Monroe’s Motivated Sequence: Messages with Massive Impact

Monroe’s motivational sequence describes principles of speech that you can use whenever you need to motivate an audience to act. This powerful communication formula is easy to understand and gives you a template for creating powerful messages.

Alan Monroe was a professor of psychology at the University of Fredo. He used the psychology of persuasion to develop an outline for speeches that yield results. His book The Principles of Monroe’s Speech describes this in detail.

This proven method helps you create messages for maximum impact. Whether you need to create a compelling speech or motivate an audience to act, Monroe’s motivational sequence gives you the formula.

If you need to motivate an audience to take action, Monroe’s motivational sequence gives you a clear guide to creating influential and inspiring messages.

The steps to Monroe’s motivational sequence

There are five steps that make up the formula for creating powerful messages that motivate your audience to act:

  1. Get attention
  2. Establish a need
  3. Provide the need
  4. Imagine the future
  5. call for action

Read on to dive deeper into each of the steps.

For best results, focus on your audience and what will drive them. Their desires may be different from yours. Focus on what is important to them.

1. Get attention

The first thing you need to do is get the attention of your audience. The attention phase helps attract your audience to you. You can do this in several ways.

  • tell a story. Stories capture the curiosity of your audience.
  • Use visual aids. Jill Bolta Taylor used her most popular human brain Ted Talk.
  • Ask a question (perhaps rhetorically). Asking a question makes your audience stop and think.
  • Use a shocking statistic.
  • Share a strong quote.
  • Make a shocking statement.

2. Establish a need

Once you have the attention of your audience, they need to believe that something needs to change. They have to believe that the current situation is unacceptable and is adversely affecting them. You need to make your audience uncomfortable. It prepares them to be more open to the solutions and actions you present.

  • Clearly state or describe the need or problem. Make it clear and easy to grasp. Do not make your audience work to understand this.
  • Give examples to illustrate so that your audience will believe you more and experience feelings about the situation.
  • Add statistics or more stories to reinforce the impact and also show how the need directly affects your listeners.

3. Provide the need

Suggest the solution. Your audience is now experiencing anxiety or negative feelings about the need. They are ready and open to hear ways to avoid the pain or fix the problem. You can give them a solution that they will be eager to try – especially if you understand what motivates them.

  • Suggest the solution, and what you want your audience to do.
  • Provide more details to help them better understand what you want from them.
  • Explain how this solves the problem.
  • If possible, give examples of how this solution worked elsewhere.

4. Imagine the future or the consequences

Your visualization phase helps reinforce the emotion you have built. Now that you’ve presented a solution, help your listeners see what life will look like if they implement your plan. This step strengthens their desire for change and action. Use the pictures so they can see how much the change will affect. Was visual and descriptive. It will motivate your audience to want to act.

You can take different approaches. Determine what works best for your situation or audience:

  • Negative method: Create a negative image. Draw a negative picture of how horrible life would be if things did not change. Explain the negative way you are in. Share how much things can get worse if nothing changes.
  • Positive method: Create a positive image. Describe how easy and better things can be if your audience adopts your solution and makes a change. Describe the new and easier situation in ways that your audience can feel the change and lean on that positive change.
  • Compare and negative and positive contrast. Draw a picture of how terrible things will be if nothing changes. Then draw a picture of how much better life will be if the group makes a change and adopts your solution.

5. Call to action

Now that you have prepared your audience and motivated them, tell them what to do. This stage of action where you basically tell your listeners what you want them to do. This is the activity you have built for.

  • Explain or record actions they can take.
  • Give instructions if necessary on how to perform the activities.
  • Provide examples, templates, or help that can help them take action more easily.
  • If helpful, finish with a summary or statement of motivation to inspire further action.

Words have power when you know how to use them. You can move people and drive positive change.

How effective is Monroe’s motivational sequence?

Proverbial communication

Monroe’s motivational sequence works because people want to feel good. People react emotionally. If you connect with someone, he or she wants to hear more from you.

If you want to change someone’s behavior, use emotion-based persuasion skills.

These concise steps make it easy to create your compelling message. You will have a better chance of motivating your audience to action.

How to best apply Monroe’s principles?

The speaker of Monroe's motivational sequence presents to the audience

Here are some tips to help you apply Monroe’s principles:

  • Get to know your audience. What motivates them? How is their life compared to yours? Do they like sports? politics? religion? music? Movies? Whatever it is, know how to talk to them.
  • Be clear. Get clear about your basic idea and the main idea you want to share. Make sure you understand exactly what you need to say before you start talking. Do not fling it!
  • Use stories. People remember stories much easier than facts. Book one story after another until you cover all aspects of your subject.
  • Speak slowly. Slow down when necessary so that listeners can absorb information easily.
  • Avoid jargon. Do not use jargon that your audience does not understand or relate to.
  • Listen well. Pay close attention to the language your target audience uses and what motivates it.
  • to ask questions. Questions make people talk. Find out what interests them most by asking open-ended questions.
  • Give examples. Presenting something helps people imagine it. Examples give meaning to abstract concepts.
  • Strong end. Leave your speech with a powerful conclusion.


The Monroe Motivated Sequence is an easy but effective formula for creating a message that excites people. To make a compelling argument, think about what you want to change, what motivates your audience and how you want it to work. You can use this formula to create powerful speeches and messages to drive change.




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