Signposted Essay Help

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Signposts are important verbal statements used during a public speech to engage the audience and bring them through the different stages of your presentation.

Why Use A Signpost In Public Speaking?

Audience members have short attention spans and as a public speaker you need to work hard to continually capture their attention.

By taking audience members on a journey, as well as letting them know where abouts on the journey they are allows you to maintain their attention on you so you can continue to deliver your message.

If the audience doesn’t understand where you are going with your talk, or how long they will have to listen they will often tune out.

So just as sign posts are used on the road to show you that your exit is in 3.4 miles (or km) signposts in public speaking are used to give the audience a sense of orientation.

Examples of Signposting

Below are some example of a signpost that you would use when you are speaking in public. These are very natural terms so you shouldn’t need to “memorize” them, but it is good to begin using them in your presentations.

Here are 9 examples of signposts that you can draw on an use in your own speeches.

1. “Moving On” To A New Point

If you have finished a point or concluded an idea and you want to go onto your next point it is important to let audience members know you are moving on.


  • Moving on to my next point

  • I’de now like to move on to point #2 where we will be discussing X

See how the language is indicative of movement? You are taking your audience from one place to another.

Just like a tour guide says “time to move on” when you are finished in an area and going to a new area you can do the same thing in your speeches.

2. Changing Your Topic Completely

When you are changing your topic completely it is important to let your audience members know so they can come along on the journey with you.

This is where we ‘turn to’ a new topic. Just like turning the page to a new chapter of a book, or turning the car to go in a different direction.


  • Now let’s turn to something completely different

  • Now, turning to our plans for the future

3. Going Into More Detail

If you want to go into more detail about a topic our signpost is designed to give people the visual cue of expansion.

We “expand” or “elaborate” or or “talk in depth”


  • Let me elaborate on that

  • Expanding on that idea…

  • I want to talk more in depth about…

By using this signpost we are letting people know that we are going to provide them more information.

In their minds they are now aware that we are still discussing the same topic, but we will be discussing it in more detail.

4. Talking About Something Off Topic For A Moment

When giving a speech it is often appropriate to go off on a tangent. The goal of a tangent is to deliver another important point which doesn’t fit in directly with your speech.

Just as if you were driving north and you took a detour east to see a famous landmark and then you continue north we are doing the same thing in our speech.


  • Let me digress

  • As a side note

  • Going off on a tangent I believe it is important to discuss…

5. REPEATING Points Stated Earlier

Repetition is an important technique in public speaking for getting a key message across to the audience.

While repetition can be done without the use of a signpost, a signpost can be used to draw specific attention to the repetition as to give it more emphasis.


  • Re-capping on the previous point I made about…

  • Let me repeat that

  • This is really important so I am going to say it again

6. ‘Going Back’ To Previous Points of Examples

Sometimes during a speech it is important to revisit a particular point on example to draw another learning from it.

This might occur when in the beginning of your speech you tell a story. You may be able to draw multiple learnings from that one story.

So throughout your entire speech you will continually need to go back to that story and remind the audience of the story and draw the learning from it.


  • Going back to the story where I…

  • Let’s go back to the time when…

  • Remember when I said…

7. Summarising A Point

Summaries can be really important when giving a talk. You create a point, expand on that point and then summarise that point now that people have the new information you have given them.

This helps them remember the point better and understand the point in a simplified version.

The summarise signpost also provides a way for you to provide audience members with a simplified version of important content (eg. summarising a long winded report means pulling out the relevant stuff for your audience).


  • Summarising what we just talked about…

  • To summarise

  • In summary this report found

8. Re-capping an Important Statement or Idea

Re-capping is a very similar signpost to repetition or summarisation but is used in different scenarios.

Eg. You would repeat an important point directly after you just said it, but you would recap what someone said in a presentation before you or you would recap main points towards the end of your presentation.


  • Re-capping what the previous speaker just discussed

  • Let me re-cap what we have already covered

NOTE: You can also sometimes use the “go back” signpost to replace the “re-cap” sign post.

9. Wrapping Up Your Presentation

When you are finishing up your presentation it is important to use a signpost to let people know you are concluding.

People will often pay more attention as the end because they know that if they missed anything they can probably pick it up here.


  • I’de like to conclude

  • In closing, let me say…

  • If I may conclude

  • To finish up

  • In conclusion

  • To close this off

In Summary: What Is A Signpost In Public Speaking?

A signpost is a verbal statement used to orientate the audience inside your speech or presentation or to show them where you are going.

A signpost draws in the audiences attention and aims to maintain their attention through the presentation or public speech.

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Topic sentences and signposts are the writer’s way to clear up the argument of the essay to the readers. The first showcase the idea that lies in the paragraphs, with the purpose of establishing links between them. The latter assists the writer in justifying the ideas and the reasons why those ideas are inserted in the essay.
Combining the two in essay writing assures the writer that readers are aware of what they read.

Every good essay consists of these two parts. Topic sentences are commonly used to clear up how the points are interconnected to the main idea presented in the essay, while the signposts prepare the reader for what is about to come. And even though these are not the first thing a writer needs to take care of when crafting an essay, they carry great importance because of these contributions.

Topic Sentences

There is no specific rule as to how long a topic sentence should be. In the majority of essays, these sentences are two or three sentences long, which of course depends on the sentence construction.

Topic sentences can vary in form depending on the construction of the sentence. Generally, there are four most commonly used topic sentences approaches among writers:

When the topic sentence starts at the beginning of one paragraph, but actually transitions from the one before, this is considered the complex sentences approach. The most common way of writing such sentence is by using independent and subordinate clauses. To be more specific, this means that the topic sentence uses subordinate clause to connect to the previous sentence from the other paragraph; and independent clauses with the purpose of introducing new information and claims.

Another term for this approach is John Trimble’s approach. These sentences are somewhat of a substitute for the formal type of topic sentences, mostly because they indicate the prior and the following information. The way of introducing what came before and what follows is done without the usage of different clauses. Simply, the principle of doing this approach is like crossing a bridge from one information to another.

Questions are often some of the best topic sentences. This topic sentence approach comes as single question or a pair of questions. In the first case, the first topic sentence asks a question, while the second paragraph or section answers it. In the second, there are several questions asked one after the next one.

Questions come in a form of inquiry, which has to be followed by an answer. If you wish to craft a good essay, you should try being forward when answering the question you ask in your topic sentence.

Most of the sentences we described appear at the beginning of the paragraph, but this does not necessarily need to be the case. Sometimes, topic sentences appear in the middle. They do so with the purpose of introducing change of direction in the paragraph, also referred to as ‘pivot’.

This last strategy is most commonly used when the paragraph introduces evidence that is opposing to an introduced information. The beginning of the paragraph states a fact or introduces a particular point, while the second part reverses this fact and establishes a different claim from the one introduced in the beginning. So, generally, pivots are used to make a transition from one claim to another.

You can easily notice a pivot approach in topic sentences because they always require a signal of transition. Such signals come in the form of longer sentence or phrase; or words like ‘yet’, ‘however’ and ‘but’.

Additionally, pivots come in form of more sentences if you want to state the change in claim.


Signposts are topic sentences that change the argument’s direction, which is presented by the topic sentences. In this way, the readers are able to justify the claims and information presented in the essay and see the arguments that are being made.

Signposts have several characteristics and purposes, including:

  • Clarifying the background of the argument
  • Giving additional information about the writing plot
  • Reminding the readers of the essay’s purpose
  • Defining the purpose so that the readers can better understand it
  • Functioning as whole section topic sentences in the essay
  • Comprising of a stretch of single sentence or two sentences
  • Comprising of sentences that point to a transition in the particular section
  • Informing the reader of a change in arguments
  • Explaining the differences
  • Introducing the transition of claims and arguments

Signposting is something that is often accomplished in a single sentence or two.

Signposting, in most cases, is done at the beginning of a paragraph, but can also be seen as a transition piece in a whole paragraph. When it is seen as a transition piece, the purpose of signposting is to transfer the reader from one argument part to another.

In a signpost, the writer’s job is to remind the readers of what happened, what is the aim of the essay and what is about to be introduced in the topic sentence of the particular paragraph or section.

Prescriptive essay grammar finds topic sentences and signposts to be crucial part of the essay writing process. These are somewhat minor intricacies that do not need special attention at the beginning or the ending of the essay writing process, but can assist the writer to define and structure the essay. By doing so, the essay writer can make sure that the readers understand what is being said.

Topic sentences and signposts allow the writers to be aware of the strenght of their essay’s arguments. Additionally, it points the right direction to the reader. This in result leads to amazing connection between the two sides of the writing process – the writer of the essay and its reader.

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