Avoid being just another face in the crowd. Make people remember you by coining your own opening line. With these tips on a catchy one-liner, you’ll surely be recognized and remembered everywhere you go.
Be witty. A strong opening line should get people’s attention. If you want to coin an opening line that will stop an audience in its tracks and leave them waiting in anticipation of what you’ll say next, you’re got to start off with a bang. Your opening line should be witty. It can be comical or suggestive, but it should leave an immediate reaction with the crowd (humor, thought, or bewilderment, it will all catch their attention). Here are some witty opening lines that people have coined in the past.
- "My name is Lester Burnham. This is my neighborhood. This is my street. This is my life. I am 42 years old; in less than a year I will be dead. Of course, I don’t know that yet, and in a way, I am dead already". (American Beauty, 1999)
- "I hope you know how to do artificial resuscitation because you take my breath away!"
A witty opening line leaves the audience interested and wanting more. Make sure the opening line you decide on has that same mesmerizing effect on people. Leave your audience with a question in their minds, and you’ll have their full attention from then on.
Go with something catchy. Another way to ensure you’ll go down in history is having a catchy opening line. Start your speech, movie, book or conversation with a short phrase that people like and will want to repeat. It can’t be too long, diluted or difficult to say. A great repeatable opening line is one that people can easily recall. Here are a few examples:
- "Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins!" (Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov)
- "I am an invisible man." (Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison)
- "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times…." (A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens)
Of course, these are opening lines from books and movies, but you get the idea. They’re repeatable, they’re thoughtful, and they pique the interest of the audience.
Be original. No matter what you desire to coin your own opening line for, you must be original. Spouting off a phrase that’s been heard too often will only result in eye-rolls and a bad first impression for you. So think of something unique. Even if you need an opening line just to pick up a girl, don’t go with a one-liner that’s been used a thousand times ("When they made the alphabet, they should have put "U" and "I" together" and other such monstrosities should be swept from your arsenal!) Go with a line that illustrates your personality, your charm, your character and your sense of humor. No one better illustrates the success of coining your own opening line than Larry the Cable Guy: "Git ‘er done!"
So spend some time coming up with a line that suits you and one that your audience will love and remember. Whether it requires deep thought or a simple chuckle, a good opening line is one that an audience won’t soon forget.