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Monroes Motivated Sequence Example Topics For Descriptive Essays

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Persuasive speech outline

- using Monroe's Motivated Sequence

The persuasive speech outline below is the classic 5 step pattern called Monroe's Motivated Sequence.

This method of organizing material forms the basis of many of the successful political, public awareness or advertising campaigns you see and hear around you on a daily basis. Why? Because it faithfully follows the psychology of persuasion.

Use the quick links to get around this very long page efficiently.

About Monroe's Motivated Sequence

The pattern or steps mirror those identified as being part of the normal thinking processes that occur whenever a person is confronted by a problem.

Because the steps are perceived as reasonable, using them prepares and motivates an audience to respond positively to the speaker's message.

The sequence is named after the person who first identified and used it: Alan H Monroe who taught public speaking at Purdue University, USA.

Step overview

In developing your persuasive speech outline you will follow these 5 steps:

  1. Attention
    Grab the audience's attention
  2. Need
    Establish there is a problem (need) demanding their attention
  3. Satisfaction
    Outline a solution to the problem
  4. Visualization
    Show the audience how they will benefit from your solution
  5. Action
    Provide the impetus and means to act

Now let's examine those steps more closely. As you read through start thinking about your audience and your topic and jot any ideas down for later use.

The 5 steps of Monroe's motivation sequence 

Getting attention - step 1

This step is your introductory "listen up" call. To make it effective it needs to grab the audience. It could be any of the following:

  • a startling statement
  • a rhetorical question
  • a quotation
  • a funny story
  • a dramatic story
  • a photograph or other visual aid

Consider "What's in it for me?" while deciding on your attention getter.
Why should your audience listen? Is it relevant to them? How?
Why should they believe what you say? Have you established your credibility?

Establish the need - step 2

This step develops the need for change. Now that you have your audience's attention you will clearly show them what the problem is and the extent of it.

To be effective use:

  • examples to illustrate how it impacts on them - their happiness,future, health, family, neighborhood...
  • statistics - facts, figures, graphs, diagrams...
    Remember to cite your sources and remember too that some are more credible than others. You need recognized sources to give your speech the credibility you want.
  • expert witness testimony - the more authoritative, the better

Your goal at the conclusion of this step is to have your audience eager to hear your solution. They agree with you that there is a problem and want the answer.

Satisfy the need - step 3

Now you outline your answer or solution and show the audience how it will work.

To do this well:

  • outline your solution succinctly
  • demonstrate how it meets the problem
  • use examples to show how effective it is
  • support with facts, figures, graphs, diagrams, statistics, testimony...
  • if there is known opposition to your solution, acknowledge and counteract showing how your plan overturns it

The ideal outcome of this step is the audience saying to themselves: "Yes. This is possible, practical and sensible." 

Your answer should give them "satisfaction".

See the future - step 4

In this step the audience "experiences" the solution. They see (feel, hear, taste...) what will happen if they do as you are suggesting contrasted against what will happen if they don't do as you are suggesting.

This step relies on your use of vivid imagery to portray the outcome of their action, or inaction. They see and feel the pleasure, or pain, in their imagination. To bring it home to your audience the pictures you provide, the stories you tell, need to be relevant and believable.

What you want folk thinking as you conclude this step is: "I can see that this would be good for me."

Take action - step 5

In this last step you present your call to action.

The call to action can be embedded in any combination of the following:

  • a summary
  • a quotation
  • a challenge or appeal
  • an example
  • a personal statement of intent

To be effective the action step must be readily doable and executed as soon as possible. Make it as easy as you can for your audience. If you want them to sign up for something, have the forms available. If you wish them to lodge a personal protest in writing to your local government have stock letters and envelopes ready. In other words do the leg work for them!

Action steps that are delayed even for 48 hours are less likely to be acted on. We're human - life goes on. Other things intervene and the initial urgency is lost.

Fitting the standard speech format

If you are wondering how these 5 steps of Monroe's Motivated Sequence fit into the standard 3 part speech format, they go like this:

  1. Steps 1 and 2 (Attention and Need) form the Introduction
  2. Steps 3 and 4 (Satisfaction and Visualization) form the Body
  3. Step 5 (Action) is the Conclusion

Download a persuasive speech outline template

And now download and print a blank ready-to-complete persuasive speech outline template. You'll find the entire process laid out clearly, ready for you to fill in the gaps.

More persuasive speech resources

Want to read a persuasive speech example?
This speech follows the sequence outlined on this page. Be warned. The topic is somber; the affect of suicide on family and friends.

Persuasive speech topics

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Persuasive speech example

- using Monroe's Motivated Sequence

The persuasive speech example below uses the 5 step pattern of Monroe's Motivated Sequence.
(If you decide you want to use the pattern yourself you'll find a downloadable fill-in-the-blanks outline template in PDF format by visiting the Monroe's Motivated Sequence link above.)

I've laid the speech out labeling each step of the sequence from beginning to end so that you might see how, and why it works effectively.

All the spoken text is inside speech marks beginning "One fine Spring day...", after the Attention Step heading below.

Background speech preparation

General Topic:
- the affect of a suicide on those left behind

- community cross-section (teachers, social workers, nurses, doctors, leaders) brought together through interest in supporting the people they meet more meaningfully

Title of Speech:
"After They're Gone"

Specific Purpose:
- to persuade listeners to learn more about the special needs of family members, friends and colleagues in the immediate aftermath of a suicide through the material available on the After suicide website which is run by the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand, on behalf of the Ministry of Health.

Speech introduction

Attention Step:

"One fine Spring day I bicycled home and found a policemen guarding the backdoor. Through it came sounds I'll never forget; my normally quiet, well-mannered Mother screaming. "You can't go in." he said. I kicked him in the shins and did.  It was the 15th of September, 3 days before my 13th birthday and my father was dead - Killed by his own hand. Suicide."

Reasons for listening:

"What are your chances of being in the similar position to that young policemen clutching his shin?

Fortunately, not that high. In NZ we have approximately 500 suicidal deaths per year. But for those left with the aftermath that statistic is cold comfort."

Speaker credibility:

"Some of us, like me, know that intimately. Death may be part of the normal, natural expected cycle of life but death by any sudden, unexpected, traumatic form, particularly suicide, is not. These deaths bring significant challenges at personal, family and community levels. They cause ripples like a stone thrown into water touching us all."

Need step:

"What do you say to the woman whose husband went out one morning and never came back? To the mother whose son was found dangling from a tree? How do you talk to the sister, brother, cousin, friend, work mate of somebody who died by suicide? Is what you say to children, teenagers different from that you'd say to an adult? Talking about it is hard. It's tough, but necessary.

Recovery is shaped by responses: good , bad or indifferent. What we say - what we do matters. As teachers, parents, friends, neighbors, business partners, employers, medical or social workers - in fact who ever we are in relation to those who are experiencing bewilderment and pain, our actions count.

Research shows us that how we handle the aftermath directly affects what happens next for those left reeling. The cliche is true. We can be part of the problem or part of the solution."

Speaker credibility (again):

"To be part of the problem - that is to perpetuate the myths and stigma of suicide, to propel it forward and pin its ugliness to those already suffering, all you need to do is: nothing much.

Unfortunately I know this from personal experience. You can avoid those people - cut them from your life. Reject them as though they're contagious.

Or blame and shame them. It was something they did. The fault lay in them.

Or talk about anything else except this event, this person who is gone.

Or peddle platitudes: you'll get over it and time will heal.

Or you can credit the event as evidence of that person's tragic but heroic personality. They were too big, too intelligent, creative or sensitive for this life. Suicide was their only option. All of that and more happened in and to my family.

The long term effects of not being allowed, able or encouraged to express ourselves openly or honestly about our father's disappearance haunted all of us in varying forms.

We lugged deep-seated guilt around for years.

We were frightened of change and yet fascinated by danger. And yes, we flirted with death in varying guises.

We knew we were flawed, tainted, but didn't know how and what by. Our relationships suffered accordingly.

We collectively struggled, each in our own way, to find strength in our abilities and to realize them.

In short we behaved much like victims: trapped in a silence compounded and strengthened by time. Life was a battle. The fight was to find balanced reality."


"To be part of the solution, which I know you want to be, is to open yourself, to acknowledge your own fear of suicide and to learn how to support either yourself or others who need it."

Speech body

Satisfaction Step - explanation, demonstration and supporting material

"With support we know we can lessen the long term impact. We can't take away the initial pain, the horror, the sense of betrayal, shame or anger but we can work towards a resolution equipping people to emerge from the experience strengthened and healthy.

For children and young people that means finding safe support groups and mentors.

For teachers, health workers and others who work in a professional capacity with people affected by suicide, it means knowing where to turn for credible, helpful advice.

For families it means knowing precisely where the lifelines are and how, why and when to access them.

For communities it means understanding and respecting cultural difference and working within those frameworks to provide meaningful support.

We are fortunate in NZ. Yes, it's one of those bitter ironies; the country whose youth topped the charts for topping themselves in the 1990's, has gone to develop an extraordinary multifaceted program whose principal aim is suicide prevention. That program saves lives as well as lessening long term harm frequently visited on the nearest and dearest. Statistics show suicide has dropped by 20%.

We also know, due to in-depth studies, more about factors leading up suicide and how to recognize them in ourselves and others."


"Out of our collective pain has come a valuable life affirming hub of knowledge."

Counteracting Opposition & Visualization step

"Now there is no need to unwittingly cause more pain through either ignorance or the misguided belief that through not talking about it, it will disappear. And for that I am grateful. This wasn't there when my family most needed it but it is there now.

Let's make sure we use it.

Let's make sure we find out as much as we can about depression and what to do about it.

Let's make sure we know what resources are out there for those groups in our communities already identified through studies as vulnerable.

And lastly let's make sure we support each other whole-heartedly in learning to live openly and fully without judgement and name calling.

There is widespread and understandable concern about publicly discussing suicide. In fact so much so that our media is governed by law.

The Coroners Act 2006 makes it illegal to "publish particulars of a death publicly if there is reasonable cause to believe the death was self-inflicted, or, without a coroner’s authority if no inquiry into the death has been completed. The section has further guidelines on what can be reported once a coroner has found a death to be self-inflicted."

We know from research there is a direct correlation between how suicide is reported and subsequent events. Coverage of a high profile celebrity suicide which romanticizes and idealizes the person's action and life spawns copy-catting. As does describing the method chosen or making the event front page news. What's forgotten in the desire to protect us from our own vulnerabilities is that the ending is the final act in a much longer story.

That story needs telling. It's the one stripping out hysteria, fear and any misplaced glorification and instead focuses on the road leading to the act. What signs were there along the way? How and why did we miss reading them? What can we learn from that?"


"Knowledge is power. When it is collectively shared, the affect ripples outward embracing more and more and changes occur. Destructive patterns are broken. New pathways are forged and attitudinal shifts are made.

Who ever needs it, where ever they are, it is now true more than ever that they do not need to walk their path alone."

Visualization continued

"The internet, that vast interlinking web makes it possible to access the information you need almost immediately.
You'll find it on the After suicide website.
Once there use the navigation menus to locate what you want.

There's information for Community Organizations, Family and Friends, the Media and Health Practitioners. You'll find links to extensive resources and research, both national and international.

The 'What can I do?' tab addresses personal issues - amongst others: how to support a suicidal person. Whatever group you belong to you'll find stories - empowering, enriching and real. Stories from teens, celebrities, sports people, mums, dads, and professionals all of whom have been united in some way by suicide. They've been forced to stop, think, reconsider and reconnect.

What can you do to make a difference? Read, learn, refer, join the discussion at events, donate your time and expertise. It's easy to find a way that is right and appropriate for you."


"We know for every one death by suicide there are at least six people profoundly affected. Those six people interact with at least six others and although the impact on them is diluted it's still there. Those six know six more and so it goes, wider and wider.

Just last week there was another of the those heart wrenching headlines. Another overwhelmed young person had jumped off a bridge. The public why's and finger pointing at his family and school were quick to follow."

Conclusion - Action step

"We may not be able to reach everybody in time but we can each do what is within our personal power.
That is to spread understanding, and compassion; to give practical love and support, through knowledge. We are all worth it. Do it for those who live as well as for those who have died.

And do it now!

I invite you all to find out more by accepting a flyer outlining the services and help available.

If you need to talk to someone about anything related to what I've said, please either see me afterwards or one of the spokespeople in the audience. You can spot them by their smile and their badges."

References used in this speech

About this persuasive speech example "After They're Gone"

The topic, suicide and its aftermath, is real to me.

My father took his life and at that time, although there were well-meaning friends and family around us, the shame and stigma was enormous. From then on we were treated differently. No one spoke to us about the whys, let alone the hows. Not even my mother was able to share that information until we were adults many years later.

We made our own stories up to make sense of the event. The pity was that they were deeply flawed and self-limiting, and that it took more pain and suffering to begin to heal from that which was triggered by the original event.

It doesn't have to be this way. Not any more. For that I am profoundly grateful.

If you find the speech has stirred unresolved issues for you, please seek assistance. You will find equivalent information to that available on After suicide in your area.

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