of the proposition that he is advocating, just as he did when speaking to his partner as an individual. Perhaps in this last instance he will employ more vocal power and more gestures to emphasize his arguments, but fundamentally his delivery will be the same as when he sat opposite his partner at the table. That is, it will be essentially conversational in that there is no attempt at display of any kind, but a sincere straight-from-the-shoulder argument the sole aim of which is to convince his audience that he is right.

This is probably the most valuable exercise that can be used for gaining the essential elements of conversational speaking, and should be given an earnest trial by everyone who has trouble with any of the hollow and unnatural forms of delivery that are so common at the present time.

EXERCISE II. Another valuable exercise for gaining the conversational mode is that of using speeches that are of very conversational nature. Let the student work with his partner as in the first exercise. Let him make a careful study of Elbert Hubbard's "A Message to Garcia” until he has thoroughly assimilated the thought and can read it with reasonably good expression. Then he should sit down with his classmate and read the speech to him in a conversational tone, having foremost in his mind all the time an earnest desire to convey the thought to him in a very direct manner. Then let him close the book and tell in his own words a simple narrative of what he has just read. His tone should be that of one speaking in a very informal way to a friend. When he can read the speech and tell the story of it in his own words in a perfectly conversational manner, he should then stand upon the platform and narrate the incidents of the story with all the elements of conversation that he used while sitting at his classmate's side. But never for a moment should he forget that he is there for the express purpose of communicating thought and not for the purpose of making fine-sounding tones. This is a very natural way of establishing the conversational mode of speaking and if carried out conscientiously will bring sure and certain results. The one who acts as auditor should give as intelligent and helpful criticism as possible. He should require the speaker to convey the thought to him in the tone of natural conversation. If at any time during the speaker's narrative he fails to do this, he should be stopped and asked to look directly at his classmate and to express the thought in the direct, animated fashion that he would be likely to use in speaking of some college activity in which he was greatly interested. This he will not be likely to do unless the idea that he is trying to express is uppermost in his mind all the time he is speaking.

It is important, therefore, that he have the same keen interest in the narrative that he is trying to give as he would have in a proposition that he was arguing, and the same desire to impress the story upon the listener as he would to convince in the argument. Otherwise his delivery will not be likely to be more than half conversational in its elements.

The following extract from the pen of Elbert Hubbard is well suited to the purpose of gaining the conversational mode according to the plan suggested :


When war broke out between Spain and the United States it was very necessary to communicate quickly with the leader of the Insurgents. Garcia was somewhere in the mountain fastnesses of Cuba no one knew where. No mail or telegraph message could reach him. The President must secure his coöperation, and quickly.

What to do!

Someone said to the President, " There's a fellow by the name of Rowan will find Garcia for you if anybody can.” Rowan was sent for and given a letter to be delivered to Garcia. How " the fellow by the name of Rowan" took the letter, sealed it up in an oilskin pouch, strapped it over his heart, in four days landed by night off the coast of Cuba from an open boat, disappeared into the jungle, and in three weeks came out on the other side of the island, having traversed a hostile country on foot, and delivered his letter to Garcia, are things I have no special desire now to tell in detail.

The point I wish to make is this : McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia ; Rowan took the letter and did not ask, " Where is he at?”By the Eternal ! there is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and his statue placed in every college of the land. It is not book-learning young men need, nor instruction about this and that, but a stiffening of the vertebræ which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies, do the thing —"Carry a message to Garcia !”




Action is that part of delivery which appeals to the eyes of the audience. Nothing is more true of public address than the old proverb "Action speaks louder than words.” The speaker may use his voice correctly and may say the things that are entirely in keeping with the occasion, yet his action may be so out of harmony with the other elements of his delivery that his speech becomes a failure. A speaker's message may seem to have the ring of truth and sincerity and yet his platform conduct so belie his words that his audience at once knows him to be a vain, egotistical man, one who preaches what he does not practice. Or again his manner may be so crude or so distracting that whatever good qualities the speech may possess are lost sight of because of the peculiar things that he does upon the platform.

No safer guide can be followed for all platform work than the simple rule :

Whatever action tends to aid the voice of the speaker in the expression of his thought and feeling is good ; and whatever action tends to hinder him in such expression is bad, and should be painstakingly avoided.

The voice, important as it is in all expression, is hardly more important than the other physical means of expression, for the body is speaking constantly in every


movement as the speaker stands before his audience. A single change of the facial muscles or a sweep of the hand will often convey a meaning deeper and more subtle than could be expressed by words. Action cannot be passed by as unimportant or trivial. It is before the eyes of the audience constantly, serving either as a valuable aid or as a decided hindrance to the speaker in presenting his message. And he who can so use his bodily expression that it becomes a valuable aid to his voice is well on his way toward skill in the speaker's art.

The true foundation of action. Action, as most simply defined, is muscular response to mental or emotional stimuli. The student of psychology is familiar with the influence of the mind over the body, with the marked effect that each mental or emotional stimulus has upon the muscular organisms. The inexperienced speaker is often astonished at the unexpected exhilaration that he feels as he faces an audience. He finds that the mind is singularly alert and acts much more freely than he had expected; that the blood flows faster ; that he has a sense of unusual physical vigor; and that there is an insistent call from the brain for muscular response to the lively activities of the mind. This is the true foundation for all bodily expression. Any voluntary action that is not a direct response to such prompting is necessarily false and purely mechanical.

To be sure, there is a great deal of action that is not the result of voluntary prompting. Various emotions such as timidity, fear, impatience, or anger express themselves through the muscles involuntarily in a way no less mistakable to an audience than voluntary action, But

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