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Monroe’s Motivated Sequence: Definition & Examples

Mike Kulakov, Yesterday
monroe’s motivated sequence outline: your best speech ever

In the age of information, one critical skill is the ability to engage and lead the masses. Learn it, and you can land a better job, a higher salary, and, maybe, even a promotion. While some are born with that inner ability to gain followers, others need to set up a time tracker to see how much time they’re taking, practice in the mirror, and do everything else to develop this skill. That’s where the help of Monroe’s motivated sequence outline comes in.

In this article, we will learn what Monroe’s motivated sequence is and what best techniques you can use to develop the art of giving public speeches.

​What is Monroe’s Motivated Sequence?

monroe’s motivated sequence outline: your best speech ever

Alan Monroe, a professor at Purdue University, used the psychology of persuasion to develop an outline for making speeches. This system helps to deliver the best public presentations that motivate people to act. It’s now known as Monroe’s Motivated Sequence outline.

Monroe’s Motivated Sequence finds application in various real-world scenarios. It helps to organize and structure speeches, making them clear and ensuring their point hits home. The implementation of the elements of persuasion psychology, keeps the audience focused and inspired to act. That’s why Monroe’s motivated sequence outline is so effective. Its five key stages include attention, need, satisfaction, visualization, and call to action.

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Monroe’s Motivated Sequence Steps

Let’s dive right in and have a look at the five steps of Monroe’s motivated sequence that you need to follow to get your speeches to work.

Step 1: Grab attention

Depending on how well you introduce the topic people will decide whether your performance is worth their attention or not.

Getting listeners’ attention may seem challenging. However, it’s a chance to make a solid foundation for your speech. If you grab your audience’s attention at the start, they are more likely to listen to you till the end. 

Use your imagination here. You’re basically looking for a way to get your audience to sit up and pay attention. Make your listeners realize that you have something fascinating to say. In general, people have very short attention spans. Once you have their attention you need to move on quickly.

Identify with your listeners

Begin your presentation with a story related to your topic, tell a dramatic tale, pose a question, make a shocking statement, use a historical fact… This will work as a great ice-breaker, relieving your inner tension and helping you capture listeners’ interest.

Make your audience trust you

Tell them why the topic is interesting to them. State clear and practical purposes, so people will know what to expect. Raise curiosity by asking questions or sharing unexpected facts related to the topic. 

Show authority and reputation

Make yourself more credible by sharing a set of reliable statistics or mentioning that you’ve investigated the topic thoroughly before. Add some visual content to your presentation, such as videos, charts, and images, as well as solid statistics. This will show that you’re well-prepared and ready to teach your listeners about the issue.

Step 2: Define the need

This step is important because you make people feel the need to solve the problem.

At this stage, you need to raise awareness of the problem you’re presenting. Don’t suggest any solutions in this step. Use this part to help people understand that there is a problem and that the challenge needs to be undertaken.

Elaborate the issue

Explain the way things work right now and that this needs to change. Show the consequences of keeping the issue as it is right now. At the same time, there is no need to increase tension or invoke panic. It’ll seem unrealistic. Just support your topic. Use reliable information, such as statistical data and evidence from the people involved. At this point, the visual data prepared in advance will be your most valuable asset.

Make it urgent

Imply the idea of time limits. Using statistics, make your audience realize how important the topic is and that it requires determined action right now. Show the dynamics of the issue becoming worse, explain if the consequences are irreversible or not. 

Highlight how it affects your listeners

Your audience may be concerned about a lot of issues around the world but never take action. This is mainly because these issues aren’t directly related to your listeners. Demonstrate how the problem affects each person in the room. Make your listeners accumulate tension until they feel the need to resolve the issue themselves.

Step 3: Satisfy the need

You have to persuade your listeners that the solution you’re proposing is the most effective strategy out there.

When you see that the audience is ready for action, it’s time to show them the way. Here you need to provide your solution. It should be concise, simple to follow, and easily understood by every listener. 

Present your idea in detail

Formulate your position and provide your solution. Divide your proposal into simple steps and clearly state what you want your listeners to do, believe, or understand.

Provide examples and summarize the idea

Find some fitting examples that demonstrate how your solution should work. Charts and statistics will also add to your arguments. Think of how your solution could benefit your audience and remember to include this information into your presentation.

Suggest your idea for discussion

You need to be prepared for possible questions and have a few counterarguments in your back pocket to show that your solution works. Fear no question. Instead, take the interest as a positive sign that your audience is listening.

Step 4: Visualize the future

This step helps you show your audience your perspective of your plan’s implementation; preparing them for the next stage – taking action.

At this point, you present to your audience what will the future be like if they implement or refuse your solution. You can do it using the following methods:

Positive attitude

Emphasis should be on the positive sides of your plan’s realization. Explain to your listeners how good the future will be if they agree to follow your idea.

Negative attitude

The focus should be on the negative consequences if your plan is rejected. Explain to your audience how bad the future will be if they reject your solution.


This is used to compare positive and negative attitudes. First, start with a negative scenario and after contrast it with a positive one. Make the contrast vivid and feasible. Your listeners should feel that your solution is the only and best choice out there. 

Step 5: Actualization

This final part of your presentation is vital. This is because you need to make sure that the audience knows how to solve the problem and is ready to get down to it.

At the end of your speech, your listeners shouldn’t feel overwhelmed with information. It’s important to concisely summarize and propose steps of action to your audience. 

  1. Tell your listeners exactly what steps they need to take to resolve the issue.
  2. Explain to your listeners which tools they have to address the problem.
  3. Invite your listeners to ask you additional questions.

Monroe’s Motivated Sequence Outline Examples

Many public speakers, vendors, CEOs, students, and those who want to succeed in giving presentations, in general, employ Monroe’s motivated sequence speech technique to ensure that when they talk, they hit the mark. For example, almost every TED talk presentation is built with Monroe’s Motivated Sequence to engage fully with the audience. That’s why they’re so popular. It’s the science of public speaking. 

Let’s take a look at this example here and analyze it.

Melissa Marshall, communications teacher and faculty member of the Department of Communication Arts & Sciences at Penn State University, clearly follows Monroe’s motivated sequence outline.

Here’s the outline of Monroe’s motivated sequence example:

  1. Grab attention. Melissa identifies herself with the audience by saying that she felt scared when teaching nerdy guys communication skills. Most of us would feel scared taking on a responsible task. Also, she wittily uses the allegory of Alice in Wonderland, talking about the hidden and fascinating world of science she discovered.
  2. Define the need. The speaker talks about the importance of developing great communication skills for scientists and engineers so that they will be able to share their ideas with regular people.
  3. Satisfy the need. Melissa explains the steps on how to boost communication and story-telling skills by avoiding jargon, giving simple comparisons, and avoiding bullet points in presentations.
  4. Visualize the future. The speaker explains how beneficial it’ll be for scientists and engineers to obtain communication skills as they will be able to share their ideas with a greater audience.
  5. Actualization. Melissa wraps up her topic with a simple formula: (science – (jargon + bullets) / relevance) x passion ) that can be easily implemented in practice by nerdy guys.

That’s it!

Now, think, what in this speech made you want to act? Pinpoint that and you’ll know what to aim for in your next big talk.

Remember, Monroe’s motivated sequence outline isn’t just for conference presentations. You can use it for your daily office work to make great and persuasive speeches during meetings or giving presentations. 

What Else Do You Need For a Good Presentation

Monroe’s motivated sequence outline will form a strong foundation for your speech, but what else will help drive the point home? Here are some additional tips on how to prepare beforehand and what to do after your presentation:

Stay motivated 😌

Many of us often feel that the most unpleasant tasks should be done last. Creating speeches may be one of them. They require lots of preparation and, something scary, talking in front of people. Don’t fall into this common misconception! Start preparing early and you’ll be more likely to have success. We’ve gathered the most effective tips on how to stay productive and motivated here

Keep your time 🕒

Use special time tracking software that is easily integrated into your daily apps. They will help arrange, monitor, and devote working time evenly through working processes. This allows you to prepare well-designed and thoroughly-considered speeches that will win over your audience.

Consider the best time for your presentation 🌇

Timing is essential for your speech just like in the workflow process. Think when most of your colleagues can spare some time to see your presentation. A simple time tracker can help you match your co-workers’ schedules to arrange your meeting at the best time. 

Use diagrams, flowcharts and mind maps 📈

Structure your speech and highlight the most important parts of your presentation. Never read your speech from a sheet, use cards or diagrams to see the key points you’re going to talk about. This will make your presentation more vivid and show that you know the subject well.

Release tension 🧘

Balance your working time and time-off. It’s important to rest enough before writing your speech as it’s a creative process and the best ideas hit fresh brains. Measure your productivity and stay creative at work to produce inspirational ideas and presentations.

Keep track of the goals set during your presentation ✅

Monitoring task fulfillment after your presentation gives you valuable data on how well the project is moving forward. A good estimation is important! You can present the information gathered in the form of statistics at the next meeting, showing the progress of the project and your contribution to it.

That’s a Wrap for Monroe’s Motivated Sequence Outline

Knowing how to best utilize Monroe’s motivated sequence outline to create great speeches is step 1 for anyone who wants to influence people, have the ability to persuade and upgrade their employability potential. It’s an essential skill for all successful business people, no matter the field.

Although not all people possess the skill of public speaking, it’s possible to develop and maintain it. What’s needed is practice, some knowledge of specialized techniques, such as Monroe’s motivated sequence outline, and more practice.

Mike Kulakov

Mike Kulakov

IT entrepreneur, executive and a former engineer. Responsible for company growth as well as the team’s motivation. Big fan of playing tennis, snowboarding, traveling, reading books, and (of course) I live and breathe our product.