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This book is divided into four sections:
Section I.-General Suggestions for Speakers,
It has been prepared chiefly for those who do not, understand the Art of Public Speaking.
The manner in which the book is prepared makes it possible for one to be his own teacher.
The emphasis is upon Section II, which provides Two Methods for learning, at home, how to meet the inevitable time when one shall be called upon unexpectedly to “Say a few words" or upon short notice to “Make a speech.”
However, Sections I, III, and IV contain practical assistance, in Advice and Material, for those who are already competent speakers.
Section IV is a Compilation, for ready reference, of Anecdotes and Quotations which are modern.
Young people, in Schools and Social Organizations; men, in Lodges, School Meetings, Labor Meetings, Patriotic Meetings; women, in Clubs and Social Organizations are all likely, at any time, to be asked to speak.
To attempt to use, at such a time, a prepared speech other than one's own, either a “Specimen Speech” or a speech of some orator given in books on Public Speaking, would be disastrous to the speaker. He must at all hazards be himself; otherwise he might find himself in the predicament of Dennis, the Irishman in Edward Everett Hale's story entitled, “My Double and How He Undid Me." In this story a clergyman found a man in appearance very much like unto himself; so much so that this man could easily pass for his double. The clergyman hired him and utilized him, in place of himself, for various fatiguing meetings of societies and committees, at which time when the call came Dennis was to make one of four speeches, as follows:
1. “Very well, thank you. And you?” This
for an answer to casual salutations. 2. “I am very glad you liked it." 3. “There has been so much said, and, on the
whole, so well said, that I will not occupy the time.”
4. “I agree, in general, with my friend on the
other side of the room.”
All this went very well until one day, at a reception to the Governor, Dennis was exasperated by the youths in the gallery, and then he made a real speech. As the story goes: “Dennis broke all restraint, and, in pure Irish, he delivered himself of an address to the gallery, inviting any person who wished to fight to come down and do so,-stating, that they were all dogs and cowards, and the sons of dogs and cowards,-that he would take any five of them single-handed. 'Sure, I have said all his Riverence and the Misthress bade me say,' cried he, in defiance; and, seizing the Governor's cane from his hand, brandished it, quarter-staff fashion, above his head.”
It is well, therefore, to bear in mind that the Speech Outlines, in Section II, are intended only for home use in learning the Art of Public Speaking. They are not intended and should not be used in really making a public speech; else, one may easily play the part of “Dennis."
This applies to the Outlines only, and not in any sense to the separate Anecdotes and Quotations included therein, which may, of course, be used in one's own way.
As to the method underlying all of our speechmaking, it should be said that there has been no
better statement given through the centuries upon the art of public speaking than the words of Cicero:
The support of my whole eloquence, and that power of speaking which Crassus just now extolled to the skies, are, as I observed before, three processes; the first, that of conciliating my hearers; the second, that of instructing them; and the third, that of moving them. The first of these divisions requires mildness of address; the second penetration; the third energy; for it is impossible but that he, who is to determine a cause in our favor, must either lean to our side from propensity of feeling, or be swayed by the arguments of our defense, or be forced by action upon his mind.”—From De Oratore, B. II,
In order to learn the elegancies of speech one could well afford to give his days and nights to the counsel of Cicero.
To be able to speak helpfully in public is worth all the practice and work it costs. It not only requires intelligent reading and study, but also sincerity, earnestness, and practical devotion to high ideals in both private and public life. In selecting the material for the section on Quotations, I have endeavored to bring together words relating to great ideals, in the hope that these will be of lasting benefit not only to the speaker but also to his hearers.
Acknowledgment for extracts, by permission, is made gratefully to: