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in the “remotest chambers of the soul.” Man is a machine acted upon by outside influences. Upon the contemplation of an idea the vocal apparatus arranges itself and, as even in the nervous system there is a slight element of time involved, the more steadfastly an idea is held before the mind, the more perfectly the vocal apparatus responds. The ideas are like the fingers of the artist upon the keyboard of the piano, and just as, if the fingers pause but a moment, there is but a limited response, but if they linger lovingly, the full beauty of the tone is brought out, so beauties of voice are dependent upon the time the idea is held before the mind. These are but a few of the interrelations. All the vocal characteristics will be found to have counterparts in the realm of gesture. Even in rendering a short passage, the student will be surprised at the number of interrelations found. It is interesting to take some selection and to note accurately how many of the principles set forth in this book are employed in its rendition. It is true that many of them will be applied instinctively, but by carefully noticing them, their effect may be increased to a certain extent, thus making the selection or speech more attractive, for it must always be remembered that a speech, like a sentence on the blackboard, must be “writ large,” and the ordinary characteristics of speech are better perceived by the audience if they are magnified.
STYLES OF SPEAKING
THERE are many ways of preparing a speech. It may be written out and read. It may be written and committed to memory. It may be spoken from carefully prepared notes. It may be spoken entirely extempore. It may be given with a combination of two or more, or even all of these methods. Reading a speech. — Of all the methods used in speech making, that of writing out a speech and then reading it is perhaps the worst. The speaker must imagine the exact circumstances under which the speech is to be delivered, which is not always easy to do, - and even after this has been done, some unforeseen circumstance may render any amount of painstaking worthless. The speaker cannot change a sentence or a paragraph according to the appreciation of the audience, — he must read it as it is written (or else for the moment adopt one of the other methods, which, as a matter of fact, is what most readers do). Again, a carefully prepared paragraph or argument may suddenly be rendered useless by some current event. In the delivery, also, the speaker is greatly hampered. If he hold his paper in his hands, he is deprived of one of the most useful sources of gesture. His eye also loses its control of the audience on account of the necessity of constantly referring to the manuscript. There is always the possibility of there being no reading stand upon which to lay the manuscript and the still more annoying cir
cumstance of there being no adequate light. The stand, again, may be too low and the speaker may be compelled to bend forward in his effort to see his paper, thus endangering the ability of the audience to hear, and making utterance more difficult. The plan has the advantage that the speaker rarely says anything to which he has not given careful thought and which he is not prepared to support more fully if called upon. Further, he may bend all his artistic energies toward making the speech a model of rhetorical style, and this, too, at his leisure. Speaking from memory. — This method is productive of the most artistic results, perhaps, of any; especially is this true of its use upon those occasions which are well established, when the speaker can accurately forecast the conditions under which he is to speak. As to the writing, it has all the advantages, of course, that are possessed by the first method, – that of writing and then reading, — and to these may be added all the graces of delivery that can be secured by careful attention to good technique in voice and action, for a speaker using this method can prepare his gestures and his tones of voice with the same care that he prepares his manuscript. Its disadvantages lie in the fact that very few people have memories which are absolutely sure, — in the experiences of nearly all speakers using this method there have occurred moments when they have entirely forgotten their words, – which, of course, is very embarrassing. It is a very laborious method. Very few people commit easily and a vast amount of valuable time is spent in this galley-slave work. This method is very useful as an exercise for those just beginning in the art of public speech, for it gives excellent training both in the writing of a speech and in its delivery, since both are subject to careful forethought. Nearly all great speakers have at one time or another used this style. Speaking from notes. – This method, in the hands of a master, approaches more nearly to the ideal. If this style is used, no endeavor should be made to conceal the notes. They should be written plainly, so that the eye may follow them and pick up the next topic or heading during the utterance of one of the closing sentences on the preceding topic or during the brief pause between paragraphs. The danger is that a speaker, under the excitment of the moment, may be unable to recall what he is to say under the heading or may totally fail to understand it. For this reason “catch words” should be avoided, the headings being written out in full. It is better to hold the notes in the hand if the speaker moves about much on the platform, lest at some time he finish a paragraph at some distance from the desk and be compelled to walk back to it before taking up the next point. The paper upon which the notes are written may often be used in gestures with good effect, being shaken to emphasize a point, or being lifted even high above the head in strong parts of the speech.
Extempore speaking. — Notwithstanding each of the methods of speaking just mentioned has its advantages, the extempore style, nearly all authorities agree, is the final flower of all oratorical study. Extempore speaking is, – as the Latin words ear tempore signify, - speaking “upon the spur of the moment.” The term was formerly applied to that speaking which was done without previous notification and without any preparation. This sort of speaking to-day, however, is styled “impromptu speaking,” and the term “extempore speaking” is limited to such speaking as implies careful preparation upon the material of the speech but no particular preparation upon its language. With this style well in hand, the speaker may at times reach heights never attainable by any of the other methods. This style requires more general preparation, but less particular preparation. He that uses it successfully must generally be a greater man than he that does not, but even a mediocre speech gains by being delivered in a good extempore style. The speaker who speaks extempore must know how to construct the skeleton of a good speech, he must know rhetoric, he must know grammar, and must know the last two so well that he may compose good English at the rate of one hundred and fifty or two hundred words a minute. With these attainments, – which are the ones that give the beginner trouble, – he is left free to adapt his work to the time, place, and occasion as no other speaker can possibly do. He can indulge in a hand to hand grapple with the audience, if necessary, picking up questions called from the audience and answering them on the spot. He is always at liberty to watch how his speech is affecting his audience and to qualify or emphasize his words as the occasion demands. If some sudden inspiration of fancy seizes him while speaking, he is free to insert it; and on the other hand, if some prepared thought is evidently going to prove disadvantageous, it may be omitted. Not so much attention need be paid to voice or action, for he is now sure to be thinking his speech as he goes along, and the consequent feeling and its expression follow closely with unerring accuracy. Beginners, however, find difficulty arising from various sources. Sometimes the excitement of appearing before an audience seems to paralyze the thought activities and the mind becomes a blank. This must be overcome simply by perseverance. Again the student may be hampered by his lack of dexterity in rhetoric. This may be overcome by a great amount of writing, first writing slowly, and then more and more rapidly, until finally the pen or pencil is too slow, when the student may speak his speech at first slowly, and then more and more rapidly, until the required speed is