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Inspire your audience with this great technique for speeches and presentations

Monroe's motivated sequence is a technique for delivering persuasive speeches, presentations to committees, potential clients, community groups, conferences, and webinars that inspire people to take action.

When preparing your material, work on the rule of thumb in your first draft that the length of your speech or presentation should be based on delivery of around 135 words per delivered minute. Thus a 20-minute speech should contain about 2,700 words. Obviously you would vary this according to your own speed of talking.



Get the attention of your audience to show where or how the audience is in trouble (low sales conversions, no visibility, low community support, etc, especially compared with competitors. Use a detailed story, shocking example, dramatic statistic, quotations, rhetorical question, etc, that will get them to sit up and take notice. Attention can be very brief, so once you have their attention and interest, you need to move on quickly. If you annoy them, you will struggle to recover the situation.

This step is part of your intro – it doesn’t replace it. In your opening you should establish your credibility as an expert or quote someone else who is an expert, state your purpose, and let the audience know what to expect.


Convince your audience there is a problem, a stimulated need, so they realize change needs to be made. Audience needs are what motivates action. Show that the need will not go away by itself. Go beyond establishing there is a significant problem. Many problems are not particularly relevant to your audience. Convince your audience that they each have a personal need to take action. A stimulated need leads to the person seeking a solution. This step includes:

  • State the need: with a clear statement of need or problem.
  • Illustrate the need: using practical examples that show it is real.
  • Elaborate the need: with further examples, statistics, references and so on that moves the audience to understanding the severity of the problem.
  • Point the way: use convincing demonstrations to highlight how the need directly affects the audience.


This is the main part of your presentation. Introduce your solution. How will you solve the problem that your audience is ready to address? Provide specific and feasible solutions that individuals or communities can implement to solve the problem.
This step includes:

  • Propose: state clearly what you want from your audience.
  • Explain: the detail of what you are proposing.
  • Show: how it solves the problem and addresses the need.
  • Illustrate: with examples and data about of how this proposal has worked in the past.


Tell the audience what the situation will look like if they do nothing. Help the audience to see what the results could be if they act the way you want them to. Be visual and detailed to create the desire to do what you recommend. Ensure your vision is believable and realistic.


Finally, you need to prompt the audience into action, implementing the solution that you now know is the right thing to do. This step may include:

  • Challenge: them to take action.
  • Appeal: to them to act.
  • Illustrate: how they might act.
  • Summarize: your proposal.
  • Steps: to achieve the proposal.

Tell the audience the specific action they can take personally now to solve the problem. Don’t overwhelm them with too much information or too many expectations, and be sure to give them options to increase their ownership of the solution. This can be as simple as inviting them to have some refreshments as you walk around and answer questions. For complex problems, the action step might be to get together again to review plans.
There are many descriptions of Monroe's motivated sequence. Here is one by Dominic Spencer, an instructor at the University of Central Florida in 2011:

  1. Attention: Hey! Listen to me, you have a PROBLEM!
  2. Need: Let me EXPLAIN the problem.
  3. Satisfaction: But, I have a SOLUTION!
  4. Visualization: If we IMPLEMENT my solution, this is what will happen. Or, if we don't implement my solution, this is what will happen.
  5. Action: You can help me in this specific way. Will you help me?


The advantage of this approach is that it emphasizes what the audience can do. It also helps the audience feel like you know the problem at hand. It invites a conversational feeling and helps them see that you truly care about them and understand them.

About the Author

Kim Harrison is a recognized authority in the public relations field. His website,, provides a wealth of informative articles and resources on public relations techniques and management.


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