Write down what your essay will be about in a few sentences. Mentally process the information and then try to condense the information into as few words as possible, to make one sentence. Use that sentence as your starting point to begin the essay. For instance, if your essay topic is why people should exercise daily, the starting sentence could be: "People should exercise daily because research shows that people who do live longer."
Quote supporting material from reliable sources to start your essay. Use popular quotations to increase the chance of more people being familiar with it and understanding it. For instance, the quote "all that glitters is not gold," taken from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice and spoken by the Prince of Morocco can be used in an essay persuading its readers that a particular food may look and taste good, but may in fact be unhealthy for the body.
Use an interesting fact to get people thinking about your topic. For example, if your topic is about unique personalities and actions, you may say that "Babe Ruth, famous baseball player, wore a cabbage leaf under his cap to keep himself cool." This fact would be the basis for your reasoning in support of being unique and not being afraid to try new things even when people may think the action is weird.
Start the first essay sentence with humor to break any tension and get the audience and yourself to relax. Try to use a general joke that will be recognized by most, if not all, of your audience. Stay away from anything that may be perceived as derogatory, racist, sexist or pornographic. Make a joke about yourself or recall a funny line from a popular movie. Be sure that the joke relates to your topic in some way.
Start off with a percentage, statistic, quote or definition of a term you will use in the essay.