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MORE SUGGESTIONS ABOUT ACTUAL SPEAKING 8 I
The start. — If you happen to have the left foot back, it is a little easier, and avoids twisting your body, to talk to the people on your left center and left. If you happen to start with the right foot back, it is a little easier and avoids twisting, to commence talking to the people on your right center and right. This rule will not apply when you get to making gestures. Most gestures should be made over the forward foot, especially those which are meant to emphasize something. Do not turn too far to the sides, – the corners of the room are about the right guides. If you turn too far, the people on the other side will not hear you.
Commence speaking very slowly, almost hesitatingly, making long pauses after every idea-group of words in your sentence. As you speak your first sentence, or your first two or three sentences if they are short, gradually turn to the right or left, so as to cover the entire audience, closing the sentence by bringing back your right or left foot, as the case may be, to the opposite position from the one with which you started.
The body of the speech. — After your first sentence, you may gradually increase your speed up to a hundred and twenty-five or a hundred and forty words, according to the size of the room. You may also decrease the frequency of your turns from right to left until they occur, perhaps, only between paragraphs. It is well always to change position between paragraphs, for just as the indentation on the printed page serves to indicate a division of thought, so does a change of position on the platform. If you make any gestures, be sure to get a wide enough base to support them. If you do not, your gesture will look as if it were going to pull you over. Step out with the foot to get a wide base. Don't startle an audience by “spring
ing” gestures upon them too suddenly. Show by your PUB. SPEAK. – 6
82 MORE SUGGESTIONS ABOUT ACTUAL SPEAKING
whole bodily excitement that a gesture is coming, and then they will be ready for it. Actually get yourself worked up to such a pitch that the gesture must come, and you cannot possibly keep it back.
The finish. —When you have finished, make a little nod. Do not make a bow. As you make the nod, bring your front foot back, then your other one, and then turn for your seat. When you sit down, do not turn clear around so that your back is squarely toward the audience. To avoid this, you may step a little to the opposite side of the platform from your seat on the first two backward steps, and then walk obliquely to your chair. Try all these things at home, or in practice, before you appear. Don't make the nod flippant.
A FEW DON'T's
Don't put your hands in your pockets. Don't put your hands behind you. Don't finger your rings. Don't move straight across the platform. Work in oblique lines, retiring on the close of your paragraphs, and coming out on the beginnings. Don't slump by letting your weight rest on one foot. Stand on both feet. Don't speak to the galleries. Keep downstairs. Don't step so far when you change position that you bring your back heel off the floor. Keep both heels on the floor unless you are making gestures, or are intensely interested. Don't talk to a few people in the front of your audience. Talk to those on the outskirts of the room.
NoT all the changes of pitch in our speech are so apparent as those set forth in Lesson XII. Within every sentence we make smaller changes, which, though not so plain as those already given, are just as important, and must be clearly understood by the student of public speaking if he would succeed.
The simplest change of pitch that we have is called the step of the voice. Of course, it may be either UP or Down. For instance, in the sentence, “I’ll tear her all to pieces,” we take steps something like the following : * Between I'll and tear, both in the first and second read. ing, we have an upward step, and between all and to, in both, we have a downward step. In the second reading, we have all downward steps from all to the end.
tear all pie-
* No typographical means, of course, is adequate to picture correctly for the eye, the path of melody in speech. While there are distinct steps in all speaking, they are not as numerous as our ear would lead us to believe. Many of our consonants have slight sounds, and changes of pitch occur during their progress, so that a scientifically correct record of our speech would show us that it moves more by waves than by steps. See Fig. 55, pp. 120–121, and the accompanying description. This fact should be carefully noted by the student, lest he fall into the habit of being “choppy” in his style. Let each thought unit constitute a single “convexity” of melody which may, of course, be made up of component waves with crests of varying height.
Thus, in all speech we are continually stepping up and down in our scales of pitch.
Below are appended a few additional examples.* Let the student read them aloud, following the steps as they
* It is understood, of course, by both teacher and pupil that the speech melody, or sequence of steps and slides of the voice, given in the text for these examples is merely one that has suggested itself to the author. Other arrangements of slides and steps, equally good or better, are entirely possible.
thoughts rise The that a- in me.
well fisherman's Oh, for the boy,
shouts sister play! That he with his at
well sailor lad, Oh, for the
sings boat That he in his on the bay!
stately ships go And the On
ha- under hill; To their ven the
oh, touch vanished But for the of the hand,
sound voice And the of a that is still!
O foot Crags, At the of thy Sea!
tender grace day But the that of a is dead
COme never back Will to me. — TENNYSON.