Are you a motivational speaker? Would you like to become one?

You may know motivational speakers from their great speeches which move people to be encouraged and take action. This action is usually to bring about changes in the lives of the audience in one way or another.

But that’s not all that can be achieved from the oratory skill of motivational speaking. In fact, there is so much more to public speaking that everyone needs this skill.

Motivational or inspirational speaking is important because it makes people aware of a bad situation and moves them to make appropriate changes. This can be achieved by making them change the course of their lives or taking up new habits.

But just why would you need this skill if you are not making public speeches?

The simple answer is because you need to convince someone or some people about something. If you currently don’t have such a need, then rest assured that it’s coming. At some point in your life, you will need to convince people to take a certain action.

However, when you think about it, you will realize that you have actually attempted to convince people in the past. Maybe your friend was making the wrong career choice and you got him to change it. Maybe your family was to relocate and you convinced them to stay. Or maybe you were unable to convince them and you moved.


Your need for the skill of convincing others comes from your being human. As a human, you are social in nature. That means you will be interacting with other people. In the course of the interactions, you will have to give some advice to people and hope they follow it.

In your career, growth will be a very difficult thing to achieve if you cannot communicate convincingly.

Do you have a presentation for your boss? Do you need investment for your new startup? Are you looking for some support in your community project?

These and many other situations require you to communicate convincingly so as to have people agree with your point of view.

If you don’t convince your boss, he will not approve of your proposal to hire new staff, yet you need more people in your department. If you don’t convince the investors, you will have no money and your business idea will not take off.

Motivational speakers have a way of getting people to do things they hadn’t thought of doing. With some few words, large crowds are charged up to take action and bring about massive changes.

Picture politicians and their abilities to marshal huge numbers of voters. Consider the popular and influential business leader who always manages to inspire loyalty and action from his employees. Even in hard economical times, such people will not have much of a problem maintaining control over situations.

How do they do it?

The psychology of motivational speaking

Ever wondered why motivational speeches are so effective? A quick look into psychology can give you the answer.

Inspirational speeches are usually based on the innate desires of humans to enjoy success, stability and security. The very basic needs of humans are essentially what the basis of these speeches are.

When you listen to an inspirational speech about career or business growth, then it taps on your need to be successful, have more money and ensure that your needs are taken care of. If the speech is about how to overcome your fears and achieve your goals, the same applies, with the addition of attaining some status in society.

But just how does it get to those needs?

It is common knowledge, especially among marketers that when you tell a potential customer the benefits of a product, he is not likely to buy. When you however show him the benefits by using an example relevant to him, he will buy.

In case you didn’t notice the difference, here it is: in “telling,” the facts are stated. For example, a computer salesman may say, “This computer has an i7 quad core processor with L3 cache of 8MB and a DDR3 RAM of 16GB running at 1600Mhz.”

That statement can only amuse a typical geek and since they are not many, the salesman may not make enough sales to hit his target. Another salesman in a competing company may take a different approach in selling a similar computer.

He may install a popular high resolution computer game and invite potential customers to play. When they see for themselves how smoothly the game flows without “hanging,” they will easily buy. Why? They will be buying the experience they had.

They have tasted and proven that the computer is fast.

Conclusion? Experiences easily override logical thinking. Moreover, not many people like engaging their minds to do serious thinking. They prefer being given pre-digested information which is easier to comprehend.

When it comes to inspirational speaking, what the speaker gives is an experience. He acts like the second salesman in our example above. He gets you to imagine the good life you would live if you took his advice.

Once you go through the experience, your emotions get excited or stirred up and they have their way. Then, your logical mind can only go with whatever your emotions determine. This is why some people get excited at the sight of certain things and spend money they know they shouldn’t.

When you understand this, you will then see the reason why advertisements are designed the way they are. There will not be many details to help you make sound judgments on your own but the good life you can potentially have is what is shown.

Watch the below video for an explanation on this.

Are inspirational speeches therefore a lie? Not at all.

They just deliver the message in the most effective way. Any other way could possibly be ineffective. Since there were great speakers in the years before psychology came into existence, how exactly did those people deliver their messages?

Although without knowledge on psychology, they did well enough simply because they understood the problem and wanted to make a difference. For example, a young man raised in the slum is likely to give a very effective inspirational speech about the need to tackle poverty.

This is because he has lived in it and feels it thus is able to speak in a way that people in the slum will identify with.

As long as whatever you are talking about is coming from your heart, it is possible to give a persuasive speech. But since you may still lack expertise on public speaking, you need to learn how to persuade people through your speech.

Inborn or learned skill?

There is no doubt that some people are naturally good at making speeches and convincing others. There are salesmen who perform well regardless of the season. They will always close sales even in a bad market while their colleagues are struggling.

These are the ones you listen to and can easily buy their product although you don’t need it. However, as much as convincing skills can be inborn, they can also be learned. This is how many people end up becoming recognized and sought-after speakers.

To help you acquire this skill, we have written this article borrowing from what was taught by Alan H. Monroe. At the completion of your reading, you will realize that persuading others through speech is not as difficult as you initially thought.

And with some practice, you will start perfecting the art and soon, become a pro.


In the course of his teaching career at Purdue University, Alan H. Monroe came up with steps to make effective and persuasive speeches. This was in the 1930s during his teaching of English courses which later came to be known as “Speech.”

The amount of success experienced from following these steps lend credence to their effectiveness. Below are the steps which later came to be called Monroe’s motivated sequence.

1. Attention

The first step is getting the audience’s attention. You can look at this as the traditional introduction of a speech. However, this is not really your introduction but a part of it.

As you develop your introduction, bear in mind that people tend to lose attention very quickly. You therefore need to capture it as soon as you begin. To do this, you should typically start your speech with a relevant story or shocking statistic.

These attention-grabbing introductions are what will engage the audience and get them to pay attention to what you are saying.

Remember we talked about emotions?

Your attention-grabbing introduction needs to tap into emotions. You should either make the audience happy or angry. Keep in mind that happiness is easier to handle than anger. All the same, for action to be taken, the emotions must have been stirred up.

As you capture the attention of your audience, remember to show your expertise in the subject matter. You will do best to mention your academic qualifications if they are what make you an authority. You can also mention the positions you have held in the your employment history.

This makes you believable and the audience is more likely to buy your idea or proposed solution.

2. Need

After you have your audience’s attention and have adequately introduced your speech, it’s time to talk about the problem that needs fixing.

Since your introduction mentioned the problem, in this step, you discuss it further. Give details on how the problem came about and why it has existed until now. Give some statistics that will prove that the problem is really affecting the people listening to you.

Remember that most people rarely get startled by events unless they have been directly affected by them. For example, if there have been floods in a different state, people may see that as a problem that doesn’t necessarily affect them.

Describing the need is very important because that is what people will identify with at the end of the day before moving to the solution. Watch the below video to see how important establishing a need is, even for success in business.

As you elaborate on the need, give examples of how people have been locally affected by the problem. If for example you are talking about drug abuse, give an account of several known young people who died as a result of drug use.

You can link it up with increased crime and give details from the local police records of how many youths die every year and those who end up in jail. Touch on some emotions by asking the parents in the audience whether they would love their children to end up in jail.

You can also ask among the audience who would prefer to attend the burial of his younger brother who got killed in a clash between two street gangs.

You can further drive the point home by pointing out that some known gang members performed well in school prior to joining the gangs.

3. Satisfaction

Having fully shown the plight of the society, it’s now time to offer the solution which you have.

You have obviously thought out your suggestion and are sure it is what is needed to turn the situation around. Realize however, that you are supposed to get others to believe in it too and support it. This point is the reason you are making the speech in the first place.

Clearly state the solution you are presenting to the audience and have as much details as possible. Do not rush through this stage because without proper understanding, the audience may not buy your solution.

As you go through the details of the solution, especially if it is complex in nature, ensure that you summarize the information. Summarizing makes it easy for the audience to remember what was said.

Something else that works best at this stage is the use of testimonials and case studies. Show your audience how other people in a similar situation managed to bring about change. Ensure you show that the situation is similar to the one you are talking about.

If there already exist other solutions, especially if one is popular but you’re advocating for another one, prove the other one as not adequate for the current situations. Show the downsides of the popular approach as you speak of how your solution excels over it.

4. Visualization

The visualization stage is where the magic really happens. Here, your creativity will play the biggest role. You will indulge your imagination to bring out a memorable and touching image.

It is all about painting a picture of the future. You should ideally paint two pictures for your audience. That of what will happen if they ignore your call to action and that of what happens if they agree with you.

This contrast will help them see what they should avoid and go for what they want to experience in the future. They will thus takethe appropriate steps.

The power of your creativity and imagination will really be evident here. Make the picture as vivid as possible so as to completely convince those listening of the need to take action.

For the picture showing the effects of ignoring your call to action, point out the consequences and indicate how the future generations will be affected by the inaction of the current generations. Tell the people listening that those future generations will blame them for not taking appropriate action.

You can pose the question “Do you think your grandchildren will be proud of you if you don’t do anything to make the society a better place?”

5. Action

This step is where you talk about the way the solution will be executed. Here you give clear guidelines on the steps to be followed so as to achieve the desired results.

Depending on the solution, you can list the actions one by one. Alternatively, just point out the one or two things they should do. Keep things simple at this point and do not use too many action points.

As you do this, do not be vague on the action points. Point out the action plan in such a way that everyone listening knows exactly what you want them to do. Keep in mind that as the one who is most knowledgeable about the situation, everyone is seeking to learn from you.

Making it easy for the audience to take action will lead to most or all of them acting as per your suggestion. But if you make it burdensome to take action, you will probably have very few conversions.

Something else that is worth considering at this final stage, is giving them a final stirring. Remember how you started off capturing their attention? You now need to finish by reminding them of the importance of taking action.

This may be necessary just in case the detailed information you gave at the beginning has been forgotten. You can also create a catchphrase to go along with the solution.


Having learned Monroe’s motivated sequence, you can confidently prepare and make a presentation on any subject. Just follow the steps and develop your content according to them and see the results.

Monroe's Motivated Sequence Perfecting the Call to Act

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