How to incorporate Monroe’s motivated sequence in your speeches

Ieva Sipola 26.11.2021
Illustration of a persuasive speech

Monroe’s motivated sequence can be a great help if you aren’t a natural-born public speaker. Delivering a persuasive speech is arguably a crucial skill of any good leader. If you need to master this skill and start speaking in a more convincing manner, try incorporating Monroe’s motivated sequence into your speeches to better convey your message.

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This persuasive speech outline is based on five principles of giving powerful speeches that appeal to your audience and help you achieve your goals. In this post, we’ve shortly explained how Monroe’s motivated sequence works, how to learn it quickly, and how to tailor your speeches around it.

What is Monroe’s motivated sequence exactly?

Monroe’s motivated sequence is a five-step persuasive speech outline developed in the mid-1930s by psychology and communication professor Alan H. Monroe. It is widely used to motivate and inspire the audience, and it’s instrumental in situations where the speaker is proposing a solution to a complex problem.

Over the course of decades, Monroe’s motivated sequence has been used in numerous advertisements, sales pitches, and professional presentations.

Now let’s look at the five steps that comprise Monroe’s motivated sequence outline and give you examples of how to use it in your speech.

1. Attention

The first step of the Monroe’s motivated sequence outline is to grab the audience’s attention and establish the relevance of your speech for that particular audience. This is also the time to establish your credibility as a speaker and connect with the people you are talking to. 

To bond with the audience on an emotional level and stir their interest, you can try one of these tactics:

  • Tell a joke (make sure it’s one that they will understand and find funny),
  • Share a personal story, 
  • Mention interesting data, 
  • Quote a famous person. 

Alternatively, you can use photos, videos, infographics, or other visual materials to engage the audience. Constantly keep in mind who your audience is, what their interests are, and what they empathize with.

How to incorporate Monroe’s motivated sequence in your speech: think about a fun fact or a shocking statistic related to your topic. Let’s imagine that you are speaking to a group of HR representatives from different companies on the issue of employee burnout. To begin the speech, you can mention that as much as 52% of employees worldwide are suffering from this problem. Or, share how you went through this struggle yourself and why you’re a suitable person to speak about this topic.

2. Need

In this step of Monroe persuasive speech outline, you need to establish a problem and the urgency to solve it as soon as possible. Again, keep in mind the specifics of the audience in front of you. Highlight problems or needs that are either relevant to everyone (like global warming) or issues that your audience specifically cares about. 

Don’t forget to mention the impact of this problem and the consequences of leaving things as they are and not acting. Explain who is most impacted by this issue and how serious it is. What needs to be fixed or changed?

How to incorporate Monroe’s motivated sequence in your speech: Mention that burnout is a growing problem, and that it can have long-standing effects on a person’s health. If untreated, burnout can lead to heart diseases, depression, and other serious mental health issues.

3. Satisfaction

Once you’ve established the seriousness and urgency of the problem at hand, you have to propose a straightforward solution that will tackle or improve it. If the solution is complex, divide it into steps and explain how they should be followed. Include actions and explanations that may seem obvious to you. 

  • Give examples of how this solution has worked in the past or similar situations, 
  • Mention what could be the audience’s role in this plan,
  • Include what needs to be considered to reach the solution (cost, time, resources, etc.).

How to incorporate Monroe’s motivated sequence in your speech: Explain what needs to be done to fight the issue of burnout, for example: “Increasingly more software companies around the world are already including mental health in their insurance policies. But to really tackle burnout on a big scale, we need to include mental health policies in all workers’ insurance packages and start recognizing burnout symptoms as legit health concerns, equally relevant as physical illness.“

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4. Visualization

Despite how it may sound, this step of Monroe’s motivated sequence speech has nothing to do with using imagery or visual aids. That said, it is possibly the most creative step of this persuasive speech outline, where you have to find a way to envisage your solution in action, giving a portrayal that’s both realistic, vivid, and captivating. 

Visualization in this context means creating a vision for your audience about how much better life will become when your proposed solution is implemented. You can even go as far and imagine a world without the problem at hand and paint a picture of how awesome it would be. 

Don’t be shy to amplify your solution, giving the impression that it’s the only way to a positive outcome, and not implementing it means a regrettable outcome. In addition, you can mention opposing opinions and claims and refute them in this part of your speech. 

How to incorporate Monroe’s motivated sequence in your speech: First, paint a picture of a world where burnout is neglected or ignored. In this world, people are overworked, depressed, and stigmatized for experiencing mental health issues. Then, describe a favorable scenario where introducing mental health protection benefits – such as days off or paid therapy sessions – has helped bring more balance into the lives of thousands of employees around the globe.

5. Call to Action

By this point of your speech, your listeners should be impatient to know what they can do to help the cause. The final step of Monroe’s motivated sequence pattern is satisfying your listeners’ curiosity by offering a simple, powerful, and immediate action they can take to help.

Ideally, offer several options so the audience can choose how to act based on their situation and opportunities. Be specific, concise, and provide examples.

Simple tips for ending your speech in a memorable way: 

  • Summarize the main takeaways in an easy and actionable way.
  • Provide specific steps and examples if possible.
  • Compliment your audience, emphasizing their potential in tackling the problem.
  • Deliver a strong statement, a punchline, or a quote that supports your call to action.

Make sure it’s 100% clear what everyone has to do after your speech – be it signing a petition, further educating themselves on a topic, or signing up for an event. It’s better if the action they need to take is immediate or very near in the future, not a month or a year down the road.

How to incorporate Monroe’s motivated sequence in your speech: Encourage your audience – the group of HR representatives – to bring up the issue of mental health in front of the management board of their company as soon as possible. Tell them it’s important to incorporate mental health policies in their employee benefits packages. Highlight that this isn’t only an extra cost for the company but also a benefit that will ensure long-term employee satisfaction and retention.

Power your speeches with Monroe’s motivated sequence

When using the five steps of Monroe’s motivated sequence in your speech, it’s essential to ensure a confident and passionate delivery. At the same time, always keep in mind who is the audience you’re speaking to. In our persuasive speech outline example, HR professionals are people who act as a link between company management and employees, and your task is to show them that they can play a key role in tackling burnout – and that there’s no time to lose. 

Good luck becoming a more persuasive speaker with these five simple steps of Monroe’s motivated sequence!

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