We are going to look at a simple formula for writing an opening to your narrative so irresistible that people like your ideal learner will feel compelled to continue.
What’s a good opening?
A good opening engages learners and entices them to continue with your Modlette.
You do this by fulfilling your first two roles as a trainer.
- Empathise with your learner . . . tell him or her that you understand their concerns or frustrations, and you sit down with them to help them.
- Point to the happy destination . . . tell your learner how their life will improve if they follow and implement your learning.
Why Vickie’s Original opening doesn’t work:
Vickie has decided to write a training eLearning for Karl, her ideal learner. This is her opening paragraph:
“There are many different ways to present financials. Probably more than you think. Of course, you can use just text or you can create a few quick graphs using Excel. But wouldn’t it be much nicer to create original graphs?”
There are some problems with this paragraph:
- The first sentence (There are many different ways to present financials) is an obvious statement. Everyone knows there are many ways to present financials. So, such a statement does not make Karl curious. Perhaps even worse: Karl might think the rest of the Modlette is obvious, too, so completing it would be a waste of his time. A good opening paragraph sets the tone for a Modlette, and this opening feels boring.
- The question at the end of this opening (But wouldn’t it be much nicer to create original graphs) doesn’t resonate with Karl either. Creating original graphs is something Vickie is interested in . . she’s a graphic artist anyway. But Vickie’s perspective doesn’t matter as much as Karl’s, and Karl doesn’t care about originality, he’s an accountant. He just wants to stop boring his audience.
- The big problem with Vickie’s opening paragraph is that it doesn’t engage Karl and encourage him to continue the Modlette.
Next week we’ll show you how to rewrite this opening to grab Karl’s attention.