Grab the Reader's Attention with a Grabber
Your first goal should be to make the reader excited about reading your essay. You need a 'grabber.' Grabbers do exactly what it sounds like they do; they grab the reader's attention. The grabber should be the very first thing the reader sees. These can be anywhere from one to five sentences. If you go beyond five sentences, though, you are risking a very lengthy and wordy introduction. It's always best to keep a grabber short and sweet.
The nice thing about beginning with a grabber is that there are many different types. Some of the most common are:
Quotes - People love inspiration from celebrities, classical authors and poets, world leaders, philosophers, and other historical figures. If you begin with a quote, make sure you are using one that fits your topic. Do not use a quote simply for quotation's sake. You may also need to give a short explanation of how your quote ties to the topic or why the quote is important. Finally, be sure to name the person who said or wrote the words you are using. If you fail to do this, you are plagiarizing.
Anecdotes - An anecdote is simply a short story. It can be humorous or serious, but limit your story to only a few sentences.
Thought Provoking Questions - Try asking one of those universal questions, something very deep. Think of a question that other people are curious about.
Interesting Facts - These can be an excellent way to begin your essay because facts, numbers, and statistics fascinate the mind. Perhaps you've come across a startling statistic or a baffling number during your research. This may be a good place to use it.
Analogies - Does your topic remind you of anything? Can you compare it to something that everyone can relate to? If you can connect your topic to something your audience is familiar with, you have created an analogy. Analogies can be a very effective way to get your point across. They work well as grabbers, too.
Do make sure that your grabber fits with your topic. You may need to explain the connection, as it may not be immediately apparent. Finally, consider your audience and the tone of your essay when using a grabber. You should not make an analogy that your readers wouldn't understand. Likewise, you may not want to use a humorous anecdote for serious subject matter.