Writing effective introductions
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Writing Effective Introductions. Geller’s Saucy Sophomores Fall 2013. Anecdote. Vivid detail Appeals to emotion Example:

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Writing effective introductions

Writing Effective Introductions

Geller’s Saucy Sophomores

Fall 2013


  • Vivid detail

  • Appeals to emotion

  • Example:

    • If your thesis is that advertising liquor on TV is irresponsible, you could open with the story of an alcoholic friend who got drunk for the first time after seeing a particularly persuasive ad for Patron tequila.

Startling statistic
Startling Statistic

  • Make it relevant to the audience

  • Ask them to look around the room, or think about their family, neighborhood, school, community, etc.

  • If your thesis is that America needs to improve its system of preventative mental health care, you could open by sharing ABC News’s recent report of a study showing that up to 1 in 5 Americans suffers from mental illness.

Quotation lead
Quotation Lead

  • Make sure the audience knows who you’re quoting and why the person is important.

  • Here’s a not-so-effective example from a hypothetical speech about texting and driving:

    “Renowned underwater basket-weaver and purveyor of dead parrots, Andrew Jones, once said, ‘I have a wheel!’ Many teens have wheels these days, and with those wheels comes great responsibility.”

Historical or background lead
Historical or Background Lead

  • All introductions are going to need some kind of background information, but don’t make it a snooze-fest.

  • Vivid verbs help

  • Keep it simple

  • A good opening line from a speech about wiretapping:

    “Ever since the September 11th attacks changed the face of national security, debate has raged about where we define the boundary between safety and privacy.”


  • Take your audience to Imaginationland…

  • Help them visualize what the world would be like if they:

    • Make the change you’re suggesting


    • Disregard your advice

  • I shall now read you a truly awesome example.