Is persuasion a gift? Are some people born with the ability to speak well and "sell" their ideas successfully?
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It sure seems that way when you're wowed by a motivational speaker, or galvanized into action by a thought-provoking presentation. In your role, do you ever need to motivate, inspire, or persuade others? Whether you're a senior executive giving a presentation to the Board, a manager giving a morale-boosting speech to your team, or a production manager giving a presentation on safety standards, at some point, you'll probably have to move people to action. While there are certainly those who seem to inspire and deliver memorable speeches effortlessly, the rest of us can learn how to give effective presentations, too.
In this article, we'll look at the key factors you need to put together a clear and engaging call to action using a five-step process known as Monroe's Motivated Sequence. Alan H. Monroe, a Purdue University professor, used the psychology of persuasion to develop an outline for making speeches that will deliver results, and wrote about it in his book Monroe's Principles of Speech.
It's now known as Monroe's Motivated Sequence. This is a well-used and time-proven method to organize presentations for maximum impact. You can use it for a variety of situations to create and arrange the components of any message. The steps are explained below:. Get the attention of your audience. This step doesn't replace your introduction — it's part of your introduction. Lets use the example of a half-day seminar on safety in the workplace.
Your attention step might be as follows. Convince your audience there's a problem. This set of statements must help the audience realize that what's happening right now isn't good enough — and needs to change. Remember, you're not at the "I have a solution" stage yet. Here, you want to make the audience uncomfortable and restless, and ready to do the "something" that you recommend.
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Introduce your solution. How will you solve the problem that your audience is now ready to address? This is the main part of your presentation. It will vary significantly, depending on your purpose. In this section:. Describe what the situation will look like if the audience does nothing. The more realistic and detailed the vision, the better it will create the desire to do what you recommend. Your goal is to motivate the audience to agree with you and adopt similar behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs.
Help them see what the results could be if they act the way you want them to. Make sure your vision is believable and realistic. You can learn another communication skills, like this, by joining the Mind Tools Club.
Receive new career skills every week, plus get our latest offers and a free downloadable Personal Development Plan workbook. Your final job is to leave your audience with specific things that they can do to solve the problem. You want them to take action now.
Don't overwhelm them with too much information or too many expectations, and be sure to give them options to increase their sense of ownership of the solution. This can be as simple as inviting them to have some refreshments as you walk around and answer questions. For very complex problems, the action step might be getting together again to review plans. For some of us, persuasive arguments and motivational speaking come naturally. The rest of us may try to avoid speeches and presentations, fearing that our message won't be well received.
But Monroe's Motivated Sequence can help you to improve the quality of your message, and create a call of action that has real impact. It's a straightforward formula for success that's been used time and again. Try it for your next presentation, and you'll no doubt be impressed with the results! This site teaches you the skills you need for a happy and successful career; and this is just one of many tools and resources that you'll find here at Mind Tools.
Subscribe to our free newsletter , or join the Mind Tools Club and really supercharge your career! Expert Interviews Audio Forums Infographics. Quizzes Templates and Worksheets Videos. In the U. On August 6, Jordan Peterson announced that the book had sold over 2 million copies.
In March , Whitcoulls , one of New Zealand's leading book retailers, temporarily removed the book from their stores and online catalogue, apparently in reaction to the Christchurch mosque shootings. The withdrawal of Peterson's book was prompted by social media photos of Peterson posing with a fan wearing a T-shirt saying "I'm a proud Islamophobe.
Peterson's book was reinstated six days after it was removed. Melanie Reid , in her review of 12 Rules for Life for The Times , says the book is "aimed at teenagers, millennials and young parents". Summarising it, she states: "If you peel back the verbiage, the cerebral preening, you are left with a hardline self-help manual of self-reliance, good behaviour, self-betterment and individualism that probably reflects [Peterson's] childhood in rural Canada in the s".
Hari Kunzru of The Guardian said the book collates advice from Peterson's clinical practice with personal anecdotes, accounts of his academic work as a psychologist and "a lot of intellectual history of the ' great books ' variety", but the essays on the rules are explained in an overly-complicated style. Kunzru described Peterson as sincere, but found the book irritating because he considers Peterson to have failed to adhere to his own rules. Bill Jamieson, in a joint review with Steven Pinker 's Enlightenment Now for The Scotsman , praised the essays for being "richly illustrated and packed with excellent advice on how we can restore meaning and a sense of progression to our everyday lives", describing both books as "verbal waterboarding for supporters of big government".
David Brooks of The New York Times argued that "The Peterson way is a harsh way, but it is an idealistic way — and for millions of young men, it turns out to be the perfect antidote to the cocktail of coddling and accusation in which they are raised". Joe Humphreys of The Irish Times argued that people shouldn't be stopped "from reading what is a veritable powerhouse of a book: wise, provocative, humorous and also maddeningly contradictory as all deep and truthful studies of human nature must be ".
Glenn Ellmers in Claremont Review of Books noted that Peterson "does not shrink from telling readers that life means pain and suffering. His deft exposition, however, makes clear that duty is often liberating and responsibility can be a gift".
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Dorothy Cummings McLean, writing for the online magazine The Catholic World Report , considered it as "the most thought-provoking self-help book I have read in years", the rules for life reminding her of those by Bernard Lonergan , and content "serving as a bridge between Christians and non-Christians interested in the truths of human life and in resisting the lies of ideological totalitarianism ".
It is "valuable for the beleaguered young men in our society, who need a mentor to tell them to stand up straight and act like heroes". DeVille took a very different view, describing the 12 Rules for Life as "unbearably banal, superficial, and insidious", claiming that "the real danger in this book is its apologia for social Darwinism and bourgeois individualism covered over with a theological patina" and that "in a just world, this book would never have been published".
Ron Dart , in a review for The Ormsby Review , considered the book "an attempt to articulate a more meaningful order for freedom as an antidote to the erratic Julian Baggini , in a review of the book for the Financial Times , writes: "In headline form, most of his rules are simply timeless good sense. The problem is that when Peterson fleshes them out, they carry more flab than meat". Peter Hitchens for The Spectator stated that he did not like the "conversational and accessible" writing style and amount of "recapitulation", but noted it had "moving moments", "good advice" with a message "aimed at people who have grown up in the post-Christian West" with special appeal to young men.
Park MacDougald of New York shared a similar view, stating that on paper Peterson lacks "coherence, emotional depth" compared to lectures, but "still, he produces nuggets of real insight". Pankaj Mishra 's review in The New York Review of Books described 12 Rules as a repackaged collection of pieties and late-nineteenth century Jungian mysticism which has been discredited by the modern field of psychology.
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Mishra compared the book, and Peterson's ideas, to historical authors who influenced Peterson, but whose serious moral failings, including racism and fascism, Peterson fails to address. He criticizes Peterson's book for failing to recognize how traditionalism and myth can be used in support of demagoguery and anti-democratic ideas, and claims that Peterson's work is a symptom of the problems it attempts to cure.
Peterson tweeted "If you were in my room at the moment, I'd slap you happily". In a review for Psychology Today , philosopher Paul Thagard described the work as flimsy and says Peterson's views fail to stand up to philosophical scrutiny. According to Thagard, "If you go for Christian mythology, narrow-minded individualism, obscure metaphysics, and existentialist angst, then Jordan Peterson is the philosopher for you.
But if you prefer evidence and reason, look elsewhere. Guy Stevenson, writing for Los Angeles Review of Books , said that Peterson's work was widely ignored by serious academics, in part because of the absurdity of some of his claims regarding "cultural Marxists", but that his level of celebrity had not been seen since Marshall McLuhan in the s. According to Stevenson, Peterson's practical advice and Jungian mysticism both reflect a new counterculture movement which is similar to the s. Stevenson described 12 Rules as aggressive and over-eager to blame problems on "bogeymen", and recommends as an alternative the work of John Gray , who has addressed some of the same issues with more thoughtfulness.
Kelefa Sanneh of The New Yorker noted that:.