July 2, 2019