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14.7: Organizing Persuasive Messages

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    Once you have selected your topic, know who your audience is, and have settled on an end goal for your persuasive speech, you can begin drafting your speech. Outlines are organized according to the particular speech, and the following organizational patterns are used routinely for persuasive speeches.

    Monroe’s Motivated Sequence Pattern

    Monroe’s Motivated Sequence is an organizational pattern that attempts to convince the audience to respond to a need that is delineated in the speech. Five separate steps characterize the Motivated Sequence organization style:

    1. The attention step should get the audience’s attention as well as describe your goals and preview the speech.
    2. The need step should provide a description of the problem as well as the consequences that may result if the problem goes unresolved. In this step, the speaker should also alert audience members to their role in mitigating the issue.
    3. The satisfaction step is used to outline your solutions to the problems you have previously outlined as well as deal with any objections that may arise.
    4. In the visualization step, audience members are asked to visualize what will happen if your solutions are implemented and what will happen if they do not come to fruition. Visualizations should be rich with detail.
    5. The action appeal step should be used to make a direct appeal for action. In this step, you should describe precisely how the audience should react to your speech and how they should carry out these actions. As the final step, you should also offer a concluding comment.

    The following example illustrates a Monroe’s Motivated Sequence Pattern:

    1. Attention Step
      1. When was the last time you saw a dog chained to a tree in a neighbor’s yard, heard about a puppy mill in your town, or went into a pet store only to find dogs and cats for sale?
      2. I work with the Morris County Animal Protection Group, and I would like to share some ways in which you can help prevent these travesties.
      3. First, I will describe some of the major problems in Morris County, and then I will tell you how you can get involved.
    2. Need step: Many animals in Morris County are abused and neglected.
      1. There are too many stray animals that are neither spayed nor neutered, resulting in an overabundance of cats and dogs.
      2. These animals often cannot find enough food to survive, and the local shelter cannot accommodate such high populations.
      3. The cost of local spay/neuter programs is too high for our agency to handle.
    3. Satisfaction step: Raising $1 million for the Morris County Animal Protection Agency can effectively solve these problems.
      1. We could afford to spay or neuter most stray animals.
      2. Obtained animals could be fed and accommodated until a home can be secured for them.
      3. Additionally, we could subsidize spay/neuter costs for local citizens.
    4. Visualization step: Imagine what we can do for our animals with this money.
      1. What will it be like if we can carry out these actions?
      2. What will it be like if we cannot do these things?
    5. Action appeal step: Donate to the Morris County Animal Protection Agency.
      1. If you want to help protect the many struggling stray animals in Morris County, make a donation to our organization.
      2. Your donation will make a real difference in the lives of our animals.
      3. We cannot effect real change for the animals of our county without each and every one of you.

    Problem-Solution Pattern

    Sometimes it is necessary to share a problem and a solution with an audience. In cases like these, the problem-solution speech is an appropriate way to arrange the main points of a speech. Problems can exist at a local, state, national, or global level. It’s important to reflect on what is of interest to you, but is also critical to engage your audience. Today, the nation has become much more aware of the problem of human sex trafficking. Although we have been aware that this has been a global problem for some time, many communities are finally learning that this problem is occurring in their own backyards. Colleges and universities have become involved in the fight. Student clubs and organizations are getting involved and bringing awareness to this problem. Let’s look at how you might organize a problem-solution speech centered on this problem.

    Topic: Human Sex Trafficking

    Thesis (Central Idea): Human sex trafficking is no longer a problem that exists on a global level, but it has hit us here where we live with at least two girls being kidnapped and sold into sex slavery each month.

    Preview: First, I will define and explain the extent of the problem of sex trafficking within our community while examining the effects this has on the victims, and then I will offer possible solutions that will take the predators off the streets and allow the victims to get their lives back.

    1. The problem of human sex trafficking is best understood by looking at the methods by which traffickers kidnap, or lure their victims into this life, how severe the problem has become, and how it impacts the victims.
    2. The problem of human sex trafficking can be solved by changing the laws currently in place for prosecuting the pimps, working with local law enforcement and advocacy groups that help rescue and restore victims, and raising funds to help agencies and victims.

    Of course, you would research the topic and develop your subpoints and sub-subpoints for each main point in this example.

    Claim-to-Proof Pattern

    A claim to proof approach basically provides the audience with a statement of reasons for the acceptance of a speech proposition. The policy is presented at the beginning of the speech, and in the preview the audience is told how many reasons they will be provided for the claim, but not what those reasons are. Why not? We will be using fact claims and value claims to support our overall policy, and some of the value claims can often be the source of a hotbed issue. If it is revealed before the speaker has had time to defend it, the audience can shut down and stop listening. So, do not reveal too much information until you get to that point in your speech. For example, I once had a student do s policy speech on handguns. We all hear stories on the news about someone who is killed by a handgun, but it is not everyday that it affects us directly, or that we know someone who is affected by it. My student had a cousin who was killed in a drive by shooting, and he was not even a member of a gang.

    Here is how the set up for this speech would look:

    Central Idea (Thesis) and Policy Claim: Handgun ownership in America continues to be a controversial subject, as some people feel it is their constitutional right to own handguns, however, I believe that private ownership of handguns should be illegal.

    Preview: I will provide you with three reasons why handgun ownership should be illegal.

    When presenting the reasons for accepting the claim, it is important to consider the use of primacy-recency. If the audience is against your claim, put your most important argument first. In this example, most of the class believed in gun ownership, so here is an example of how the first main point may be written to try and capture the audience quickly and hold their attention.

    1. The first reason why private ownership of handguns should be illegal is because handguns are used to kill people at an alarming rates during the commission of a crime.
    2. A second reason why private ownership of handguns should be illegal is because handguns can be easily found in homes, leading to the accidental and unnecessary death of children.

    Moving forward, the speaker would select one or two other reasons to bring into the speech and support them with evidence. The decision on how many main points to have will depend on how much time you have, and how much research you are able to find on the topic. If this is a pattern your instructor allows, speak with him or her about sample outlines.

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    14.7: Organizing Persuasive Messages is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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