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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.