We touched on various ways we could include transitions in our previous article, How to Write a Segue. That was already a long article, and we didn’t go into very much detail regarding transitions. Now’s our chance to give an example of how to use each of those ten transitions in a speech.
In this article, I give you a short story adapted from a previous speech I wrote. Throughout the article, I will insert block quotes to let you know where and which segue I used.
A block quote that looks just like this will tell you when a particular segue is used.
Keep in mind, this is a tongue-in-cheek speech that is designed purely for showing the use of segues and is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual people, places or events is purely coincidental.
You may already be familiar with the story of My Fair Lady. For those of you who are not, picture a couple of wealthy old aristocratic men. One man made a bet with the other, that he can take a woman from the streets, and make her lady of the manor. The other man, believing that a lady is born into the manor accepts the bet thinking his winnings are assured.
It’s the old story of nature or nurture. Must we be born wealthy to be considered wealthy? Must we be born into a social class to be a part of that social class? Must Cat Ladies be born, or are they made?
Here’s a time-based segue, letting the audience know we are referring to something that happened many years ago. “This story begins in 1998”. We are moving from My Fair Lady to my own story.
This story begins in 1998. As a young man in the pursuit of love, I developed a theory. I theorised that if women loved horses, and if I loved horses, then women would love me. My theory was valid, just incomplete. What I learned was that girls and not women love horses. Girls love horses until they become teenagers and then discover boys. Sadly, I was about 8 years too late in putting that theory into practice.
Here’s a concessional segue. “I still went to …”. I used this to keep the story in one place, while letting the audience know I had given up on my original theory.
I still went to horse riding school despite the flaw in my theory. Encouraged by my good friend, let’s call him George, I learned dressage and had a great time.
George was the kind of guy you’d call a ladies man, he always had a date when he wanted one. Curious as to how he could achieve this feat I asked him, “George, how do you do it? What’s your secret to meeting women?”
Here’s a Consequential Segue. “His answer was simple, …”. I was seeking information, I received information, and now the story changes because of that information.
His answer was simple, he replied “You have to know what you want so you don’t waste time with what you don’t want.”
That’s the kind of advice you can apply anywhere, so I interrogated him some more and discovered that he made a list of what he wanted in a woman and only approached those women who were described by his list.
Here’s another Time-Based Segue. “I immediately…”. The story remains at the same time reference, but now we are doing a different action.
I immediately got to work making my own list. I went into detail beginning with 27 points I wanted to have in the next woman I took to dinner. I had points such as, ‘she shall have blonde hair, but brunette will do if blonde is unavailable and red hair is an equal substitute if neither blond nor brunette is found.’
I showed my list to George, and he clicked his tongue at my misunderstanding of how the list worked. George explained slowly and carefully that I needed to keep it simple so I could clarify my own thoughts. It is not a checklist of a woman. It is simply an internal check to make sure that when approaching a woman I feel comfortable that she is someone with whom I will enjoy having dinner.
Back to the list I went. I looked at how I could categorise each item on my existing list and broke it down into three categories:
With my list safely saved into my long-term memory, I set-off on my mission to find my ideal woman.
Another Time-Based Segue, “It didn’t take long…”. This lets the story move into the future, but still gives the impression that we remain in our past.
It didn’t take long until I met Aurelia. Aurelia was so beautiful I learned what breathtaking beauty was. I had to remind myself to inhale every time I looked at her. She was intelligent, a young Law student, always ready for a discussion about the problems of the world. We would go to dinner, and by dessert, we’d have come up with a plan for world peace. Aurelia’s family was so rich, her parents even gave her a name of gold. Aurelia, from the feminised latin root for the word gold, Aureus.
Here’s a Comparative Segue, “Just like me …”. Two characters in the story are sharing a key element of the story.
Just like me, Aurelia had a list of her own. I was not tall, dark and handsome so didn’t meet her idea of beauty. I was not Intelligent about the things she wanted to talk about. And, sadly for me, I was not rich enough to keep up with her globe trotting.
Here’s a spacial Segue, “Aurelia disappeared into …”. In this case we are losing a character from the story because that character has left the proximity of the other characters.
Aurelia disappeared into deepest, darkest Africa on a humanitarian mission between semesters at university.
Seeing both sides of the list, looking for someone from my list while being matched to another’s list was a little humbling. I decided that the list worked but it needed refinement. I deliberated for days what to add or subtract. In the end, I narrowed it down to two points.
I discarded ‘Rich’ from my list on the premise that love conquers all and it doesn’t matter how much money we have so long as we have each other. That’s when I met Helen.
A few things happen here. We use a consequential segue by adjusting the list above. That leads us to the next character where we use a combination of an Illustrative and Comparative Segue. “… so beautiful, that like her ancient Trojan namesake …”.
Helen was so beautiful, that like her ancient Trojan namesake, her face could launch a thousand ships. Long silken black hair hung straight down the length of her back. Unlike Aurelia, Helen wasn’t book-smart, she was street-smart. We could go out to the markets on a Sunday morning and paid no more than half price for anything. That’s the kind of smart I found in Helen.
But it was never to work out. Helen loved an argument, and was almost the complete opposite to me. Even simple things like what kind of cheese belongs on a cheeseburger became a 3-day battle of wits. One day, we walked away from each other to cool off from an argument and we never walked back.
So the list had found me two women, and it had lost me two women. Was it even possible to find someone if I didn’t know what I was looking for. I figured if women carried lists like I do, then they can come and find me.
Another Time-based Segue, “… I waited and waited …” moving the story forward. Hopefully the long time since the beginning gives the audience a sense that we are moving by years at a time now.
So I waited and waited, I got myself out there and let the world know I was a young and free-spirited bachelor. I never approached anyone myself, but I would never dismiss anyone that approached me until I was certain that we were unsuitable to continue. I continued to wait until a friend where I work introduced me to Ellie.
Here’s a Segue that’s hard to categorise. “My friend took me to meet …” I’ll call this an additional Segue, as there is a character introducing another character, and adding to the story.
My friend took me to meet Ellie, and it was love at first sight. Ellie gave me a big hug, looked deep into my eyes and we knew we were made for each other.
I’m glad I discarded that list, as Ellie is not what I would have at first considered beautiful. With her multi-coloured hair and extremely long and sharp nails, had I not been introduced to her I would have walked right past her without thought.
Ellie is not what you would consider rich. In fact, she is so poor that she depends on me for everything. I even let her move into my house as soon as we met.
Ellie is also not what you might consider intelligent. Sure she can solve certain problems, and has a pretty good memory. I just can’t have a good conversation with her. The only thing she knows how to say is “Meow”.
That’s right, Ellie is my cat. Without even knowing it, I abandoned my pursuit of love for a woman, and discovered my love for a cat. I became a Crazy Cat Gentleman and didn’t even realise it until it had already happened.
Here’s a loose example of a Summary Segue, “Therefore my friends …”. The audience can see we are now at the conclusion and are giving our results.
Therefore my friends, I am proof that I was made a Crazy Cat Gentleman. I was not born a Crazy Cat Gentlemen.
By extension I can safely say, that Crazy Cat Ladies are made, and not born.
Although this is quite different to our previous articles, I hope it gives you a sense of what a Segue looks like when it sits inside a speech. Segues don’t have to be complicated, and they don’t have to follow any particular format.
Segues are simply ways to include transitions that move a story through time and space, bring characters in and out, lead us down a particular path, or highlight something of importance to an audience.
Good luck with your Segue Writing. Don’t forget if you find it difficult to include transitions in your speech, check Our Services page and we’ll help you with your own speeches.