A no fail guide to convincing: MONROE’S MOTIVATED SEQUENCE

A fantastic guideline for convincing others can be found in Monroe’s Motivated Sequence. Designed in the 1930’s by Alan Monroe,  a professor of public speaking at Perdue, it weaves all the key ingredients of effective  communication and  sprinkles it with  just the right psychology.  In short:

  • It adapts to the audience
  • grabs their attention and brings them into the need  by directly involving them
  • then provides instant gratification by providing a solution.
  • Most importantly it uses visualization, a key technique in communication. When you can see something, it becomes real to you and much more likely to happen.

As such, Monroe’s motivated sequence is structured to convince an audience to go out and take action; do something. Not surprisingly it’s the basis of advertising strategy as well.

There are five basic steps:

To start with, step one you need to

GET ATTENTION- grab the audience, get them to give you their undivided attention and focus on what you’re saying. How?

I refer to the 4 key “hooks” used to catch the audience:

  • something that is unexpected or a surprise,
  • a problem with an imediate solution
  • a story to make them care,  or
  • an intriguing question

Once you’ve got their attention you want to, step 2. CREATE THE NEED. Show them why

It’s essential that they feel the need ( to do what you’re asking them to do). So while you want to be concrete and give statistics or logical, we know  that the more you can touch your listener, make them care and feel involved, the more likely you are to convince. For this reason in addition to using logic try to tie the need in with a “feeling “ reason as well.

Connecting with values is one such way as well as giving concrete examples, pertinent to the audience.

Now comes the turning point: you’ve gotten your audience involved and committed to the problem and you’re going to satisfy them by  step 3. Solving THE PROBLEM/SATISFY ing the need. Outline the solution succinctly so they get the point. Show, specifically how this solution addresses the needs you just painted. Try to foresee any objections and address them in your plan.

Follow up on that and really hit the nail on the head with step 4, getting them to VISUALIZE THE SOLUTION. Once you visualize something it begins to feel real, concrete. Get them to see how the outcome would be; what would it look like; feel like, sound like. How would it change things to their liking? Sometimes if this is not so easy, you could use the opposite. Visualize the risk of not doing it. Create the threatening arena of inaction. However, be careful,  you are far more effective with a positive outcome than a negative threat. People tend to block out negativity and find excuses for why it won’t occur.

How to have the others visualize?  You can use stories but be sure to include concrete details, metaphors, proverbs- flashes of wisdom in a simple sentence these are just some of the devices.

And finally, step 5, make a CALL FOR ACTION. Tell them what to do. If you can make it easy, have all of the next steps laid out for them so they can take action with little trouble?


Click on Monroe’s Motivated Sequence to see other sites 

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