Every essay or assignment you write must begin with an introduction. It might be helpful to think of the introduction as an inverted pyramid. In such a pyramid, you begin by presenting a broad introduction to the topic and end by making a more focused point about that topic in your thesis statement. The introduction has three essential parts, each of which serves a particular purpose.
- The first part is the “attention-grabber.” You need to interest your reader in your topic so that they will want to continue reading. You also want to do that in a way that is fresh and original. For example, although it may be tempting to begin your essay with a dictionary definition, this technique is stale because it has been widely overused. Instead, you might try one of the following techniques:
- Offer a surprising statistic that conveys something about the problem to be addressed in the paper.
- Perhaps you can find an interesting quote that nicely sums up your argument.
- Use rhetorical questions that place your readers in a different situation in order to get them thinking about your topic in a new way.
- If you have a personal connection to the topic, you might use an anecdote or story to get your readers emotionally involved.
- For example, if you were writing a paper about drunk drivers, you might begin with a compelling story about someone whose life was forever altered by a drunk driver: “At eighteen, Michelle had a lifetime of promise in front of her. Attending college on a track scholarship, she was earning good grades and making lots of friends. Then one night her life was forever altered…”
- From this attention grabbing opener, you would need to move to the next part of the introduction, in which you offer some relevant background on the specific purpose of the essay. This section helps the reader see why you are focusing on this topic and makes the transition to the main point of your paper. For this reason, this is sometimes called the “transitional” part of the introduction.
- In the example above, the anecdote about Michelle might capture the reader’s attention, but the essay is not really about Michelle. The attention grabber might get the reader thinking about how drunk driving can destroy people’s lives, but it doesn’t introduce the topic of the need for stricter drunk driving penalties (or whatever the real focus of the paper might be).
- Therefore, you need to bridge the gap between your attention-grabber and your thesis with some transitional discussion. In this part of your introduction, you narrow your focus of the topic and explain why the attention-grabber is relevant to the specific area you will be discussing. You should introduce your specific topic and provide any necessary background information that the reader would need in order to understand the problem that you are presenting in the paper. You can also define any key terms the reader might not know.
- Continuing with the example above, we might move from the narrative about Michelle to a short discussion of the scope of the problem of drunk drivers. We might say, for example: “Michelle’s story is not isolated. Each year XX (number) of lives are lost due to drunk-driving accidents.” You could follow this with a short discussion of how serious the problem is and why the reader should care about this problem. This effectively moves the reader from the story about Michelle to your real topic, which might be the need for stricter penalties for drinking and driving.
- Finally, the introduction must conclude with a clear statement of the overall point you want to make in the paper. This is called your “thesis statement.” It is the narrowest part of your inverted pyramid, and it states exactly what your essay will be arguing.
- In this scenario, your thesis would be the point you are trying to make about drunk driving. You might be arguing for better enforcement of existing laws, enactment of stricter penalties, or funding for education about drinking and driving. Whatever the case, your thesis would clearly state the main point your paper is trying to make. Here’s an example: “Drunk driving laws need to include stricter penalties for those convicted of drinking under the influence of alcohol.” Your essay would then go on to support this thesis with the reasons why stricter penalties are needed.
- In addition to your thesis, your introduction can often include a “road map” that explains how you will defend your thesis. This gives the reader a general sense of how you will organize the different points that follow throughout the essay. Sometimes the “map” is incorporated right into the thesis statement, and sometimes it is a separate sentence. Below is an example of a thesis with a “map.”
- “Because drunk driving can result in unnecessary and premature deaths, permanent injury for survivors, and billions of dollars spent on medical expenses, drunk drivers should face stricter penalties for driving under the influence.” The underlined words here are the “map” that show your reader the main points of support you will present in the essay. They also serve to set up the paper’s arrangement because they tell the order in which you will present these topics.
- A final note: In constructing an introduction, make sure the introduction clearly reflects the goal or purpose of the assignment and that the thesis presents not only the topic to be discussed but also states a clear position about that topic that you will support and develop throughout the paper. In shorter papers, the introduction is usually only one or two paragraphs, but it can be several paragraphs in a longer paper.
For Longer Papers
Although for short essays the introduction is usually just one paragraph, longer argument or research papers may require a more substantial introduction. The first paragraph might consist of just the attention grabber and some narrative about the problem. Then you might have one or more paragraphs that provide background on the main topics of the paper and present the overall argument, concluding with your thesis statement.
Below is a sample of an introduction that is less effective because it doesn’t apply the principles discussed above.
An Ineffective Introduction
Everyone uses math during their entire lives. Some people use math on the job as adults, and others used math when they were kids. The topic I have chosen to write about for this paper is how I use math in my life both as a child and as an adult. I use math to balance my checkbook and to budget my monthly expenses as an adult. When I was a child, I used math to run a lemonade stand. I will be talking more about these things in my paper.
In the introduction above, the opening line does not serve to grab the reader’s attention. Instead, it is a statement of an obvious and mundane fact. The second sentence is also not very specific. A more effective attention grabber may point out a specific, and perhaps surprising, instance when adults use math in their daily lives, in order to show the reader why this is such as important topic to consider.
Next the writer “announces” her topic by stating, “The topic I have chosen to write about…” Although it is necessary to introduce your specific topic, you want to avoid making generic announcements that reference your assignment. This technique is not as sophisticated and may distract the reader from your larger purpose for writing the essay. Instead, you might try to make the reader see why this is such an important topic to discuss.
Finally, this sample introduction is lacking a clear thesis statement. The writer concludes with a vague statement: “I will be talking more about these things in my paper.” This kind of statement may be referred to as a “purpose statement,” in which the writer states the topics that will be discussed. However, it is not yet working as a thesis statement because it fails to make an argument or claim about those topics. A thesis statement for this essay would clearly tell the reader what “things” you will be discussing and what point you will make about them.
Now let’s look at how the above principles can be incorporated more effectively into an introduction.
A More Effective Introduction
“A penny saved is a penny earned,” the well-known quote by Ben Franklin, is an expression I have never quite understood, because to me it seems that any penny—whether saved or spent—is still earned no matter what is done with it. My earliest memories of earning and spending money are when I was ten years old when I would sell Dixie cups of too-sweet lemonade and bags of salty popcorn to the neighborhood kids. From that early age, I learned the importance of money management and the math skills involved. I learned that there were four quarters in a dollar, and if I bought a non-food item—like a handful of balloons—that I was going to need to come up with six cents for every dollar I spent. I also knew that Kool-Aid packets were 25 cents each or that I could save money and get five of them for a dollar. Today, however, money management involves knowing more than which combinations of 10-cent, five-cent, and one-penny candies I can get for a dollar. Proper money management today involves knowing interest rates, balancing checkbooks, paying taxes, estimating my paycheck, and budgeting to make ends meet from month-to-month.
- In the first line the writer uses a well-known quotation to introduce her topic.
- The writer follows this “attention-grabber” with specific examples of earning and spending money. Compare how the specific details of the second example paint a better picture for the reader about what the writer learned about money as a child, rather than this general statement: “As a child, I used math to run a lemonade stand.” In the first introduction, this statement leaves the reader to guess how the writer used math, but in the second introduction we can actually see what the child did and what she learned.
- Notice, too, how the reader makes the transition from the lessons of childhood to the real focus of her paper in this sentence: “Today, however, money management involves knowing….”
- This transition sentence effectively connects the opening narrative to the main point of the essay, her thesis: “Proper money management today involves knowing interest rates, balancing checkbooks, paying taxes, estimating my paycheck, and budgeting to make ends meet from month-to-month." This thesis also maps out for the reader the main points (underlined here) that will be discussed in the essay.
How To Write Essay About Leadership
Writing a leadership essay is not as complex as it seems. You need to understand who a leader is before you can write about them. A leader is defined as any individual who has the power to influence, motivate, and even exhort his peers and people in general to achieve their set goals. An essay about leaders, therefore, could be structured on any of the following subtopics:
You can look at what really defines leadership and what are the personality traits that exemplify a leader
You can write on the different styles of leadership and how each one works
You can look at people you consider to be leaders in your own life
You can write about the life of an important leader in the society
You can choose to review your skills in leadership and how you intend to leverage them in achieving your life goals.
These are just some of the basic subtopics you can choose to work on when writing your essay on leadership. Here’s how to write a leadership essay, but don’t forget to send it to an essay proofreader after you finish.
Step 1. Understand the concept of leadership
The definition of leadership is quite dynamic, and there are deeper levels and layers that distinguish a great leader in a society. You may have your own understanding of what makes up a leader, and you can use this to process your leadership essay.
However, to understand in depth, particularly on what the qualities of a true leader are, you need to research the available resources either from the Internet, which is a hub of information resources, or you can visit your local library to source for relevant informational content on the subject.
Once you collate the relevant information, you can review them to expand your understanding of the concept of leadership before you start writing an essay on leadership. Once you have gained a thorough understanding of who a leader is, and what his/her qualities are, and the core values required of them, you will be better placed to structuring a good leadership essay based on that understanding.
Step 2. Define the concept of leadership as you understand it
After conducting a thorough analysis of your collected information material and coming up with a solid understanding of what constitutes a leader, curve out a definition reflecting your own understanding and interpretation of the subject. You may want to consider the following pointers your leadership experience essay:
Are you inspired by the extraordinary ambitious and risk-taking abilities?
Do you think the great leaders are successful because of their communication skills?
Do you think leaders need expertise in their daily operations of an organization?
Do you think rising through the hierarchy provides more opportunities for knowledge and expertise in the field; thus, making a better leader?
Basing your essay on these pointers, you can arrive at what really makes a leader.
Step 3. Review your leadership qualities and write about them using illustrative example
Writing a leadership essay requires that you indulge the times in your life when your skills as a leader came to the fore. Even if you have not had the chance to work in an organization, you can highlight the experiences in your family, or with your peers, or even as part of a voluntary work where your skills as a leader were exposed.
It will be better if your experiences are specific and detailed to show when, where, and how it happened. Explaining this in detail adds credibility to your essay on leadership.
Step 4. Remember that leaders are quite innovative and have a unique perspective of things
When you have this in mind, you will be able to come up with more illustrative examples of a leader than just the common perception of one who’s at the helm of a command center. Writing an essay about being a good leader requires you do some research.
For example, leadership to a child could simply helping someone in need; for adolescents, it could be setting up a Christmas party for the vulnerable in the society, including the lonely elderly folks in town; for high school students, leadership could mean standing up to a bully who terrorizes the weak in school!
The options are many, but remember to engage a different perspective and you will find many instances where leadership qualities came forth either from you or the people around you.
Step 5. Writing the essay on leadership
This is where the real work begins. It is where you put the ideas into paper. There is a step for writing an essay about the leader, and it begins with structuring the introduction, writing the thesis statement, completing the body of the essay, and finally providing a conclusion for the written work.
Introduction of the essay
Writing an introduction is an important step as it will determine how people react to it. An interesting introduction hooks a reader and they will want to finish reading the leadership essay to find out more about your thoughts on the subject. However, a boring introduction is a turn off for most readers and they may not even go past the last sentence of the introduction.
So, you need to come up with an introduction that will grab the attention of the reader, and this is the best strategy to writing an interesting leadership essay. Use examples and samples to help you. You can consider utilizing personal experiences, for example jotting about how you found yourself in a position that warranted your leadership skills to be used. This will grab the attention of the reader to continue reading the leadership experience essay.
Your thesis statement should sum up what your thoughts on leadership are, and you can do this using only just one sentence.
The body of the leadership essay
The ideal body structure of an essay comprises 3-4 paragraphs, each having its unique viewpoint. The best way to do this is ensuring that only one idea is communicated in each paragraph. Following this structure will help keep your leadership essay uncluttered, and this makes it easy to read and comprehend.
What most students fail to do is use effective transition sentences, yet these are vitally important when it comes to connecting ideas from one paragraph to the next. You can use the information you collected during the research to fill up the body of the essay about being a good leader.
This is the last step to writing your essay about leadership. The last paragraph should sum up all the ideas on leadership you’ve talked about in the body of the essay. The conclusion basically ties up your essay through a succinct summary of the essay’s main points and reinforcing your thesis statement. It is important that you do not introduce any new ideas in the conclusion segment as doing this will leave your readers with more questions than satisfaction.
Once you have done all the steps highlighted above, you will have completed about 90% writing your essay on leadership. Now comes the most important part: proofreading your essay. You need to know that even if you have written the best essay, it will not read so if it has glaring grammatical errors. It is always important that you run the essay about leaders through an essay editor.
You just can’t ignore this step, because submitting an essay that is riddled with poor grammar and spelling mistakes only goes to show how careless you can be, and you don’t want that now, do you? An essay editor will help remove the mistakes and polish the leadership essay into something you will be proud to submit to your professor for grading. Who knows, it will just help push your written work into the grade ‘A’ level that you so badly want.