Monroe’s motivational sequence is a powerful speechwriting technique based on the power of persuasion and developed in the 1930s by Alan Monroe, a college professor at Purdue University.
Presenters should focus on their audiences. Since people avoid discomfort once they encounter a particular problem, they’ll be convinced to take action that will solve that issue.
Monroe’s Motivational Sequence
Your sales pitch’s objective is to compel your clients to make purchase decisions.
Answer their questions: “Why am I here?” and “What’s in it for me?”
If they don’t see why your proposal is important, they won’t bother to listen. This makes your introduction the most crucial part of your sales presentations. It’s where you hook your audience and keep them interested.
Here are five stages Monroe suggested to making audiences act on unresolved issues:
First Stage: Get Attention
How will you convince them to pay attention?
Getting your audience’s attention is the first step in motivating them. The storytelling technique achieves this by providing them with stories that generate their interest.
Explain the importance of having them as your audience. Include humorous stories, questions, and quotations to connect with them, giving them a reason to stay and listen.
Second Stage: Establish the Need
How will you tell them that there’s a problem that needs solving?
Stating and emphasizing the issue point outs the discomfort and dissatisfaction it brings. Use statistical explanations to illustrate how it affects them. Appeal to your audience’s emotions to connect with them.
After this stage, they’ll start looking for a solution.
Third Stage: Satisfy the Need
How will you offer the solution?
Provide them with concrete solutions to address the issues. Avoid confusing and misleading technical terms to keep them from misinterpreting what you mean.
Explain and clarify each of your solution’s supporting details to show their importance.
Fourth Stage: Visualize the Future
How will you show the positive effects of applying this solution?
Contrast the problem against your solution to illustrate the difference between the positive and negative outcomes. What happens if you apply this solution? What happens if you don’t?
Create a picture of both to convince your audience to follow your advice and take action.
Fifth Stage: Inspire Action
How will you move them to act now?
Return to your message’s main idea to remind them of its impact. Create a sense of urgency that challenges and drives them to act immediately.
Tell them to quit delaying the problem. Reiterate the reasons why they should do it and how it can be done.
Monroe’s motivational sequence convinces your audiences to take action by getting their attention, making them stay and listen to what you have to say.
Establish their need for a solution to stop the issue. Satisfy them with clearer and easier-to-understand solutions. Help them visualize how their decision affects their future, and inspire them to act now.
This sequence increases your chances of persuading your audience enough to make them take action.
Barker, Alan. “Five Steps to Action: Monroe’s Motivated Sequence.” Distributed Intelligence. Accessed June 23, 2015.
“Why Storytelling Is an Effective Presentation Technique.” SlideGenius, Inc.. September 8, 2014. Accessed June 23, 2015.