Trying to get your company to adopt a new policy? Or potential clients to hire you? Or maybe you just want to motivate your kids to pick up around the house?

Have you tried Monroe’s Motivated Sequence?

This 5-step design is a popular and powerful method for moving people. The authors of Principles of Speech Communication call it “an ideal blueprint for urging an audience to take action.” Best of all, it is highly adaptable for whatever your specific needs are. It can be condensed into a brief conversation or drawn out to guide an entire marketing campaign. Once you understand the way this sequence motivates people, you can put it to work for you

  1. Arouse attention

The first thing you’ll want to do is grab the audience’s attention in a way that stimulates interest in your topic. Make your listeners eager to learn more. You’ll want to appeal to emotions right in the beginning, because scholars tell us that “emotional processing is prioritized” in our brains. However, you don’t have to appeal to one particular emotion. You might show a graphic that is unsettling to illuminate the reality of the issue. This can serve to produce fear or sadness or even anger. Or you might share a statistic that gets them excited about things to come. Just get your foot in the door by stimulating their interest.

  1. Demonstrate a need

Once you have the audience’s attention, you want to move into discussing the need at hand. Here you’ll present information that proves there is a problem. You might illuminate the harm of the status quo. Or you might take some time exploring what is at risk if change doesn’t happen. Remember, though, you can’t just assume the audience accepts the problem at face value. You have to use data to convince them something is wrong or can be better. If you do this correctly, the audience should feel slightly uncomfortable, like they can’t quite trust the foundation they’ve been standing on. But don’t worry, you are building to the solution.

  1. Satisfy the need

In the third step of Monroe’s Motivated Sequence, you bring in the solution. You rebuild the foundation. Make it a point to comfort and reassure the audience. If you have proven that there truly is a problem, the audience is eager to hear ideas about how to resolve the problem or change the status quo. As you build your solution, it might help you to brush up on what you know about human motivation. Looking over Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, for instance, can help you build a presentation with greater persuasive appeal.

  1. Visualize the results

In the fourth step of this persuasive outline, you help the listener see how things will change if the solution presented in step three is adopted. You help the audience understand how their lives can be better from this point forward. Remember that this part of the presentation is heavily reliant on visualization. So you’ll need to make the use of thoughtful imagery through descriptions, narratives, or pictures to truly help them “see” the great things ahead.

  1. Call for action

In a final movement, you make a call for action. It should be short and laced with powerful verbs. Ask listeners to speak, register, hire, adopt, raise, give, sign, or click. The other four steps have all been leading up to this moment, so you don’t need to draw it out. Just keep the momentum going.

Remember that Monroe’s Motivated Sequence allows for a lot of variety and adaptability. Whether you are a CEO, teacher, politician, speaker, or parent, this sequence of steps is one you’ll want to try.

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