Persuasive Speech Outline: A Detailed Explanation!

When impressed by a great speaker, or subconsciously prompted into taking action by a persuasive speech; it may seem like some people are born with the amazing ability to put forth beautifully convincing words and only they can “transfer" their ideas successfully to an audience.

While some have the gift of the gab and they can inspire and deliver effective and memorable speeches effortlessly, others can learn the art of giving highly motivating persuasive speeches too.

The key to a successful persuasive speech is gaining the ability to come up with a strong message and delivering it in a perfect order.

A Purdue University professor, Alan H. Monroe, used the psychology of persuasion to develop an outline for making result-oriented speeches.

We have earlier discussed Monroe’s Motivated Sequence Outline Template to create a perfect persuasive speech. Here, we will explain the sequence of this time-proven method further, to ensure your persuasive speeches have the maximum impact on any type of audience.

Persuasive Speech Outline: A Detailed Explanation

Monroe’s Motivated Sequence outline can be used for a variety of situations. Let’s examine the steps in detail.

Step#1 Get Attention

Everybody wants to know what is inside the box. The content of you speech is like a wrapped gift. The audience should be convinced enough to stick around to see what is within.

The opening is the most important step to gain the attention of the audience. Write a dynamite opening and give a quick overview of the speech.

One way is to start with something shocking, startling or controversial. Even humor will work fine, depending on the topic. If a subdued approach is more appropriate, try a direct question – anything that makes the audience take notice.

Examples:

Surprising fact: Did you know that you can get your brain to work smarter by eating blueberries?

Anecdote: I was driving home the other day, when I saw a tiny dog by the roadside. She was thin and emaciated and shivering. I instantly decided to find it a home. I pulled over and picked it up – and it turned out that the only home I ever want the dog to have is mine. That small dog has changed my life completely.

Question: When was the last time you educated your employees on safety?

Relevant to the topic: If your topic is genetically modified foods, you can say something like “Grocery stores are filled with genetically modified foods. The food you have eaten before coming her to listen to me may very well be genetically modified too.

This first step is a part of the introduction and it is important to establish credibility very early. This step should address the core concerns of the audience, making the speech highly relevant to them.

Step#2 Establish The Need

This is where the audience needs to be convinced that there is a problem. The speech at this point should revolve around getting the audience to feel a need or want – and that things need to change.

This is accomplished through:

  • A definite statement of what the need or want/problem is.
  • Give examples illustrating the problem. Paint verbal pictures to really get the audience to feel the problem.
  • Back up with statistics, examples or testimonies.
  • Explain the consequences of not changing and show the audience how this is directly related and important to them.

Example:

The workers work 40 feet above ground, but the safety harnesses are lying bundled 40 feet below – on the ground. They have the ventilation masks but they use them to keep spare change rather than to protect from dangerous fumes. Ignoring these safety rules led to the death of 200 workers in the state last year. I want to make sure you don’t join that statistic.

At this stage, the “solution" to the problem should not be expressed.

Here, the ides is to impress upon the audience that there is a problem. They should be made uncomfortable and they should look forward to “your" solution. (next step)

Step#3 Satisfy The Need

Now time to introduce the solution to the problem that has been built in step 2. How do you intend to solve the problem that the audience is ready to implement? This is the core of a persuasive speech. Be extremely specific. Don’t get confused. Sound confident and commanding.

  • For the first time, the audience needs to be told, very directly and clearly, what it is they need to do. (This should be the first time the audience is told what to do).
  • Explain the solution to the problem.
  • Demonstrate how the solution can help fulfill the problem in step 2.
  • Reveal evidence supporting the solution.
  • Anticipate counter-arguments and respond calmly but with authority. It is better to prepare and address all possible arguments even before the audience can bring them up.

Example:

Everyone needs to be accountable for their own and others safety. Safer work places are more productive. Habits are formed over a period of time, start the change now.

Step#4 Visualize The Future

At this stage, the audience’s desire for the solution has to be intensified. This step visualizes the future in a positive or negative way.

Positive: The speaker depicts future images of how much better the audience will be as a result of going with the solution offered.

Negative: Vivid descriptions are offered to make the audience understand how bad life would be as a result of not going with this solution.

Contrast: Address negatives first, by talking about the consequences of not taking action immediately. Next address the positive effects of taking instant action.

Examples:

Contrast and Negative: Picture a negative situation of a colleague’s death because of failure to wear a safety harness. Ask the audience to picture themselves right next to that colleague when he fell down. How can the audience members face the wife of the person who died?

Positive: Depict the image of a safe and healthy workplace for all. Imagine teams getting rewarded for an outstanding safety record. Ask the audience to take pride in training others on high level safety measures

Step#5 Call For Action

This is the final call for the buyer to take the solution offered. This is the step where you tell the audience to “get it." Make it short, powerful and well worded. End strongly and finish the speech.

Examples:

Review your company’s safety procedures instantly. They matter!

You are all invited to join in a tour of the factory after refreshments. Your views will help us identify areas that need attention immediately. For those unable to attend, I’ve left some business cards and literature. Feel free to call me with any ideas, clarifications or questions.

Conclusion

There is one very important thing to remember in persuasive speaking. Whatever outline you follow, whatever your speech may contain, make sure you are repetitive.

You may ask, “who wants to hear the same thing over and over again?" Public speaking experts stress on repetition, but without sounding repetitive. They suggest choosing an anchoring word, phrase or idea and returning to it many times throughout the speech.

This helps the audience feel connected with the speech. This is almost like a nice song: where each verse reveals a part of the story, and then the chorus takes the song back to the original idea of the song.

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