Signposting is letting your audience know that you’re finishing one of your three main points, so mentally they’re able to file that away in the ‘to remember’ part of their brain and clear the decks for the next main point that’s about to come their way.
You can signpost in a number of ways. You can signpost verbally:
- ‘So, that was my first point. Now I’m going to move on to my second point…’
- ‘That’s all I have to say on that topic. Before we move on does anyone have any questions?’
You can also signpost visually that you’re moving on:
- Repeat the ‘headline’ slide you used to introduce the topic. This helps to signal that you’ve come full circle.
- Move to a blank slide and use one of the verbal cues above.
- Turn over the paper you’ve just used on a flip chart or wipe clean the whiteboard to show that that information is now no longer needed and you’re moving on to the next point.
- Move from one position in the room or on the stage to another, again using a verbal cue at the same time.
If you don’t use visual or verbal signposting cues to signal you’re about to move on, your audience will very quickly lose track of where you are. If they’re not sure where you are or whether you’ve moved on yet, they’ll soon lose interest.
Once you’ve made it clear that point 1 is finished then you can signpost that you’re moving to point 2. You then work through exactly the same process, discussing why this point is important and illustrating it with evidence, then signposting and moving on to point 3.
Once you’ve worked through all three main points (which could be five minutes per point or an hour per point in a training course type of presentation) you then move on to your conclusion and closing.