First impressions count in business. As the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”. The first impression you give can be the difference between success and failure.
When you’re writing any business document, a strong introduction is your opportunity to give a good first impression. A strong introduction can capture the attention of your reader, and affect how they read the rest of the document.
For example, when you’re writing a business proposal to a potential client, you want them to feel engaged with your proposal, and you want them to read the proposal with interest and excitement. A strong introduction can help foster those feelings, while a weak introduction can leave your reader feeling indifferent or uninterested.
Here are a few of our top tips for writing a strong introduction.
1) Keep it short and simple
A long and complicated introduction can leave readers confused or unsure. If your reader doesn’t understand the introduction, they’re more likely to stop reading entirely. Use clear, concise language, and avoid long sentences.
2) Include the word ‘you’
Pronouns like the words ‘you’ and ‘your’ can establish an instant connection between the reader and your writing. By using the word ‘you’, the reader understands that what you are writing is specifically for them, encouraging them to continue reading.
3) Ask a question
Questions invite your reader to think about an answer. When combined with the word ‘you’, a question can make an introduction even more engaging by asking the reader to consider how your writing relates to them personally.
4) Surprise your reader
Sometimes, the best way to capture your reader’s interest is to write something unusual, or provide information that may surprise them.
A study in the 1930s by the scientist Hedwig von Restorff found that people are more likely to remember unusual information. The von Restorff effect, as it’s known, means that starting your document in a distinctive way could help to keep your introduction memorable and interesting.
5) Consider your audience
Each introduction you write needs to focus on the audience of the document in question. If you’re writing to a particular person, consider a more personal introduction that is tailored to them. If you’re writing to a wider audience, make sure you write in more general terms. If you’re writing a business proposal, be professional, or if you’re writing a blog, consider being more casual or personable.
6) Review your introduction
Most people write the introduction first, but by the time they’ve written the rest of the document, it’s important to go back and review those first few lines. Firstly, ask yourself, is the introduction right for the document you’ve just written? Secondly, use this opportunity to re-read the introduction carefully. Is it concise, is it engaging, does it make you want to read on? If it doesn’t, edit the introduction, keeping these tips in mind.
Writing a strong introduction is important in business. Whether it’s the first line of a marketing message, a proposal to a client, or a letter to a business partner, getting that introduction right is the key to maximising the impact of your writing, and supporting your business.