Monroe’s Motivated Sequence

Motivating people for change is an extremely difficult thing too. Alan Monroe developed a five-step process called “Monroe’s Motivated Sequence” in order to do this. His process follows the psychological steps of persuasion.

This post will explain the five-steps of Monroe’s motivated sequence. The steps are as follows…

  1. Attention
  2. Need
  3. Satisfaction
  4. Visualization
  5. Action


Attention is about getting the audience to focus on the message. This can involve explaining the relevance of the topic, posing a question, and or telling a story.

This is a critical step as a poor beginning can lose the audience. If the audience losses interests in the topic it weakens the rest of the persuasion process.

As an example, if my topic is smoking and I want to have people vote for a no-smoking ordinance. I may get the attention of the audience by sharing a story of a close relative who had a horrible death due to smoking. Such  a moving story would gain attention


After gaining the attention of the audience, it is necessary to establish the need. The need is the problem that must be solved. You want to get the audience concerned about the problem so that they care about a solution.

The need can be established through the use of examples such as statistics, quotes, illustrations, testimonies etc. You want the audience to “see” the problem and be convinced that action is necessary.

To establish the need in my non-smoking ordinance speech, I might share statistics on smoking use and the health consequences. However, I would need specific local examples and stats due to the nature of the topic. Vague examples of smoking affecting the world lack relevance for people. Local examples of smoking’s impact would probably be more powerful


Satisfaction is the explanation of the solution to the problem. Here, you share how your plan will solve the problem. You must provide a clear explanation of the solution in order for the audience to understand.

For the no-smoking ordinance, I might share how much of a statistical impact a no smoking ordinance would have. It would also be beneficial to examine the economic impact as well.


This step is highly related to the “Satisfaction” step. The difference is that your examples are stronger and more visual in their impact. You want the audience to see what you are explaining.

For my no-smoking ordinance, I might use visual language about people no longer visiting the doctor and experiencing long bitter deaths. I might indicate the benefits for the family and children.


Action is where you tell the audience what you want them to do. For my no smoking ordinance  I want them to vote yes. In order to get the action, you want the audience needs to be convinced that your plan contains the needed answer to the problem.


Monroe’s motivated sequence is a time tested approach to persuasion. There are many commercials that have employed this approach today that are available on the internet.

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