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their ability to paint a picture or make clear a point think of them collectively and not individually, and they can be marshalled easily in phrases and sentences where the speaker would stumble over them in attempting to bring them forward one by one.
Sound Education. A sound general education forms a splendid foundation for a good memory, and if you have not had the benefit of schooling in early life, you should take up a course of instructive reading at the earliest possible moment. Study history, the sciences, the arts. Read the lives of men — the pivotal men of all periods — and select one, two, or three master works and thoroughly saturate yourself with their style as well as their substance. The author has many times recommended the Bible and Shakespeare for this purpose, and subsequent years of experience have only strengthened his belief in the efficiency of these immortal works.
Reflection. This is a great help in memory training. Continuously hover over your subject, brood over it, keep it before the mental camera until a perfect negative is taken, from which a positive may be formed at any time. Accustom yourself to see your subject on every side; use your spiritual eye so that you may see not only through but all around your theme, and then you will be able to present it in an intelligent and convincing manner because of your being complete master of it. You will know it.
The old saying that “one nail drives out another" does not apply to the mind. If a fact or picture is placed
within the storehouse of the brain, it will be at the disposal of the possessor as long as “memory holds a seat within the human globe. A fact cannot be clearly grasped until it is thoroughly understood, a picture cannot be seen unless all its details are collectively grasped by the eye, and it is only when the fact is understood and the picture clearly seen that they can be placed within the chambers of the mind to be brought forth by memory at will. Some of the parts of the fact, or the details of the picture, may be lost, they may all be scattered, and then it is the duty of the memory to re-collect them and join them together so as to bring to mind the image of the original fact or picture.
A good memory is of the greatest importance to the orator; in fact, no one who does not possess this attribute can be an orator in the true sense of the word. Without it, the speaker must rely on written matter; but with it, he can take those flights of fancy which memory alone makes secure because of the assurance he possesses of his ability to hold his facts securely in mind and return to them at any time. He thus gains confidence.
The object of education is to train the mind, to discipline it, and bring it into subjection to the will. If the student accomplishes this purpose, he will then be able to concentrate his thought, to rivet it upon any subject, train the whole force of his intellect upon it, and overcome what would otherwise be insurmountable. It is for this reason that memory is so valuable to the orator. If he possesses a good memory, he may reasonably look for the
greatest success; but if it be poor, his failure is equally certain. If, therefore, your memory fails to answer your purpose, set to work to strengthen it. This can be done by careful and systematic training along the lines here set forth. Be patient, diligent, and persevering; make use of your own thoughts — that is, think for yourself and do not merely utter the thoughts of others — and it will not be long before you will receive the help of that matchless confidence which knowledge and memory alone are able to give.
Memory, like walking, breathing, thinking, and all other actions of the body and the spirit, must be subconscious in order to be right and serviceable to man, and any conscious thought concerning the means to be employed in order to remember will surely bring about a defeat of the purpose. Practice in remembering, as in all things, makes perfect.
How TO ACQUIRE CONFIDENCE, AND TO CONTROL AN
Preparedness. Instructions as to how a speaker can acquire confidence may be summed up in one word preparedness. He must be sure of his audience, his subject, and himself. The way to make sure of his audience is to study it, find out its prejudices (all audiences possess prejudices), and endeavor to lead it without letting it know that it is being led. There must be a master when speaker and audience come into contact, and it is the duty of the speaker to see that the mastery is not in
the hands of the audience. The speaker should be similar in his relationship with the audience as is the director with the orchestra, and he should always aim to keep the audience subject to his will. If it breaks away from him, there will be nothing but discord, and the speech, if delivered at all, will be a failure. If, however, the audience is hostile to the speaker and at first refuses to listen to him, and he is capable of resisting its onslaught, he may achieve as signal a triumph as did Henry Ward Beecher at Liverpool, England, October 16, 1863, when, after struggling for three hours against the turbulent mob of southern sympathizers gathered for the avowed purpose of preventing the delivery of his speech in behalf of the Union, he finally mastered the disturbers, presented his cause, and won a marvellous victory. To show the forces that Beecher had to contend with, and over which he triumphed, the opening of the speech he then delivered is here given, with the interruptions noted in brackets:
For more than twenty-five years I have been made perfectly familiar with popular assemblies in all parts of my country except the extreme South. There has not for the whole of that time been a single day of my life when it would have been safe for me to go South of Mason's and Dixon's line in my own country, and all for one reason: my solemn, earnest, persistent testimony against that which I consider to be the most atrocious thing under the sun — the system of American slavery in a great free republic. (Cheers.] I have passed through that early period when right of free speech was denied to me. Again and again I have attempted to address audiences that, for no other crime than that of
free speech, visited me with all manner of contumelious epithets; and now since I have been in England, although I have met with greater kindness and courtesy on the part of most than I deserved, yet, on the other hand, I perceive that the southern influence prevails to some extent in England. [Applause and uproar.] It is my old acquaintance; I understand it perfectly - [laughter] - and I have always held it to be an unfailing truth that where a man had a cause that would bear examination he was perfectly willing to have it spoken about. [Applause.] And when in Manchester I saw those huge placards: “Who is Henry Ward Beecher ?” [laughter, cries of “Quite right” and applause] and when in Liverpool I was told that there were those blood-red placards, purporting to say what Henry Ward Beecher had said, and calling upon Englishmen to suppress free speech - I tell you what I thought. I thought simply this: "I am glad of it.” [Laughter.] Why? Because if they had felt perfectly secure that you are the minions of the South and the slaves of slavery, they would have been perfectly still. [Applause and uproar.] And, therefore, when I saw so much nervous apprehension that if I were permitted to speak [hisses and applause] — when I found they were afraid to have me speak [hisses, laughter, and “No, no!”], when I found that they considered my speaking damaging to their cause [applause], when I found that they appealed from facts and reasoning to mob law [applause and uproar] I said, no man need tell me what the heart and secret counsel of these men are. They tremble and are afraid. [Applause, laughter, hisses, “No, no!” and a voice, “New York mob.”] Now, personally, it is a matter of very little consequence to me whether I speak here tonight or not. [Laughter and cheers.] But one thing is very certain, if you do permit me to speak here tonight you will hear very plain talking. [Applause and