Monroe's Motivated Sequence (Complete Guide)

All You Need To Know About ‘Monroe’s Motivated Sequence’

Do you remember all the speech writing lessons you had in school? Well, most of these lessons missed out on an important chapter- Monroe’s Motivated Sequence.

Monroe’s Motivated Sequence is a five-step organizational framework that acts as a guiding line for writing a persuasive speech. It organizes the content of a persuasive speech and helps the orator to align his audiences’ thoughts with his ideas by allowing him to inspire the audience to take action after the speech. This technique was developed by Alan H. Monroe at Purdue University in the early 1930s.

Since time immemorial, this concept has been the reason behind the success of MANY persuasive speeches. To name a few-

Alright, let’s dive into it!

A Quick Overview

Overview of Monroe's Motivated Sequence

The concept of Monroe’s Motivation Sequence was introduced as early as the 1930s. Just like mathematical formulae, even the domain of persuasive speaking now had a formula. If you’ll have a closer look, you’ll find the application of this concept in a number of famous speeches.

Who was Alan H. Monroe?

Alan H. Monroe, a renowned American Psychologist, introduced ‘Monroe’s Motivated Sequence’. He’s considered to be a pioneer in the field of communications.

Having focused his entire career around public speaking and studying the psychology of persuasion, Alan H. Monroe wished to disseminate his learnings and experiences with all the public speakers out there. To top it all, he spent a significant amount of time as a professor of communications at Purdue University. So, when the University asked him to draft a special communications course for its students, he was overjoyed.

As a result, he crafted an outline for persuasive speeches and mentioned this outline in one of his books, ‘Monroe’s Principles of Speech‘. With the popularization of this concept, this outline later came to be known as ‘Monroe’s Motivated Sequence’.

As the name suggests, this sequence helps the audience to stay motivated to listen to your speech in its entirety and at the same time, calls for initiation of action from the audience.

Why you should bother learning ‘Monroe’s Motivated Sequence’?

importance of learning monroe's motivated sequence

Universality of Persuasion

Persuasive speaking is an inescapable skill. Be it something as huge as a professional workspace or something as tiny as daily conversations, we all are required to convince people one way or another. Now, not everyone wishes to devote their time and energy to honing the skill of persuasive speaking. Some just wish to be good enough to influence small groups of people if not mammoth gatherings and that’s perfectly alright!

No matter what your aim is, ‘Monroe’s Motivated Sequence’ is the foundation stone of persuasive speaking for all the beginners out there. It’s a MUST-LEARN concept for every adult who wishes to excel in his professional life.

Give the power in the hands of the audience

You know what most of us lack as speakers? It’s the care for the audience members.

As a consequence to this, after most of the speeches, audience members are clueless about the way forward just because you failed to guide them towards the way forward with a takeaway. Monroe’s Motivated Sequence carries an entire technique of ‘call-to-action- that will help you tailor your speech from an audiences’ perspective and establish you as a likeable personality over other speakers.

The potency of human psychology

Unlike other techniques, Monroe’s Motivated Sequence has been created after an in-depth study of human psychology and leads the listeners gradually to a desired action. Alan H. Monroe himself was a great psychologist and a devoted public speaker. So, if that doesn’t establish the credibility of this sequence to you, I don’t know what will.

Everything About ‘Monroe’s Motivated Sequence’

For the sake of your better understanding, let’s break down this concept into five sections-

1. What is Monroe’s Motivated Sequence?: Definition, Steps, and More

2. Application of Monroe’s Motivated Sequence’ in Persuasive Speaking

3. Why is Monroe’s Motivated Sequence so effective?

4. Learning Resources to Help You Out!

Stay till the very end of this article as we’ve come up with bonus tips to aid this learning process, just for you!

1. What is Monroe’s Motivated Sequence?: Definition, Steps, and More

Meaning of Monroe’s Motivated Sequence

Monroe’s Motivated Sequence is a five-step organizational framework that is designed to ace the art of persuasive speaking. Keeping in view the aim of persuasive speaking, it is designed to induce the audience to take some sort of action once you are done speaking. It makes sure that your call-to-action has been implemented by the audience.

With the help of this technique, one can organize and structure a persuasive speech to maximize its impact. This technique has been derived by Monroe after studying the decision-making abilities and working of the human brain in great detail.

The five steps of Monroe’s Motivated Sequence can be stated as follows-

  • Attention
  • Need
  • Satisfaction
  • Visualization
  • Action

Remember that all of these steps must be incorporated in a persuasive speech in this very order to maximize the impact. Without any further delay, let’s understand what each of these steps really means.

Steps of Monroe’s Motivated Sequence

Steps in Monroe's Motivated Sequence
Attention

Have you ever noticed people yawning and checking their wristwatches as you delivered a speech? It’s one of those embarrassing situations that we all have faced at least once in our lifetimes. But can you blame your audience? NO!

As it turns out, your speech is just not persuasive and gripping enough for the audience to pay their attention. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

The mantra of attention requires you to have a strong opening line and establish your credibility as a speaker.

audiences' attention

Did you know that the audiences’ attention span is maximum at the beginning? So, the next time when you are walking up the stage to deliver the speech, know that you need to kick start your speech with a strong hook.

Instead of sticking with a bland ‘Good Morning’ or ‘Good Evening’, bring out the crystal of creativity to use. Here are a few tips for you to incorporate a strong hook-

  • Narrate a story (be it fictional or real, make it believable)
  • Use prop or placard to make an impact
  • Shoot an intriguing question
  • Ask the audience to imagine and dive deeper into the magical realm of imagination
  • Cite an unpopular opinion related to the topic of your speech

Want to know more speech opening ideas? We’ve written an article on ‘15 Powerful Speech Opening Lines and How to Create Your Own‘. Check it out to master the art of drafting a killer speech opening line.

And in order to establish your credibility as an orator, the audience must first have a reason to trust you. You can establish your credibility as a speaker either by stating your credentials or establishing a relatability quotient with the audience.

Need

As you have successfully captured that attention, it’s now time to tell your audience as to why they should change their existing thought lines, just to believe you?

why should the audience care?

So, start listing logical arguments to back up your ideas and tell them the need associated with the topic. Why, you ask?

Do you buy a television set just because you woke up one day and felt it’s cool? No, right? You analyze your need. You aware yourself of the requirements and then, invest your time, money and energy in something.

Likewise, for the audience to take some action after the delivery of your speech, they must realize the need and urgency of the situation.

Here, present your audience four-five logical arguments to support your ideas (Don’t bombard your listeners with too many facts, remember that less is more). Make a point to connect each of these logical arguments with a sense of emotion. This way, you’ll have your audience at the edge of their seats wanting to know more.

If you are still not sure on how you should go about incorporating facts in your speech, make sure you check this article.

Satisfaction

If you are someone who has just graduated high school, you now realize the ‘need’ for a good application essay to get into your dream college. But what’s the thing that keeps us motivated to work harder to make sure we get admission there?

For most of us, it’s the efforts we can put in to achieve that goal.

Likewise, when your audience realizes the need, they would think about putting in efforts to get it fulfilled. But will they be determined? Chances are unlikely. For us to work harder towards a goal, we need an anticipated satisfaction to cheer us up from time-to-time.

So, in your persuasive speech, you need to provide your audience a sense of what all good is in store for them if this need gets fulfilled. Keep it realistic, it needs to be relatable enough. One way to do that is to give your audience a list of solutions.

Tell them the solutions to satisfy that need. State the exact steps they would be required to undertake to reach their ultimate goal. Here, avoid being generic with the process. Think from an audiences’ perspective.

Remember that the solutions need to be clear and precise for the audience to remember in long-term.

Visualization
imagination

When you read a book, you get immersed in a fictional world. You can picture the scenario with your eyes wide open. It’s exactly what you need to do here. Help the audience rip the fruits of benefit through their eyes. The key is to list the benefits of listening to you.

In this step, you need to draw a picture in the minds of the audience. Visualize a world where things are all hunky-dory as they’ve followed those solutions.

This visualization can either be positive or negative. It all depends on the impact you wish to create.

In the positive visualization, you can provide a picture of a welcoming scenario where the problem you presented has been solved with the help of solutions listed by you.

In the negative visualization, you can provide a picture of a scary and traumatizing scenario where things have gone downhill just because the audience didn’t follow those solutions.

Call-to-action

If you have reached this stage, give yourself a pat on the back! You’re almost close to winning your audiences’ hearts.

Your audience should know what to do once the speech has ended and that’s where a Strong Call-to-Action comes to play.

call-to-action in speeches

Initiate a strong call-to-action by summing up the essence of your speech and tell what exactly does the audience needs to do once your speech has ended. Make sure you cite a key takeaway from your speech.

If possible, leave the audience with a thought to ponder over. But how do you do it? Just like a strong opening statement, one needs to have a memorable takeaway highlighting your key takeaway and call-to-action. Here are a few tips for you to add a memorable ending-

  • The good old charm of poetry
  • Use of rhetorical devices
  • Intriguing Question
  • The classic hook of quote

Which step is the most important in Monroe’s Motivated Sequence?

Undoubtedly, ‘attention’ is the most important step in Monroe’s Motivated Sequence.

If you don’t have your audiences’ attention, they won’t listen to your problem-solution-visualization approach. Consider the attention step to be that lesson on alphabets. You cannot form meaningful sentences until and unless you know the basics of alphabets.

Likewise, the attention technique in the beginning of your speech is what grips the audience to want to know more about the rest of your talk.

The point of having a strong opening is to change the vibe of the room in your favor so you have the undivided attention of your audience. With this undivided attention, you will be able to put forth your ideas in a convincing manner and the audience will actually listen to the content of your speech. If delivered well, you will be able to win over the hearts of your audience with the utmost certainty.

When should you use ‘Monroe’s Motivated Sequence’?

We have witnessed what this technique is and how exactly we can use it to our benefit to convince people. But here’s the catch, even after knowing what it is, most of you must be wondering where do you use it? Allow us to enlighten you with the help of these pointers-

  • Works great in persuasive and demonstrative speeches

While delivering a persuasive speech, you want the audience to truly believe in your point-of-view and Monroe’s Motivated Sequence provides the right step-by-step guidance for you to achieve this goal.

When it comes to demonstrative speeches, the audience members won’t just believe you. You need to tell a story, present the right facts at the right time and project a tempting positive scenario that awaits their presence. Well, Monroe’s Motivated Sequence does the job for you here as well.

  • Convince your stakeholders to invest by delivering a great pitch note

Monroe’s Motivated Sequence consists of the buzzword ‘attention’, which is why it will help you catch the attention of your stakeholders in work meetings. In addition to this, call-to-action will help you win over your investors.

  • In work meetings, to put forth your ideas in a convincing manner

In order to be persuasive, you must sound believable. The problem and solution pattern encompassed in Monroe’s Motivated Sequence will help you convince your fellow team-mates without them even realizing it.

  • It hones your leadership skills in college and work assignments

Being a great leader requires you to convince your fellow team members to follow your lead and put in the same amount of dedication and efforts that you are willing to put in a project. Monroe’s Motivated Sequence will help you do justice to it.

2. Application of Monroe’s Motivated Sequence’ in Persuasive Speaking

You must be wondering where exactly do each of those five steps can be applied within the structure of a speech?

Well, as you all know, any speech can be divided into three sections: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. That being said, Monroe’s Motivated Sequence is particularly designed to hone each of these three sections. To list the bifurcations-

  • The Introduction: Attention
  • The Body: Need, Satisfaction, Visualization
  • The Conclusion: Call-to-action
structure of the speech
The Introduction: Attention

Deliver your introductory statement by keeping just one goal in preview, that is, attention. Ace your introduction with three simple steps-

A. Strong Hook

Always begin your speech with a strong opening line (we possibly cannot stress this more). We have already discussed how to incorporate a strong hook in the section where we discussed ‘attention’. So, we won’t bore you to sleep with repetition but check this article out to really ace this art of penning down a killer opening statement.

B. Establishing Credibility

Speaker’s credentials play a huge role in making the audience decide whether they should listen to you or not. Why does it matter, you ask?

The catch is, in order to be convinced, the audience must first trust you. You can established credibility amongst your audience by simply following one of these three hacks-

  • Relatable Personal Experiences
  • State your Credentials
  • Narrate a story
  • Sound Confident and Smile
C. Thesis Statement

Here, just like the trailer of a movie, you provide your audience with a sneak peek into the content of your speech. How do you do it? Simply provide a preview of the theme of your speech.

The Body: Need, Satisfaction, Visualization

Need, Satisfaction, and Visualization forms the body of the speech. Remember that you cannot change this order. The body has to highlight these three main points in the exact same order.

body of the speech
A. Need

After a gripping introduction, you need to highlight the problem and explain it in such a way that it resonates with your audience. The best way is to bring out the emotional appeal here. Give them a purpose as to why should they care.

This step of need is crucial because when you begin your speech, the audience in their minds are thinking positively about the issue. They’re of the opinion that everything’s just fine and you need to break it!

Your ‘need’ statement should be so powerful that after listening to your statement the audience must go bonkers thinking, ‘Whoa, is that so? It is scary’.

Be as descriptive as you can while explaining the problem because the more vivid you explain, the more the audience will be able to visualize. This way, the audience will retain it for a much longer time.

B. Satisfaction

With such a vivid description of the problem, the audience must now be thirsty for the solutions. You will come to their rescue and be the anchor to drive them out of the stormy ocean and put them at ease.

To quench their thirst for solution, you now need to state the solution to the problem at hand.

Be very specific and realistic while giving the solutions. The ideal way would be to list the solutions from an individual’s perspective, something you and I can do. If you go all broad in terms of your solutions by listing the solutions at the national or even international level, the audience would much likely lose their interests. You won’t want that, would you?

So, maintaining the right balance is of key importance here. Also, remember not to burden your audience with too many facts as they will go all haywire and possibly end up remembering nothing.

C. Visualization

Using the power of imagination is gonna come in handy here. Ask your audience to imagine a hypothetical situation as reality. To list-

Positive Visualization: Imagine the good world where things are fine, just because you decided to implement the previously mentioned solutions

Negative Visualization: Even this can turn out to be effective by prompting the fear emotion. As we know that the negative emotions overpower the positive ones, you can actually use it to your ethical advantage.

Contrast Visualization: It calls for drawing a comparison between the above-mentioned points and then, asking the audience to choose the better one. They would obviously prefer the positive scenario.

Whenever you are asking your audience to visualize, give a detailed description. It’ll help them picture your thoughts with better clarity.

The Conclusion: Call-to-Action

Appeal to the sentiments of your audience while reiterating the core message of your speech and providing a takeaway to the audience. While stating the takeaway, you sum up your speech and provide a direction to your audience as to what exact action they need to take once the speech has ended.

Of course, you need to incorporate a killer ending line as well. To your relief- we’ve written an entire article on how you can draft a killer and memorable concluding statement. Make sure that you check it out!

3. Why is Monroe’s Motivated Sequence so effective?

Why is Monroe's Motivated Sequence so effective?

Since time unknown, scholars have been debating as to why exactly is Monroe’s Motivated Sequence so effective? We have researched the answers for you-

The first and foremost reason behind its effectiveness is that it takes into account the audiences’ perspective. It might sound obvious and lame but the thing is, we get so engrossed in honing our speaking skills that we often forget the aim of public speaking, the aim of adding some value to the listeners’ lives. In this quest, our audiences lose and are left clueless even after the speech has ended. The entire sequence is constructed in such a way that a speaker devotes his entire time and energy just to initiate some action from the audience members.

The second key reason would be the simplification of the concept. Monroe has simplified the concept to such a level that even a kid with just enough dedication could get a hang of this technique.

The third reason would be the universal use and relevance of this concept. People from all walks of life can learn it to excel in their respective professional workspaces. Essentially, it’s not an advanced learning concept but more of a must-have learning concept.

4. Learning Resources to Help You Out!

 learning resources

To help you guys better understand this concept with real-life examples, we’re offering you three things in this section. First off, we’ll discuss three sample speech notes written with the help of this technique. Secondly, we’re gonna provide you with a speech outline template to help you draft your own speech accordingly. Last but not the least, as promised, we’ll give you a bonus checklist for you to make sure you’ve incorporated all the elements in your persuasive speech.

Examples of Monroe’s Motivated Sequence

  • Speech Topic: ‘How Gossip Sessions Do More Harm Than Good?’
AttentionBegin with an imitation of gossip sessions among friends
NeedList the reasons why gossiping is so bad (State the problems)
SatisfactionState the steps to inculcate good conversation habits
VisualizationNegative Scenario where people have cut you out for gossiping their personal affairs in front of a bunch of people
Call-to-actionDirect a pathway towards fruitful and deep conversations about life and career prospects
  • Speech Topic: ‘Why Addressing Mental Health Is Necessary?’
AttentionBegin with an imitation of a conversation where people are making fun of a person who decided to opt for therapy sessions
NeedHighlight the mental health issues, explain in depth what depression and mental sickness is
SatisfactionState the solutions of listening, pep talks, and therapy sessions
VisualizationA positive state of mind where you can distance yourself from toxicity and learn to keep your mental sanity intact
Call-to-actionQuick tips on how you can gain mental peace by eliminating toxicity from daily conversations
  • Speech Topic: ‘Afraid of dogs? Know why running isn’t the best but the worst way out’
AttentionAsk your audience to imagine a scenario where a dog is walking towards them and they choose to consider running as the best way out
NeedNow, tell the audience what is the problem with running and how the situation can go all haywire
SatisfactionProvide a list of alternatives to running for the next time when they face a dog
VisualizationNegative visualization of what will happen if they still choose to run the next time they encounter a dog
Call-to-actionSum up all the solutions you stated in form of an intriguing story

Monroe’s Motivated Sequence: Speech Topic Ideas

Now that you are well-acquainted with the Monroe’s Motivated Sequence, you must be wondering as to what all topics you can speak on.

We’ve got you covered! Here’s a list of 5 speech topics on which you can apply the Monroe’s Motivated Sequence-

  1. Why watching dark content is bad for your mental health?
  2. How is your favorite show ‘Tom and Jerry’ promoting violence among children?
  3. How is Instagram a privacy peril?
  4. How is Instagram leading to body dysmorphia among today’s youth?
  5. Romantic Comedies are not ‘goals’ but a toxic representation of women.

Want to get more Speech Topic Ideas? We have an article dedicated just for that with HUNDREDS of persuasive speech topics you to choose from. Check this out.

Monroe’s Motivated Sequence: Speech Outline Template

The next time you sit to write a speech, feel free to put all your fears and concerns away as this speech outline template will help you structure and organize your speech. All you gotta do is find a comfortable space, grab a mug of coffee, and put your thoughts into words to write a strong narrative. Sounds simple, right? That’s because it is.

Monroe's Motivated Sequence Speech Outline

Monroe’s Motivated Sequence: Sample Speech

Speech Topic- How Gossip Sessions Do More Harm Than Good?

The first time I actually discovered the “power of gossip” was when I accidently spilled the beans of one of my colleague’s misadventures at Bali to my lunch buddy. Two hours later, I heard the same piece of gossip from one of my friends and by the end of the day, my whole tribe knew about it. ‘HOW???’

To my surprise, this incident somehow led to me becoming one of the “popular kids” at work. Though I did not feel very ecstatic, I did enjoy all the attention I received thereafter. Somehow, I gained the reputation of being the go-to-person for all the new hearsay around the place.

What you just heard is the key element of our daily conversations and one of my personal experiences. Yes, I’m talking about the inevitable gossip sessions, the sessions where you and I discuss IMPORTANT SHIT.

Important shit that doesn’t concern our lives but the personal lives of others.

Important shit that may not be true.

This is the ocean where you dive into the secrets of others, the secrets you weren’t meant to know in the first place. But do you hesitate? 

NO, you continue to listen and react.

So, let me ask you, are you a gossip? 

No, I hate people who gossip!’ That’s how most of us will react to that question. Trust me, I’d react the same way because guess what? The word, ‘Gossip’ in itself has a negative connotation. 

So, I’m here to tell you how nothing ever good follows the phrase, ‘Tell me, What’s the goss?’ and how these little gossip sessions can destroy your social sanity.

Imagine this! You had a really bad day at work and got yelled at by your boss. Feeling overwhelmed, you reach home and call one of your closest friends to vent it all out. After an hour-long conversation, your mind is at ease, you feel a lot better, and thank your friend for just being there and listening.

The next day, an acquaintance calls you and asks you how you were coping in a sarcastic tone. As it turns out, your closest friend couldn’t keep a secret and breached that circle of trust. How would you feel?

Sad? Disheartened? Betrayed? 

Would you be able to trust this close friend of yours? NO, Never.

And that’s exactly what’s wrong with these gossip sessions. The moment you start passing on secrets about someone else’s life, you are diminishing your own social credibility. After all, no one trusts a gossip.

But diminishing credibility is just ONE of the reasons why gossiping is bad for you. There’s more harm to it!

Have you ever gotten along with someone just because you share a common foe? Here’s an interesting fact for you- this bond is even more toxic than a bad relationship. 

When you make friends because your personalities clicked, you have a reason to stick by. But what would happen if your friend suddenly starts to get along with your foe? DISASTER, right? Then, you’re the one who’s portrayed in the negative light and you’re the one who’s considered a gossip. Within the blink of an eye, you have destroyed your social life just because gossip spreads like wildfire.

Gossip sessions may sound enticing at first. It comes off as a messiah for your non-existent social life but the more indulged you get, the more you mess up your social image. 

What we need is ‘meaningful conversations’.

What we need is ‘quality friends with whom you can even enjoy the silence’.

After all, you don’t need to talk just for the sake of it. Even a meaningful silence is better than a piece of gossip.

But how do you really escape these inescapable gossip sessions?

Firstly, the next time you hear someone gossiping something to you. Go ahead and tell them to sort things out with the person they’re gossiping about. Back bitching isn’t gonna help them in any way possible.

Secondly, begin to have conversations that DO MATTER. Talk about life decisions, career choices, even current affairs for that matter. This world encompasses a billions of things, gossiping is just petty and a complete wastage of your time. Consider gossip sessions as those weeds you pluck out from your garden.

The less people you chill with, the less shit you deal with’. This is the mantra for your third and final solution. Keep your friend circle tight and have people who contribute to your growth and not get carried forward in petty gossips.

Gossiping is most definitely the devil’s talk show. Socrates once said,

Strong minds discuss ideas,

Average minds discuss events,

Weak minds discuss people.’

Essentially, the ball of your social credibility is in your court. Do you make it or break it? The choice is yours and completely yours.

Bonus Tip: Checklist for Monroe’s Motivated Sequence

1.Find out the ‘Why’ of your speech to build an emotional connection with the topic of your speech
2.Analyze your audience, find out what will resonate with them, and structure your speech accordingly
3.Always begin your speech with a strong opening line
4.Give a preview of your speech in your introductory statement and then, mark a transition to the body
5.Divide the body of your speech into three key points: Problem, Solution, and Visualization
6.Describe in depth the problem at hand and tell the audience as to why should they care
7.Cite the solutions and solve the problem for them there and then (Keep the solutions realistic and individualistic)
8.Ask your audience to picture a futuristic world related to the topic of your speech (positive/negative/contrast)
9.Mark a transition to the conclusion, cite your call-to-action, and end your speech with a bang!
10.Practice as much as you can. Smile and stay confident while delivering your speech.

If you’ve worked on all of these pointers, trust me no one can stop in becoming a great persuasive speaker.

In Conclusion

Monroe’s Motivated Sequence is your secret recipe to craft a perfect persuasive speech. Bearing this in mind, this article is your one-stop destination for everything you need to know about this brilliant technique.

From what does this concept really mean to provide learning resources to help you out in the process, we have tried our level best to help you become a persuasive speaker.

Smile, be confident, and put your worries away as this technique is going to take care of the content of your speech. All you now need to focus upon is your presentation skills and don’t worry, we ain’t gonna leave you clueless. Here are a few articles to help you with your speech delivery techniques-

Hrideep Barot

Hrideep Barot is the founder and chief writer at Frantically Speaking, a portal to help people learn everything about public speaking. The purpose of franticallyspeaking.com is to showcase the lessons that he has learned (and still learning) from his numerous stage experiences and mentors over all these years.