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Transitions enable the flow of a speech. A speech without transitions often seems choppy, and can even seem unorganized. Many tools for transitions allow a speaker to reiterate the central ideas they are trying to express.

Transitional Phrases

Transitional phrases signal the conclusion, or perhaps addition to, an idea. Examples of these transitions include "also," "as well as," "in addition to," "for example," "which raises another interesting point," "the next point I would like to make," "perhaps you are not yet convinced," etc. The use of transitional phrases marks a real difference from much written material--orally delivered speeches often have more of these transitional phrases.

Internal Previews

Internal previews are more detailed then simple transitional phrases, but serve a similar function. While the preview in the introduction discloses to the audience the general points to be made in the speech, the internal preview outlines the critical points to be made within the body of the speech. Internal previews cue the audience to listen for the key elements within major points. Examples of internal previews include statements like "there are a couple of points I would like to make here," "there is both a problem and a solution to propose," or "there are several items to note in this section." Each of these statements might be followed by more detailed, though brief, explanations of what is to come in the speech.

Internal Summaries

Internal summaries, in contrast to internal previews, review the key points a speaker just made. These regular summaries help the audience to remember the key points just articulated by the speaker. Examples of internal summaries include statements like "I have reviewed...," "Now that I have talked about a couple of the key points," or "to summarize briefly what was just discussed..." Each of these statements would be followed by more specific but still brief summaries. Internal summaries reinforce the key issues in the speech.


Signposts are often the numerical indications of the main body points. Many speakers utilize "first, second, third" type numbering to indicate where they are in their speech. Signposts allow an audience to remember the key points and follow along in the speech. They serve to clearly distinguish main body points from each other and also from the introduction and conclusion.