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How to Motivate Audiences

In the 1930s, Alan H. Monroe developed a sequence for organizing persuasive speeches in order to maximize their motivational power. His design was influenced by John Dewey's reflective thinking sequence (a problem-solving method) and Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs (a basic system addressing human motivation). Monroe’s motivated sequence is still a very popular method for organizing messages that seek to influence audiences or move them to action. This offers a step-by-step guide to crafting your speech following Monroe’s motivated sequence.

I. Attention

Create interest in the topic and desire to attend to the problem. Establish your credibility and connection to the topic, and, if applicable, address the audience's psychological states or predispositions to the topic.

II. Need

The purpose of this step is to create or develop the problem. It is an analysis of what is wrong and how these wrongs affect the individual's interests and desires. In this step you relate your subject to the vital concerns and interests of your audience. You should:
1. State need––a clear statement of need or problem
2. Illustrate—use examples that describe the need
3. Elaborate—use additional examples and supporting materials (statistics and testimony) to show extent of need; you must show your audience how this is a severe problem
4. Point—use convincing demonstrations of how the need directly affects the audience's health, happiness, welfare-motivational appeals work well here

III. Satisfaction

The purpose of this statement is to state the proposition (what you want the audience to think, believe, or do) that will alleviate the problem and satisfy individuals' interests, wants, and desires. You should:
1. State the proposition—what you want from the audience
2. Explain your proposal
3. Show how it meets the problem pointed out in the need step
4. Give examples showing how your proposal has worked or can work effectively—use facts, figures, and the testimony of experts

IV. Visualization

The function of the visualization step is to intensify desire and seek belief or action from your audience. To accomplish this you need to project into the future and describe the results of your proposal from the last step. The visualization step should describe:
1. What the world would look like and/or feel like if the proposition was believed or followed.
2. What the world would look like if the proposition was not believed or followed. You must state the benefits of the proposition; it is optional to describe the dangers of not accepting the proposition.

V. Action

This step is a final call for commitment or a call to action. As in the conclusion of an informative speech, you should restate the proposition or thesis and end with a clincher-type statement. The action step may use one or more of the following devices:
1. Challenge or appeal to perform an action
2. Quotation that highlights the severity or appeal of action
3. Illustration that inspires or frightens
4. Summary of proposition
5. Steps to achieving proposition

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