Types of Persuasive Speeches continued

Cause and Effect

Closely related to the problem-solution speech format is the speech that deals with cause and effect. It is best used when you believe there is a single cause (or group of causes) for a problem; in this instance, you can use the cause and effect organization. An example of a problem that most readers of this book can probably relate to is dealing with the high cost of a college education: The primary reason (cause) that tuition costs in America are increasing at twice the rate of inflation is that the federal government is decreasing its share of funding for American colleges. The result (effect) of this is that middle-class students are graduating with a total debt load that exceeds their ability to pay the loans back in less than twenty years.

Monroe’s Motivated Sequence

The three organizational patterns described above are primarily used when the objective of a speech is to influence beliefs and attitudes. When your purpose is to move the audience to action, an effective organizational pattern to use is the Monroe Motivated Sequence. This five-step organizational pattern was developed in the 1930s by Professor Alan Monroe at Purdue University. This is a simple yet effective system that takes you step-by-step from the process of getting attention to the call for action (Barton).

The five steps include:

  1. Attention: Get the attention of your audience using a detailed story, shocking example, dramatic statistic, quotations, etc.
  2. Need: Show that the problem spoken of in your speech exists, that it is significant, and that it won’t go away by itself. Use statistics, examples, or other information to prove this. Convince your audience that there is a need for action.
  3. Satisfaction: Show that this need can be satisfied. Provide specific solutions for the problem that the government and community can implement as a whole.
  4. Visualization: Tell the audience what will happen if the solution is or isn’t implemented. Be visual and detailed.
  5. Action: Tell the audience what personal action they can take to solve the problem.

The advantage of the Monroe Motivated Sequence is that it emphasizes what you want the audience to do. Moreover, it puts your call to action at the end of a logical chain that brings them slowly from the recognition of the problem to seeing how the proposed action can work, to the action itself. Too often the audience feels like a situation is hopeless; Monroe’s Motivated Sequence emphasizes the action the audience can take.

As with every other speech format, you need to get the attention of your audience, or else you speak without any hope of influencing them. This does not mean that getting attention is the only thing you need to accomplish in the introduction.