Discussion without a seque:
"Hey Jamie, I saw you have a new kitten!"
"Where were you on April 23rd?"
"Can I have a glass of milk?"
Discussion with a segue:
"Hey Jamie, I saw you have a new kitten!"
"So did you get the kitten on April 23rd?"
"No, we got him yesterday."
"What were you doing on the 23rd then? I thought I saw you with a cat that day?"
"I think we were out walking Bob's cat, European people walk their cats during the day."
"Cool. Hey, would you happen to have a glass of milk? I just ate 10 lemons in one sitting and don't feel good."
Do you see how both scenarios are weird but the former communication was weirder? It’s like the fragments in transition upon one learning a new language.
Segue (pronounced as "seg way") is the web hook for topics of discussion in a fluid conversation.
According to vocabulary.com "A segue is a smooth transition. When you segue in conversation, you change the topic so smoothly that people might not even notice."
Without segues, the delivery can be abrupt or seem random and spotty in intention.
I learned this when programming across nights and days the dialogue trees for chatbots using client logs. Think of IVR systems when you call a business, that bot was what I was programming. An Interactive Voice Response system.
I took care to ensure the discussion flowed when I would call my bots and ask them questions, and took equally great care in constructing the fuzzy matching in how the words were phonetically interpreted by the system.
You would think in my knowledge about artificial intelligence, I knew what the word "segue" meant. But I didn't.
In all those hours of programming, it gets real lonely. I am great at being alone, but I love people and realized I was speaking to my robots more than I would talk to human beings on most days of the week.
So I began listening to podcasts. And started hearing about podcasters speak on how they were "getting better at segues".
That is when I looked up the definition and saw what a segue was. "Its a web hook in conversations!" Genius!!
Its a lot about the vibe they have together on the show.
Its light-hearted and fun but that did not come without them maintaining that energy and mood together. You can see some intelligent decisions they make as they talk that show why the show flows so well across the 30-40 minutes they talk.
In that the average business meeting is 31-60 minutes, I think we can learn a lot from them in the subject of segues!
Here is the research on the average length of business meetings if you want to see the full study published in 2001.
In business, the care for segues seems to be a mix of how much a person cares about the flow of conversation and plans for the transitions.
Ever left a discussion and thought “Wow, that was really satisfying in how easy that was.” It makes people more comfortable.
Maggie and Ian in We Hear use "and", “in addition”, "I thought" and "also" as stand-alone segues instead of "but". Anything but “but”.
The segues they use did not work to divert, discount or discredit one another, but instead expands and magnifies discussion points together on the podcast. And I think that is the key point. If you know discussion points going into a meeting, you can plan for segues moving from one subject to the next even if the execution isn’t perfect or doesn’t work as planned entirely.
It’s all about practice and iterating off what worked and what didn’t.
You might like to utilize transcripts of podcasts to help in studying how to segue in meetings too.
Listen Notes provides transcripts for many popular podcasts out there.
Podscribe is another great podcast transcription application to utilize as well if you have a particular podcast you would like the transcript for. I appreciate how the engineer is so open with how he built the application, why, using what and more. Though it was hard to find his name, the developers name.
Nicely built website!
In that so many great podcasters can maintain their vibe within the duration of a regular business meeting, that fact enables us to know that we can do and practice this as well.
Segues are definitely something that can expand or likewise stunt the conversation flow in verbal communications and I don't see it being talked about in business as much. Its small but mighty! Thanks for reading 🙊