Persuasive Presentations: Want Something? Get It.

My last year at Yahoo! was mostly boss-less, and I needed several thousand dollars to implant some expensive social media tools for the Yahoo! Media properties. So I called upon Alan H. Monroe’s Motivated Sequence, a persuasion tactic passed on to me by my career coach at the time, Schweta Khare. I pieced together a presentation using the 5 steps, set up a meeting on the state of Yahoo! Social Media with a Yahoo! Media exec, made my case, and got budget right on the spot. First try.

Since then I’ve used Monroe’s Motivated Sequence for conference presentations, telling stories for charity donations, and I’m using it right this minute for a sales pitch. It’s easy, it makes *so much sense*, it turns your presentation into an epic story, and you end up with your audience crawling all over you for what you’ve got.

The Sequence

The jist of this is that you start off showing the audience where or how they’re in trouble (low conversions, no links, no visibility, etc. especially compared to competitors). You then let them know you can help (we fix these things, and we fix them well). You show them how fabulous they can be once you help (owning SERPS, making money, everybody knows their name), and then you tell them exactly what they can do to help you help them reach that point of fabulousity (just sign here!).

What’s really key to this is being a genuine storyteller, so hone those skills before you put this weapon to use, or else it could backfire.

Here’s the actual sequence, which is described a bit differently everywhere, but I like this one (explained in much more detail here):

  1. Attention: Get the attention of your audience. Use storytelling, humor, a shocking statistic, or a rhetorical question – anything that will get the audience to sit up and take notice.
  2. Need: 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 it needs to change.
  3. Satisfaction: Introduce your solution. How will you solve the problem that your audience is ready to address? This is the main part of your presentation. It will vary significantly, depending on your purpose.
  4. Visualization: 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.
  5. Action: Your final job is to leave your audience with specific things 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.

Here’s the slide template I use when putting these together in PPT. Mine is simple because I’ve been using it for several years, but I suggest adding a little more detail from the resources below for the first few times you use this template.

Monroe's Motivated Sequence #1 - Attention Monroe's Motivated Sequence #2 - Need

Monroe's Motivated Sequence #3 - Satisfaction Monroe's Motivated Sequence #4 - Visualization

Monroe's Motivated Sequence #5 - Action

If you’re feeling this, here’s a few more resources. As Richard Baxter always says, “Go and be awesome!”

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