Opening Line – Get Your Point Across In a Time-Sensitive World

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Today, the average reader has an attention span of eight seconds (according to Microsoft). That’s even more than someone watching an online video. 

It’s easy to think you need to spell out all your reasoning, research, and know-how first in order to be seen as an expert. But even more important? Having people see your message through all of the noise of their day.

Seconds… Not Minutes

People want immediate information that will inform, inspire, or solve their problem. If you don’t make your point quickly, chances are they will likely disengage and miss your message. 

Your audience members (like those of you reading this now) want to know how the information relates to them — is it important, something they need to know, can they just skim it, or does it appear to be just another junk email to delete. 

How do you make sure your information captures the viewer’s or reader’s attention? Try these three easy steps:

Your audience is craving information, but in short, bite-sized chunks of news. Grab someone’s attention and tell them why they need to keep reading or watching. 

The more words they have to be slog through before getting to the promised land, the more likely they are to tune out and stop reading or watching. If you have a great opening line and tell them why to keep reading or watching the more viewers and readers will actually do so — hey, you got this far, right! 

You can trick your audience with a tease, misinformation, or fake news, but if you do it, you may only get away with it once. People tend to remember those that are untruthful or not helpful. And like the villagers in The Boy Who Cried Wolf, they won’t pay attention the next time. As the saying goes: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. 

We all want people to not only read or watch but to engage. So, give them something to engage with and to talk about. If you provide value to your audience they are sure to share it with their circle of influence.

State your point, back it up, and move on. Remember back in middle school when you had to write the opening, body, and conclusion of a paper? Think of that when writing your content! State your case at the beginning, back it up, and then wrap up and let your audience move on to the next item on their list. 

Following these steps can help make your content more persuasive and prepared, leading to a better chance of having your message heard.