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1924_The Art of Public Speaking

THE SATURDAY EVENING POST 151 (Continued from Page 148) On the other hand, refrain from rapid speaking. When words tumble over one another the meaning of sentences is lost in a jumble of articulation. Your purpose is to make yourself understood; remember all the time that ruling idea. Let your first words be conversational, quite as if you were talking to a friend. Indeed, the whole speech should be made in that tone and manner, unless genuine feeling compels you to speak more loudly and with greater physical force. But keep a stiff bit on that same emotion—yield to it when you feel you must, but never let it get the upper hand of you. The speech is supposed to be an intellectual performance, not a physical feat. You are a teacher, not an acrobat; an artist, not a dervish. Elbert Hubbard, when a boy of twelve, heard Wendell Phillips, and thus describes him and his manner of speaking: "One man arose and spoke. He lifted his hands, raised his voice, stamped his foot, and I thought he was a very great man. He was just introducing the Real Speaker. "Thep the Real Speaker walked slowly down to the front of the stage and stood very still. And everybody was also quiet. . . . Phillips just stood there and told us about" the lost arts; "he stood still with one hand behind him or resting on his hip or at his side, and the other hand motioned a little—that was all. We expected every minute that he would burst out and make a speech, but he did not—he just talked . . . and I understood it all. "I remember the presence and attitude of the man as though it were but yesterday. The calm courage, deliberation, beauty and strength of the speaker—his knowledge, his gentleness, his friendliness! I had heard many sermons, and some had terrified me. This time I had expected to be thrilled too. . . . And here it was all just quiet joy—I understood it all. I was pleased with myself; and being pleased with myself I was pleased with the speaker. He was the biggest and best man I had ever seen— the first real man." There is your model. No prancing about, no striding to and fro like a caged and angry lion, no stamping of foot or pounding with fist or shaking the same at high heaven, no tossing of arms as if in agony or rage, no shouting or bellowing nor yet tremolo tones and whispering; above all, no grimacing or facial contortions. Don'ts for Young Orators Merely be quiet and at ease, and talk like a human being—a friendly person conversing with friends, a kindly but intelligent teacher telling with clearness and force what you have to say. But though cordial, do not be familiar with your audience. Nothing is more offensive to sensible men and women than the "folksy-folk" manner and bearing of a speaker; they know that such things are assumed for a purpose and are no f genuine. From first to last, face your main audience. Never turn about and address the chairman of the meeting, for example. When you do, the great body of your hearers lose your point, and sometimes become restless and irritated. Keep control of those in front of you, which can be done only by looking them in the eye all the time and speaking to them directly. It is not necessary to shout in order to be heard. Perfect enunciation will carry your words farther than all the roaring and straining of vocal cords you can do, will carry them. Pronounce every word distinctly and separately; do not slur them or run them together. Do not let your voice fall to nothingness at the end of a sentence, since this usually results in the audience not hearing the last word and thus losing the meaning of the sentence. Words and sentences should be spoken neatly, not snapped off nor even clipped, mind you, but neatly and with precision. The whole purpose is to make yourself heard and understood. Speaking in an ordinary conversational tone, Wendell Phillips could reach thousands. So could Ingersoll. Yet both had gentle voices. Correct enunciation solves the problem of how to make oneself heard at long distances. Shakspere said the best thing about delivery that ever has been said by anybody, just as he said the best things on most subjects of permanent importance. Hamlet's instruction to the players he had employed, is, of course, familiar to us all; but it fits in so well here that I venture to reproduce it: "Speak the speech . . . trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it . . . I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand . . . but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and—as I may say—whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness. 0, it offends me to the soul, to hear a robustious . . . fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings. . . . "Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion be your tutor; suit the action to the word, the word to the action; with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature. . . . Overdone . . . though it make the unskillful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve." By being the master of your subject and of yourself, be the master of your audience. But that dominance cannot be yours if you are uncertain and ill-prepared. Dignity and power come from full knowledge, deep thought and sure faith, as well as from personality. No wonder that the common people heard Jesus gladly, "for He taught them as one having authority." Matters of Appearance Speak your speech; do not read it. To read it proves either that you have not mastered your subject or that you cannot remember your manuscript, or both. The English are far ahead of us in this respect; a sad statement, but true. Even presidential speeches when read are tiresome. Much better talk by radio; time and expense of hearers would be saved thereby. Also those who listen in would not be bored. Be careful of your appearance. That is the highest compliment you can pay to your audience. Let everything about you be neat and attractive. Dress well. See that collar and shirt are fresh, shoes polished, hair trimmed—in short, look to every detail of your grooming. The reason is that the first impression which the audience gets of the speaker should be an agreeable one. The idea is the same as that which forbids the use of uncouth or florid language or the making of digressions or the doing of anything which will interfere with getting the message to the mind and heart of the hearer. In like manner, the appearance of the speaker should be such as not to distract attention from what he says. Speakers of the first class always have taken much pains in this matter. I have made mention of the correct and pleasing attire of Ingersoll when delivering a public address. If possible that of Wendell Phillips was even more agreeable. Webster came near carrying the matter of dress and personal appearance to the extreme; fortunately he stopped just short of it. But William Pinckney, the foremost lawyer of his time, did not; he overdressed, which is well-nigh more offensive than negligence of attire. Roscoe Conkling wore clothes so striking as to be noted and cause remark— the very thing to be avoided. I have known more speakers of rare aptitude spoiled by the desire for applause and efforts to win it than by any other error. So avoid such things. Of course all of us like and want appreciation, and the applause of an audience is sweet; but it is intoxicating, too, and in that alluring fact is the danger. For example, a speaker who measures his success by handclapping and cheers, wants to arouse such demonstrations as soon as he can and as often as possible. So, early in his speech, he makes some extreme or "catchy" assertion which his heated partisans or personal followers promptly applaud. This stimulates him and, to get and give another thrill, he soon says something still more extravagant which brings louder acclaim. Thus, by action and reaction between speaker and audience, both get into a state of mind altogether unworthy and well-nigh unintelligent. Nobody is benefited, nobody instructed, nobody convinced. To be sure, partisans are pleased, but the speaker had them on his side already; the open-minded, however, are disgusted, perhaps offended, and it is they who should have been won over. Of course applause there must be, the more of it the better; but it must come naturally and spontaneously, as the result of well-made, convincing argument and appropriate, heartfelt appeal, and never in partisan response to exaggerations worked in for the purpose of getting such outbursts. Have no uneasiness that applause will not come; it will come if it is deserved, and no other kind is worth having. Clever marshaling of facts, clear and simple reasoning done with compactness and brevity, climaxes of logic in the form of genuine appeal—such phases of speech making never fail to produce hearty approval by an audience and even by hearers who at first were inclined to disagree with the speaker's point of view. Although a vague way of putting it, perhaps, counsel as to delivery can best be summed up by saying that the bearing, words and tones of the speaker should be those of a gentleman—that mingling of consideration for others, self-respect, kindliness and dignity. Though impossible of exact description there is nothing which an audience senses so quickly as this spiritual and intellectual quality of a speaker or the lack of it. And now the final rule, and of all rules the hardest to observe: Stop when you are through. Often the favorable effect on an audience of a really good speech is impaired by the speaker going on and on after he has made his case. Some speakers appear unable to make an end; as William M. Evarts said of his long sentences, "They lack terminal facilities." The Speeches That Endure So the audience is tired out, becomes bored, and the points already scored by the speaker are dulled by the masses of verbiage thereafter flung at his hearers. To keep a speech within reasonable length but one subject should be treated. The campaign requirement of dealing with every current question as well as with the achievements or deficiencies of an administration and laudation of candidates makes impossible adequate discussion of anything except by taking an intolerable length of time. All enduring speeches have been comparatively short. None of the sermons of Jesus could, by any possibility, have occupied three-quarters of an hour, and most of them must have been less than half as long. It is curious how perfectly His familiar talks fit the modern scientific theory of the university lecture. During the seventeenth century the university custom became general of limiting lectures to one hour. More than two hundred years ago professors in German universities, for purely practical reasons, shortened the lecture to forty-five minutes. Within the last thirty-five years it was demonstrated that this limit is a scientific one, for Dr. Leo Burgerstein, of Vienna, proved that, except under extraordinary circumstances, attention begins to lag after three-quarters of an hour—this even with the young, fresh, eager minds of students. With miscellaneous audiences the risk of speaking for a longer time is, of course, much greater. Remember also that it is hard for any but an uncommonly vigorous and retentive intellect to grasp more than a very few ideas at one time. So be as brief as you are simple, as plain as you are fair, and, content with a good job well done, stop when you are through. .Bed REG. U.S. PAT. OFF REG. U.S. PAT. HATS FORYOUNG MEN They etain the Pyle Zines konger OUTH has the call" in hat styles for Spring. Berg ty prestige as "hatters to young men" is exemplified by the new flat-brim felt illustrated. It's a Sta-Shape—it stays stylish— ask for it. $5, $6, $7 and $10 F. 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1924_The Art of Public Speaking
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