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Patterns of Organization for Persuasive Speeches

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  • 0:03 Persuasive Speeches
  • 1:09 Outlines Organize…
  • 1:55 Problem/Solution Order
  • 3:19 Monroe's Motivated…
  • 6:52 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kat Kadian-Baumeyer

Kat has a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and Management and teaches Business courses.

Organizing information for a persuasive speech will help to convince your audience of your point and keeps information flowing in a logical order. This can be done using a problem/solution order or Monroe's motivated sequence pattern.

Persuasive Speeches

Let's face it; television courtroom dramas are just interesting! We sit glued to the TV set hanging on every word of the prosecutor and defense attorney. All the while thinking, 'Just how do they get people to jump to their side?'

They have their ways. They use persuasion. In a speech, persuasion is used to convince the audience to take a side, think in a certain way or believe in a particular viewpoint. Presenting a problem and then a solution is one way to be persuasive in a speech. Using motivators to gain a buy-in is another way.

If you observe a case unfold in a courtroom, you will also see why it is important to organize the information. An organized speech tells the audience what is happening and provides the audience with the main points and supporting points. In other words, it sets out a purpose for the speech.

For a persuasive speech, it all boils down to swaying your audience to take your side, which can be helped by making sure your speech is well organized.

Outlines Organize Persuasive Speeches

Start with an outline. An outline is a general plan for your writing. Use an introduction that familiarizes the audience of what is to come. The main idea, or central purpose, should be clearly stated in this section.

Next, focus on the body, or the center of the speech. This should contain the main points of the speech. These are the smaller points that spin from the main point. Don't forget to use supporting materials, like statistics and testimony that back up your claims.

Your conclusion ends your speech. But it must be compelling, convincing and persuade your audience to take your side. Now that you have a basic format, let's look at some methods used to organize a persuasive speech.

Problem/Solution Order

One way in which to organize a speech is by using the problem/solution order. Start with a problem statement and then present the ideal solution to the audience. Sounds pretty easy, huh? Well, for the most part, it is. The challenge comes in convincing the audience that there really is a problem.

Let's say your mission is to convince the officials in your local community to build a dog park. You might start your speech by stating the problem with walking dogs on the streets.

Maybe you can state that one of the problems with walking dogs on leashes is that many owners do not clean up after their pets. This causes a mess for pedestrians and a foul-smelling neighborhood. It also taints the soil, causing vegetables grown in local gardens to be inedible. Having no produce may even lead to localized famine. Yes, extreme, but don't forget, we are building a problem here. We need to convince the audience and the city officials a dog park is necessary.

The solution comes next. You might tell the audience that a centrally located dog park makes sense. Pet owners will use the dog park as a place to walk their canines. The mess will be contained to an area of town that does not affect local vegetable patches and the streets will be free of - well, you know.

Monroe's Motivated Sequence Method

Back in the 30s, Alan H. Monroe, a professor of communication at Purdue University, established a pattern for persuasion in speeches that is designed to move an audience to take action. Monroe's motivated sequence is an effective tool used to send persuasive messages to an audience through a 5-step process.

Steps include:

  • Attention
  • Need
  • Satisfaction
  • Visualization
  • Action

Attention is just like an introduction to the problem or purpose of the speech. The problem or purpose should be clearly and directly related to the audience's beliefs and values. In other words, if the speaker has a personal reason for a dog park, like 'We need a dog park because I stepped in dog mess and ruined my expensive shoes!', the audience may not be so willing to buy into the idea.

Conversely, the speaker can say, 'Our streets are dangerous! There is disease growing right in our own back yards! Let's rally to have this dog park built! Save our fair city while there is still time!'

The audience will relate more to the benefits of the dog park when tailored to their needs rather than the needs of the speaker. Speaking of needs, the speaker should develop this section to create a sense of necessity or desire in their minds. Now, the speaker will say, 'I have a solution that will not only re-beautify our streets, it will benefit every person in our city and it's revolutionary!'

Can you see how the speaker created a stir? He first stated that the city is downright hazardous to physical health and well-being, and then he created a need for the audience to listen by giving them a little tease about his plan. As you may guess, the audience will be on the edge of their seats!

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