Persuasive Patterns

2.3.3

Problem-Solution is a pattern that presents a problem and then offer a solution.

Problem-Cause-Solution is a pattern that presents a problem, the cause of a problem, and a potential solution.

Reasons Why is a pattern that states a problem and the reasons why it is a problem.

Comparative Advantage is a pattern that describes what two ideas/items have in common and why one is more favorable.

Criteria Satisfaction is a pattern that describes what must be done to satisfy established criteria.

Cause-Effect is a pattern that identifies the cause of a problem and then effects of the problem.

Effect-Cause is a pattern that presents the effect of a problem and then the cause of the problem.

Motivated Sequence is a step-by-step process for calling an audience to action.

          Any time you are working to solve an issue or problem and provide a solution to your audience, you must make sure you have addressed three issues . . . You must make sure you have provided a need, a plan (solution), and that your plan or solution is practical. Also, make sure to address how your plan will work. If the audience is not able to actually “do” the plan/solution, then it may not have long-term effective results.

 

          Persuasive speeches can be broken into several patterns:

  • Problem – Solution: points present a problem and then offer a solution

    • This pattern usually contains two main points.

    • The first point addresses the problem or issue and the depth, magnitude or severity of the problem.

    • The second addresses your solution to the problem/issue, how it will work, and the practicality of your solution.

    • Example: The lack of college voter registration (problem) – have students register to vote when they register for classes (solution).

    • Example: Lower number of college graduates are affecting the job market by lacking in skills for upper management positions (problem) – have smaller class sizes and a professor/student mentor program (solution).

    • *You will need to show your solution will reduce the problem

 

  • Problem – Cause – Solution: points present a problem, the cause of the problem, and what can be done to address/solve the problem

    • This pattern usually contains three main points.

    • The first point addresses the problem or issue and its magnitude or severity.

    • The second point addresses the cause of the problem or issue.

    • You must truly look at the causes of the actual problem not the “band-aids” (or cover-ups), which may have been layered on to stop the cause. Band-aids are temporary solutions to causes. In-depth research is very important at this level or stage. If we address the deep-seated cause of an issue or problem, we may be able to offer stronger, more solid, and more achievable solutions.

    • The third point addresses your solution to the problem/issue, how it will work, and the practicality of the solution.

    • Example: Low college voter registration (problem) – many college students are from other areas of the country (cause) – provide voter registration option at time of registering for classes (solution).

    • Example: Fewer students staying in college after the first year (problem) – lack of money or initiatives (causes) – have smaller class and begin a professor/student mentor program (solution)

    • *You will need to show how your solution will reduce the problem

 

  • Reasons Why: points state a problem then the reasons why it is a problem

    • Very useful for a speech addressing a claim of value or fact.

    • For this pattern, state the problem first.

    • Then provide reasons why you believe it is a problem.

    • You can even ask the audience to see your viewpoint.

    • Reinforce that the issue/problem does exist.

    • There may or may not be a call to action. This pattern could also be useful in a claim of fact or value.

    • Example: I believe students there are inherent problems in our voter registration system for college students. And here are my reasons why.

    • Example: I believe students leave school before graduation for a variety of reasons, primarily financial and lack of connection to the school and their faculty.

 

  • Comparative Advantage: points describe what two ideas/items have in common or opposites and why the one idea/item you favor is better

    • This pattern is like comparison shopping.

    • First, provide a need to be addressed. What need does you audience have?

    • Second, compare/contrast two or more solutions to the problem.

    • Third, ask your audience to choose the “side/product/idea” you believe is best.

    • This is a great pattern for arguing both sides of an issue.

    • Point of interest: There are several variations of comparative advantage dependent on your goal and desired outcome. They can be arranged by pros or cons as your main points OR you can use topic area with pros and cons being your subpoint areas. Each approach will call your audience to act on your supported solution (pro or con).

    • Remember: the primacy/recency theory when applying this pattern. Your audience is more likely to remember and act on the last thing they hear.

    • Example: Which course should you take in your computer science major? Advanced public speaking or quantum physics? I will provide positive arguments for taking advanced public speaking as opposed to quantum physics and then address the opposing (cons) arguments of the question and then tell you why I believe it is best to take an advanced public speaking course.

    • Example: Which computer should you buy as you begin your college career? A PC or a Mac? I will provide you three areas of arguments to consider when purchasing a computer by listing the pros/cons of each argument then finish by telling you why I think a PC may be better for your needs.

 

 

  • Criteria Satisfaction: points describe what must be done to satisfy established criteria (needs)

    • This pattern works well for speeches created to respond to the specific needs of the audience.

    • This pattern requires a great deal of prior audience analysis as it speaks directly to the audience.

    • It can be used successfully in sales presentations.

    • First, acknowledge the problem or criteria established by the customer or client and the needs to be addressed.

    • Second, provide your solution(s) to the need, problem or criteria required by the client and how they will work for that client/customer/person.

    • You may or may not ask them for action depending on the approach you take and your desired outcome as the time. Ultimately, you may call them to act.

    • Example: Your professor has a study they are conducting, they have asked you for help—your first response should be to find out what criteria they are looking for in asking you for help. Then you look at those needs and decide if you fit the criteria needed and will be involved in the study.

    • Example: You are in dental equipment sales and are visiting various dental offices to tell them of your new products. Your first task is to find out what are the criteria/needs the dentist has for equipment in their office. Once criteria are established you may be able to offer a piece of equipment that fits their needs (criteria) perfectly. Eventually call them to action by purchasing your equipment.

 

  • Cause – Effect: points present the cause of a problem and then the effects of the problem

    • Address the cause of something first. Look for the deep causes of an issue to truly address it.

    • Address the effect of the cause second. Look at all the effects being caused.

    • Don’t just look at the “band-aid” covering up the true issue.

    • There may or may not be a dedicated call to action with this pattern – it may also be very useful for claims of fact or value.

    • Be aware it may be more difficult to remain impartial when used in an informative speech.

    • Example: What are the causes of low voter turnout for college students? – and what effects does this have on the student and community at large?

    • Example: What are the causes of lower student retention in college? – and what effects can these low rates have on the job market?

 

  • Effect – Cause: present the effect of a problem and then the cause of the problem

    • The reverse of the cause-effect pattern.

    • Address the effect of something first. Look at all the effects being caused.

    • Address the cause of something second. Look for the deep causes of an issue to truly address it.

    • Don’t just look at the “band-aid” covering up the true issue.

    • There may or may not be a dedicated call to action with this pattern – it may also be useful for claims of fact and value.

    • This pattern may make it difficult to remain impartial in an informative speech.

    • Example: What are the effects of low student retention in college? – What are the perceived causes of these lower rates?

    • Example: What are the effects of lower student voter numbers? – What is causing students not to vote?

 

  • Motivated Sequence: A successful step by step process for calling an audience to action. It consists of five areas or steps: attention, need, satisfaction, satisfaction/visualization, and action.

    • This pattern is commonly called Monroe’s Motivated Sequence. It was developed in the mid 1930s by Alan H. Monroe and explained in his book Principles of Speech. The motivated sequence follows the human thinking process to understand the psychology of why people act. What moves them to action?

    • It is the only pattern for persuasive speeches with a direct call to action.

    • The motivated sequence is widely used in advertising campaigns for its precise direction in calling audiences to act.

    • It is important to have each of these steps in your organizational pattern. If an area is not included, you may not get the action you are seeking from your audience. The steps are:

      • Attention: Grab the attention of your audience (think of this as your introduction).

      • Need: What is the need that has to be met?

      • Satisfaction: How will you satisfy the need? Provide a solution to the need and how it will be done.

      • Visualization: Show the benefits of your solution to the audience. Show how they will be better for doing your solution.

      • Action: This a direct call for your audience to act by implementing your solution.

    • Note: When arranging your points with the motivated sequence you might blend parts into a larger unit, BUT you must not leave out any of directives of each part. 

      1. Attention (Introduction)

      2. Need (Body)

      3. Satisfaction (Body)

      4. Visualization (Body​)

      5. Call to Action (Conclusion)

    • Example: Sad pitiful looking Shih Tzu dog in a shelter (Attention); the dog needs a new home (Need); you see the little dog and decide he’s perfect for your life (Satisfaction); you see the joy on your family members’ faces when they see the little dog, and the little dog’s tail is wagging incessantly and the dog keeps climbing into your lap (Visualization); you sign the paperwork to have the little pup become a member of your family. (Action).

    • Example: Show images of cracking failing important bridge in your community (Attention); the bridge is in severe disrepair and must be fixed (Need); you go to your local government requesting financial support to fix the bridge (Satisfaction); if these repairs are done we will have more businesses open along the route, more visitors will come to our community, and travel will be safe for our citizens (Visualization); please provide funding for the bridge (Action).

 

Main Point organization following the Problem-Solution pattern for a persuasive speech.

Review Questions

1) When using Monroe's Motivated Sequence, when should you present the need to the topic you are persuading people about?

2) Which pattern is used in advertising campaigns?

3) The pros and cons pattern is called what?

4) Why does Criteria Satisfaction pattern require audience analysis before implementation?

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