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Ms. Stroemer-Persuasive Speech: Home

Monroe's Motivated Sequence (MMS)

For this speech, you will be using Monroe's Motivated Sequence (MMS) to persuade your audience on your topic/problem.  Below are the five steps of MMS and was written with the help of author and former English teacher, Susan Dugdale, from her website write-out-loud.com.  For more information please refer to the website link below.

"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." (www.write-out-loud.com)

Step 1: Attention

This step is your introductory "listen up" call.  It is here you will get the audiences' attention, state your thesis statement, establish your credibility, and give a preview of your main points.  Your attention getter can include one or more of the following:

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

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Attention Getter: Consider "What's in it for me?" 
  • Thesis: Why should your audience listen? Is it relevant to them? How? 
  • Establish Credibility: Why should they believe what you say? 

Step 3: Satisfy the Need (Solution)

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

To do this well:

  • outline your solution in detail
  • demonstrate how it meets the problem
  • explain how and why your plan will work
  • 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" or in other words a "solution."

Step 5: Call to Action

In this last step you restate the importance of the problem, review your main points, and present a "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.

Step 2: Establish the Need (Problem)

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.  It is in this step where you will describe the need and explain the importance of the problem.  

To be effective use:

  • examples to illustrate how it impacts them and/or others - their happiness,future, health, family, neighborhood...
    • How many people does it affect?
    • What are the effects of those people?
    • What might cause this to happen?
  • 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 end 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.

Step 4: Visualization (Consequences)

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

  • What will happen if your plan is not adopted?  What are the negative consequences?  
  • What will happen if your plan is adopted?  What are the benefits/positive consequences?

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 minds.  They can "visualize" the effects of doing something about the problem versus not doing something about the problem. 

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. Step 1 (Attention) first part of the Introduction
    • ​​It is here you will also include your thesis, main points, and establish credibility
  2. Steps 2, 3, and 4 (NeedSatisfaction, and Visualization) form the Body​​
  3. Step 5 (Action) part of the Conclusion
    • ​​It is here you will also restate the importance of your problem and review the main points