Monroe’s Motivated Sequence In A Nutshell

Monroe’s motivated sequence was created by American psychologist Alan Monroe, who had an interest in persuasive speech delivery. Monroe’s motivated sequence uses the psychology of persuasion to develop an outline for delivering speeches.

Understanding Monroe’s motivated sequence

Persuasive public speaking skills are important in business. Persuasion can create cohesion within a group around a specific goal or vision. Persuasion can also be used to motivate and encourage team members to hit important deadlines.

Some of these greatest persuasive speakers include Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King, Winston Churchill, and Barack Obama. Many believe that these individuals were simply born with the tools required to become effective public speakers.

However, this is not entirely true. Monroe discovered that these skills can be learned by following a simple methodology. 

The five steps of Monroe’s motivated sequence

To assist in crafting a compelling and persuasive speech, Monroe advocated following these five steps:

1 – Grab attention

First and foremost, grab the attention of the audience by telling a joke or asking a rhetorical question. This step is crucial. Depending on the quality of the introduction, people will decide whether your speech is worth their attention. 

Primarily, this is achieved through trust and authority. Show the audience why the topic is relevant to them and give the speech credibility with supporting data, videos, charts, or images.

2 – Define the need

Use this second step to help the audience understand that there is a problem or challenge that needs addressing. Explain the consequences of the problem not being solved in a way that is relevant to them.

Relevancy can be emphasized by using practical, real-world examples. Again, each should be supported by appropriate facts or data.

3 – Satisfy the need

Now it is appropriate to let the audience know that you can satisfy their needs. It’s important to elaborate on the solution in terms that are easily understood. To ensure that the audience is on the same page, it can be useful to repeat the main concepts periodically.

4 – Visualize the solution

How will the speech prepare the audience for taking action to satisfy their need? Without coming across the wrong way, the speaker should clarify what the future will entail if the solution is not enacted.

Conversely, the benefits of enacting the solution should also be highlighted to contrast both choices.

5 – Call to action

In the final step, the speaker must tell the audience what they want them to do. In some cases, the plan of action may simply be to do nothing or refrain from certain actions.

The audience must feel they are a part of the solution. Provide several courses of action and allow them to choose. This increases a sense of empowerment as each individual feels in control of their destiny.

Lastly, the speaker should conclude with a powerful closing remark that ties the speech together. Some will also opt to take questions from the audience at this point.

Monroe’s motivated sequence example

In the final section, let’s describe a hypothetical example of Monroe’s motivated sequence.

In this example, an industry representative is delivering a seminar on workplace safety to an audience of employees. 

1 – Grab attention

The representative must first keep in mind that most people have extremely short attention spans.

This is especially true for employees who are forced to sit through work-related safety presentations.

At this point, the presenter can secure the attention of the audience by telling a relatable story about a workplace injury of their own.

They can also cite a relevant statistic, such as the unfortunate fact that 13 Americans lose their lives in the workplace each day.

2 – Define the need

If citing the above statistic does not create a sense of relevancy among the audience, the representative can explain how a lack of workplace safety affects them directly. 

Perhaps they mention the lasting impact of death or serious injury on friends and family.

Alternatively, the serious consequences of seemingly harmless actions such as not keeping a workplace tidy could be reiterated.

3 – Satisfy the need

The third step is about providing a solution to the problem. In the context of workplace health and safety, a holistic, multi-faceted approach is key.

This may involve employee training and incentivization, hazard identification, risk control, procedural improvements, open communication, and more efficient workspaces. 

Ultimately, the presenter is seeking to instill in workers a sense of responsibility and accountability concerning their personal safety and the safety of others.

The above measures help employees develop habits that in turn create a safer company culture.

4 – Visualize the solution

The consequences of a safer workplace may seem obvious to many in the audience, but it is nonetheless important to ask individuals to visualize what such a workplace would look like.

In other words, what would the company look like if it could pass a whole year without a workplace accident? Would the employees be happier, safer, and more productive following established procedures and protocols?

Might process efficiencies pave the way for employee reward or incentivization schemes?

At a deeper, more impactful level, the presenter may ask the audience to visualize a future where a safer workplace is not enacted.

Instead of simply imagining themselves calling out the unsafe behavior of a colleague, the employee can imagine that person as they are wheeled out of the premises and into a waiting ambulance.

5 – Call to action

In the call to action, the representative details how the employees can take part in improving safety standards.

In addition to the information already presented, the speaker explains that their company will perform a safety audit of the factory where issues can be identified and addressed. 

To increase the odds that employees will take an active role in this process, each is encouraged to share their safety concerns either publicly or privately.

Key takeaways

  • Monroe’s motivated sequence is an outline for delivering effective speeches using the power of persuasion.
  • Monroe’s motivated sequence can be used in business to motivate employees to work toward a shared vision or meet important deadlines.
  • Monroe’s motivated sequence provides five steps for delivering a persuasive speech. Importantly, the skill of persuasive public speaking can be learned.

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