Are we superficial if we’ll give a writer just a few lines of our time before moving on?
Perhaps a more accurate word is discerning. Time is valuable, and unless we have a good reason (as in a recommendation or personal experience) to believe that “the good stuff” is yet to come, why waste another moment reading or listening to a bunch of blah blah blah?
The same premise holds true for our audiences. If our introductions are weak, why should our readers or listeners give their undivided attention, waiting around for us to deliver great material and a punch line? In truth, they shouldn’t. Our audiences deserve quality from start to finish—whether our communication is a presentation, website, book, article, brochure, resume, etc.
To start off in a strong manner, consider using one or a combination of my favorite attention-grabbing writing tactics:
1. Engage by asking a question that is pertinent to your topic and target audience.
2. Spark interest by sharing a secret, making a confession or promising to reveal an insider’s view or unknown fact about the subject.
3. Take them away by placing your audience in the thick of the moment (conveying emotions or actions).
4. Catch them off-guard by stating an eye-opening statistic or fact.
5. Challenge them by contending that you will change their point of view.
6. Convey a sense of excitement by stating why you have such enthusiasm for the topic.
Despite having some compelling ideas about how you will launch your message, don’t be discouraged if carrying out your plan with just the right effect takes some effort. I tend to spend a large portion of time setting the stage; however, by nailing the beginning, I find that the remaining copy more readily flows.
What awakens your mind and what makes you snooze? Think about those elements when you’re writing for your target audience.
Sallie W. Boyles, a.k.a. Write Lady