In an essay, like in no other work, the first introductory paragraph is very important. With a good introduction, you can easily grab the reader’s attention and set the tone for the whole text. Essays are a creative type of work, where each introduction claims to be unique. However, there are certain universal techniques, known to professionals, which are entirely or selectively used in every outstanding essay.
Take your time to read carefully through these 7 techniques, or simply tips, shared by professional writers. They will help you start writing an essay and understand how to effectively grab your readers’ attention.
Pro-tip #1. Carefully design the first sentence and try to make it interesting for the reader. After all, this will be the first thing the audience reads in your text. Think about the following: not everyone is ready to devote time to information that is not interesting to them and does not solve their problems. By reading the very first sentence and the rest of your introduction, the reader should immediately understand what the whole text is about. Moreover, the intro should contain “hooks” to capture the reader’s attention.
These “hooks” are not easy to find, but they ultimately guarantee a high score for your essay. A hook can be a sensational fact, original statistics, or even “hype” information (like a celebrity’s quote, a technological breakthrough, details about COVID-19 vaccinations, etc.). You can always create a vivid picture with words if you try.
Pro-tip #2. After a good first sentence, get right to the main point of your thesis statement. The 2nd and the following sentences should serve as a link between the 1st and the rest. They need to develop the thought from the first sentence, expand the context. Create a smooth transition, not a trampoline. Also, a big mistake would be to start theorizing too much, explaining, and extending the introduction in any other way.
Pro-tip #3. Now tell us (and yourself!) what the essay is about. When you were going to write it, you must have set yourself a specific goal: not merely to communicate something, but to convince someone in something, to express your expert opinion, to reveal some kind of secret, to answer a question, etc. Share this with the readers so that they decide to stay with you (or leave).
Pro-tip #4. Clearly imagine (or draw on a piece of paper) the structure of your essay. This will help you maintain the logic of the story, and make the whole work clear and coherent. Having a clear picture of the structure, you do not risk forgetting something. However, only you should know and see the structure, while the reader should just see a smooth and clear story.
A side note: if the topic of the essay is simple, the general style is narrative, and does not require your utmost concentration – then you don’t need to get obsessed with the structure. Spontaneity is the key to creativity and discovery.
Pro-tip #5. Formulate the main point or, as it is formally called – thesis statement. As with the structure, it is a must-have in every great essay. A thesis statement is just one sentence long, explicitly and succinctly describing the main idea of your writing. Sometimes the main point can be formulated in the form of a question (depending on the topic of your essay). The main point represents the end of the first paragraph. If your essay needs to have a longer introduction, it is allowed to allocate two paragraphs for this purpose. The main point or thesis statement would be at the end of the 2nd paragraph then.
Pro-tip #6. Decide on the tone of your essay. The chosen writing style becomes the main factor that influences the attractiveness of your text in the eyes of the reader. Write simply and clearly, try to establish a connection with the reader, speak the same language with your audience. The tone of your essay should flow naturally from your personality, in other words – be natural and explore your talents.
Pro-tip #7. Cut back. Focus on the shortest possible introduction. Write down whatever you want to say. Reread. Reduce what you write by a third. Reread. Perhaps you will find places where you can write in a simpler and shorter way. Then do so. You will slowly grow to realize that writing concisely and clearly is harder than resorting to lengthy explanations and unnecessary details.
A bonus tip: being short doesn’t mean dry. Your text should “breathe”, but be capacious, catchy, and lively.