How to Write an Opening Sentence that will Captivate Your Audience

How to Write an Opening Sentence to Captivate Your Audience

It’s a simple technique. And it works, whether you’re writing an email to a friend, a professional blog post, or a technical white paper.

Craft a powerful opening sentence with 5 words or less.

I discovered this idea in high school. My English teacher gave us a long list of writing tips from a variety of sources. Lucky for me, one little gem of a tip seemed to stand out from the others, and I’ve been using it ever since.

I call this technique a “Trimble” because it comes from an excellent book by John R. Trimble, Writing with Style: Conversations on the Art of Writing. (Read a book review here.) In the book, the technique is almost buried in a chapter called “Openers.” Here are Trimble’s words: “Consider opening with a dramatically brief sentence–say, four or five words long.” My paraphrased version that appears above is more direct.

So, when you’re stuck on that very first sentence, try a “Trimble.” It sets a a compelling tone that will entice your audience to read on.