This article explains the persuasive speech, developed by Alan Monroe, in a practical way. After reading you will understand the basics of this powerful communication skills tool.
In the 1930s, the American psychologist Alan Monroe developed a method for making speeches that deliver results, the persuasive speech. Monroe’s motivated sequence, also known as or the persuasive speech, is still used by many speakers worldwide to enthuse and persuade their audiences.
Monroe’s motivated sequence or the persuasive speech is even often used in many television commercials and the AIDA-model, that was developed later, has been derived from this. The reason why the Motivated Sequence is still very effective is because it is all about persuasion. It inspires and stimulates people to take action.
The five basic steps
According to Alan Monroe, it is important to choose a subject that relates to your audience. The subject for the persuasive speech must be relevant and should captivate your audience. A target group oriented approach is inevitable in this. The motivated sequence method consists of five consecutive steps to make a speech with a persuasive appeal:
1. Attention (hook)
By getting the audience’s attention from the onset, a speech will become lively and attractive. You can do this by asking a (rhetorical) question, dropping a quote from a famous person, telling a detailed story or a humorous anecdote. This will captivate the speaker’s audience.
2. Need (need)
By convincing the audience that there is a need and a purpose to the speech, they will remain interested. The audience will be more convinced when you can provide proof to sustain your claims, such as practical examples, numbers and statistics. The need for information will be increased when advantages and disadvantages are mentioned which will make the audience think that they can form an opinion themselves.
3. Satisfaction (solution)
By giving attainable solutions for the problem, the audience’s satisfaction will increase. Easy and obvious solutions will convince the audience. In this step it is important to convince the audience to take action. Any objections from the audience must be rebutted by means of proof.
By telling the audience what the consequences are of the earlier mentioned solutions and steps, they will see the benefits. It will create a concrete image of the situations and they can visualize them in their thoughts. This will stimulate their emotions and (deeper) needs.
By telling the audience which action they can take themselves, they will set to work to solve the problem that has been mentioned.
Advantage of a persuasive speech
A major advantage of the motivated sequence method and the persuasive speech is that it emphasizes what the audience can do and what action they can take. It is important, however, to stress the necessity of the solutions that were proposed earlier. A brief repetition of the facts will suffice. To make the audience take action, it is advisable to tell them step by step what they should do.
- Frymier, A. B., & Shulman, G. M. (1995). “What’s in it for me?”: Increasing content relevance to enhance students’ motivation. Communication Education, 44(1), 40-50.
- McDermott, V. M. (2004). Using motivated sequence in persuasive speaking: the speech for charity. Communication Teacher, 18(1), 13-14.
- Monroe, A. H. (1955). The motivated sequence. Principles and Types of Speech, 680.
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