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3 public speaking rules for making speaker transitions onstage

Do you know how to get on and off the stage with grace when you’re one of several public speakers delivering remarks or making presentations?

Here are three public speaking rules to ensure your next event flows seamlessly from one speaker to the next.


Rule 1: When you’re finished speaking, introduce the next speaker – and then lead the audience in a round of applause – while you remain in place.

Sounds easy and intuitive, right?

But here’s what happens at many events:

Speaker No. 1 introduces Speaker No. 2 just fine – but then Speaker No. 1 darts right off stage!

That leads to an awkward moment:

The empty podium.

That’s a problem, because who finds an empty podium the least bit interesting or entertaining?

An empty podium makes the audience wonder “what’s wrong, where’s the speaker, what’s happening next and why is this event taking so long?”

The energy that was in the room dissipates immediately.

Avoiding this issue is simple and requires only one thing:



Rule 2: Continue applauding – and remain at the podium! – until the speaker you’ve just introduced arrives safely on stage next to you at the podium.

This may take a few moments, and that’s OK.

Because being patient and resisting the urge to dash will allow you to avoid another awkward moment: Shuffling self-consciously around the speaker who’s attempting to arrive on stage.


Rule 3: Greet the next speaker with a smile and a hearty handshake at the podium before turning and leaving the stage.

This clearly indicates to the audience that you are finished speaking and are now turning control of the meeting over to the next speaker.

Following these three public speaking rules can make the difference between an event that feels amateurish and one that’s perfectly orchestrated.

When transitions are seamless, the payoff is tremendous:

  • The audience remains focused on and engaged with the speakers instead of being distracted by event logistics.
  • The speakers feel confident and empowered and less self-conscious.
  • The energy in the room is palpable because there’s unity, camaraderie and professionalism at the podium.