Monroe’s Motivated Sequence

MonroeIn his book Principles and Types of Speech Communication, Alan Monroe stated, “Although individuals may vary to some extent, research has shown that most people seek consistency or balance among their cognitions. When confronted with a problem that disturbs their normal orientation, they look for a solution; when they feel a want or need, they search for a way to satisfy it. In short, when anything throws them into a condition of disorganization or dissonance, they are motivated to adjust their cognitions or values, or to alter their behavior so as to achieve a new state of balance.”

Monroe’s Motivated Sequence, developed in the 1930s, was Monroe’s response to this research and consists of five steps to getting your audience to recognize the need and strike a desire to act.

The first step is getting the attention of the audience. You can do this in many ways such as telling a story, reciting a quotation, giving a statistic, asking a question, or even using a visual aid. Whatever method you choose, be sure it will captivate the audience and make them want to listen.

The second step is establishing the need for a change. This is where you present the problem to your audience. How does the problem affect them? Why should they act? Give them enough concern to where they are eager to find a solution. At this point, they are ready to listen to the solutions you have to offer.

The third step of Monroe’s Motivated Sequence is to satisfy the need that you established in the previous step. Discuss the solution. How will your solution fix the problem? This step leaves your audience with an understanding that change is possible and gives them the information they need to implement that change.

Next, step four, is where you help the audience visualize a positive reality where change has been implemented or a negative reality where a change has not been implemented and conditions continue as they currently stand.

The fifth and final step to Monroe’s Motivated Sequence is the action step. This is where you appeal to your audience’s ability to implement a change and finally ask them to act. There should be no beating around the bush with this step. In no uncertain terms, tell your audience what you want them to do and how to do it. A quick recap of what you’ve gone over in the previous steps is appropriate and will help them remember why they need to act.

From television commercials to political campaigns, this method of speech organization is one of the most effective ways to get your audience to act now. Try it out with your next speech or presentation and let us know how it worked out!

Written by Impromptu Guru Director of Operations, Christina Miller.

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