Revising Connectors and Transitions

Learning Objectives

Explain how to revise connectors and transitions.

Now that you’ve identified which connectors to use and where to put them in your outline, it is worth your time to make each connector as seamless and impactful as possible.

Question #1: Are they in respective order?

A recipe card for Fruit Cobbler

Like a recipe, connectors and transitions need to be in the right order.

Imagine following a recipe, but finding out halfway through that the steps are not chronological. A good preview and review not only clearly names the main points or sub-points during an internal preview, but it reflects the organization of those ideas by listing them in the order that they will be or have been delivered. People familiarize themselves with content by remembering information in sequence. By presenting your ideas out of sequence, one of the main goals of a connector, to help the audience follow along, is unmet.

Question 2: Are they easy to recall?

Since connectors exist to help the audience follow along, they should easily be able to recall the main points and identify the subpoints in the speech. It is much easier to remember a sequence of three words than it is a sequence of three sentences. It is even easier to remember a sequence when it rhymes or uses alliteration. A good speaker will make this sequence as easy as possible for the audience by simplifying the names of main points and subpoints as well as using literary techniques that help them to stand out.

  1. Reduce wording. Try to reduce your main points to the most salient words. While you may not be able to reduce each main point to just one word each, no more than three key words per main point is a good goal.
    • “Main points: 1) Clients need to get reports quickly 2) Reports need to be accurate 3) Clients want a lot of details” becomes: “Clients need reports to be quick, accurate, and thorough”
  2. Use Parallelism. Use the same grammatical pattern of words for each main point. Depending on how much you’ve been able to reduce the number of key words in each main point, this strategy can occur at the word, phrase, or clause level.
    • “I had come. I saw. The city was conquered.” becomes “I came, I saw, I conquered.”
  3. Use Alliteration and Assonance. If you are able, use a thesaurus and your extended vocabulary to create labels for each main point or subpoint. Try to use labels that each begin with the same sound or repeat similar vowel sounds
    • “Reduce wording, Parallelism, and Alliteration and Assonance” becomes “Reduce, Rephrase, Refine”
  4. Embrace Repetition. Use the same labels and phrasing and in the same order each time you refer to your main points throughout your speech.

Question #3: Does each connector have signposts?

Signposts help your audience identify connectors as well as organize information. By ensuring that each connector includes a signpost, your previews, reviews, and transitions will be easily identifiable and your speech will be easy to follow.

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