The One Key Thing Most Communicators Overlook

Communicating as a whole can be a very tedious and tiring process.
Communicating publicly and speaking publicly is difficult for even the most experienced people.

However, with some solid prep (as you probably know), it can become a much less nerve racking experience. Most communicators (good communicators) overlook one very important part of their speech…

The First Sentence.

Those first few seconds that you and I stand up in front of an audience of people or type the first few words of paper or blog are critical. In those first few seconds and first sentence, our audience determines if they’ll listen to the rest of what we say or read what we’re proposing.

A lot of communicators waste these first seconds on meaningless chit chat and filler words.

What if, instead of just fill and ‘finding your stride’ words, we utilized that first sentence for something that grabs the attention of the people we’re communicating to?

We were taught to do that when we first started writing… to have a ‘hook’ that captivated our audience.

It’s important for teachers, presenters, preachers, writers, bloggers, and anyone else communicating to utilize that first sentence when the audience is waiting to soak it in.

Here are some ideas for a first sentence…

  • Say something funny.
  • Say something bold.
  • Begin telling a personal story.
  • Make a proposition.
  • Create tension.

Those are just a few suggestions.

I’d love to hear from you too.

What do you think about the first sentence theory? What are some good opening sentences for preacher, speakers, and writers?


  1. John Bates

    Writing and speaking are both communication and communication is one person establishing a connection to others. What is good writing should be good speaking. Nice perspective.

  2. This reminds me of TED Talks in general. I think the first sentence and the last sentence may be the most important and memorable. The first sentence is like the first impression. The audiences whole assessment of you begins with those words. Conversely (not sure if I used that right), the last sentence is your last shot, your last chance to call to action, summarize, course correct or maybe reiterate that first sentence.

    Thank you for the reminder.

  3. I definitely agree! My degree is in Communication Studies and we talked about this topic a lot. The first sentence is just like a first impression when meeting someone. Very well written, short, and to the point! Keep it up!

  4. The only reason I was aware of this is because I’m a copywriter. After the headline and subheads, the first line of anything I write is what I spend the most time dreading over. You’ve gotta set the tone to keep readers reading. And that isn’t simple in 2013 – with messages flying at readers left and right, from all media sources.

    It’s all about though. Spend as much time on that first sentence as most do with the format of a post, and you’ve got gold! :)


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