Presentation Feature: Signposting

What is it?

Transition words or phrases that highlight a presentation’s main points and which indicate connections and movement between ideas.

Why is it important?

Signposts guide the audience through the presentation, helping them understand how its content is structured, how many parts there are and/or what each part consists of. This feature helps presenters maintain the audience’s attention as it provides information about what to expect. Signposting provides a sense of orientation for the audience. There are many common signpost phrases that speakers can use and which audiences expect to hear, so it is worth spending time to learn and use them.

How is it done?

Presenters use signpost phrases such as ‘My topic today is…’ to introduce the main topic, ‘This talk is divided into three parts…’ to provide an overview or outline of the presentation, or ‘Now I’m going to move away from…and talk about…’ to signal the end of one section and a shift to a new one. Speakers may use phrases such as ‘An example of this is…’’ to illustrate a point, or ‘Let’s summarise briefly what we’ve looked at today’ to review the main points and tell the audience that the talk will end soon. Signpost phrases such as, ‘I’d like to expand on this point briefly,…’ may be used to elaborate a point, or ‘Going back to something I said earlier,…’ will return the talk to something mentioned previously.

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