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2. The discussion constitutes the real development of the speech. It is here that the speaker must exercise good judgment in determining upon the issues involved. Not infrequently do we find parts of the material that can properly stand only in the main body of the speech scattered throughout the introduction and conclusion. The discussion is the development proper. It should contain all of the actual development of the speech and nothing more.
3. The conclusion consists merely of a rounding-out process. It is a very common thing to find in the speech. plans of beginners about half of the real development of the speech standing under the head of the conclusion. The true function of the conclusion is not to develop anything, but merely to conclude what has already been developed. Sometimes it makes a summary of the points, as is the common form of conclusion in arguments; again, it may be the substance of the whole speech embodied in an epigrammatic statement that puts the whole problem in a nutshell; or it may be an impressive application of the theme by means of an analogy in the form of a telling anecdote or vivid word picture. Whatever the form employed, it is well always to think of the conclusion as merely a rounding out of what has already been developed in the speech plan.
By a careful observation of the five essentials of outlinemaking given above, the speaker should be able to prepare a well-ordered plan for a speech upon any topic.
I have found it advisable in my own classes to require a definite statement of the object of the speech and of the central theme at the beginning of every speech outline. This insures a definiteness of aim and a coherence in
the development that one is not likely to find if these two things are not kept prominent during the entire process of constructing the speech plan.
It is well also, in the first stages of outline-making, for the student to place a concise statement after each of the main divisions — introduction, discussion, and conclusion of what he proposes to accomplish under each of these heads. This helps in becoming practiced in keeping within the exact limits, so that there is no danger of overstepping these important divisions.
Practical exercises follow that will be found of much value for gaining skill in outline-making.
When a reasonable degree of mastery has been gained in the organization of speech material, the problems of how to deliver that material effectively should be taken up and put into immediate practice. This is the purpose of the remaining chapters of this book. Beginning with Chapter II, each important step of speech delivery has been taken up and treated fully. And only a single suggestion seems necessary to bridge the gap between the process of learning how the speech is constructed and how it should be delivered; that is, how to get in mind for purposes of delivery the material that has been organized into proper speech form. This is simple enough, as it is chiefly a matter of thinking intently upon the speech plan until it has been thoroughly assimilated. By the time one has gone through all the preliminary steps of planning and organizing the material for a speech, the points of the final plan are likely to be so well in mind that one does not have to commit them. Or if they are not entirely fixed, five minutes of careful thought will accomplish this.
Further preparation will consist chiefly of three things: First, silently thinking the speech through. Many people find it of very great value to sit back in an easy-chair, close their eyes, and go through the entire speech mentally. Very valuable help may be gained from this silent practice by (1) memorizing the outline, that is, skipping rapidly from point to point in the outline until it can be followed through to the end with facility; (2) mentally filling out the outline as though actually speaking.
Second, oral practice- by speaking before someone who will give helpful criticism, and by speaking to an imaginary audience. In both mental and oral practice of this kind two things should be carefully guarded against. The speaker should begin and go straight through his speech to the end, no matter how poorly it is done. Then do the same thing again, trying to improve the faults of the first practice. It is decidedly objectionable to take one or two points and go back over them again and again, without really making any definite progress in the practice of the speech. Care should be taken, also, not to express one's self in the same language every time. This results in a certain stereotyped form that makes the speech practically a declamation and renders it decidedly stale.
Third, writing out parts of the speech. Great care must be taken not to write out large portions of the speech and commit them. The chief advantage of writing is the reflex action that it seems to have in systematizing thought and improving diction. The very best thing to do with the writing that one does in the preparation of a speech is to throw it in the waste basket.
With a definite knowledge of how to organize the material for a speech and how to get that material in hand for public utterance, the problem remains of learning the art of how to deliver it well. This is without question the most difficult undertaking of the public speaker, and will be the object of our further study in this text.
PRACTICAL EXERCISES IN OUTLINE-MAKING
EXERCISE I. Make a study of the speech of Abraham Lincoln 1 delivered in Independence Hall, Philadelphia, on February 22, 1861. Draw a careful outline of this speech, noting the purpose of the speaker in the introduction, in the development of the theme, and in the conclusion. Do you think it a well-constructed speech? Are the object and theme clear, and are they carried out consistently? What is your estimate of the speech as a whole? The speech follows:
THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
I am filled with deep emotion at finding myself standing in this place, where are collected the wisdom, the patriotism, the devotion to principle from which sprang the institutions under which we live. You have kindly suggested to me that in my hands is the task of restoring peace to our distracted country. I can say in return, sirs, that all the political sentiments I entertain have been drawn, so far as I have been able to draw them, from the sentiments which originated in and were given to the world from this hall. I have never had a feeling, politically, that did not spring
1 Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln: a History, Vol. III, p. 299.
from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence. I have often pondered over the dangers which were incurred by the men who assembled here and framed and adopted that Declaration. I have pondered over the toils that were endured by the officers and soldiers of the army who achieved that independence. I have often inquired of myself what great principle or idea it was that kept this Confederacy so long together. It was not the mere matter of separation of the colonies from the mother-land, but that sentiment in the Declaration of Independence which gave liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but hope to all the world, for all future time. It was that which gave promise that in due time the weight would be lifted from the shoulders of all men and that all should have an equal chance. This is the sentiment embodied in the Declaration of Independence. Now, my friends, can this country be saved on that basis? If it can, I will consider myself one of the happiest men in the world if I can help to save it. If it cannot be saved on that principle, it will be truly awful. But if this country cannot be saved without giving up that principle, I was about to say I would rather be assassinated on the spot than surrender it. Now, in my view of the present aspect of affairs there is no need of bloodshed and war. There is no necessity for it. I am not in favor of such a course; and I may say in advance that there will be no bloodshed unless it be forced upon the government. The government will not use force unless force is used against it.
My friends, this is wholly an unprepared speech. I did not expect to be called upon to say a word when I came here. I supposed it was merely to do something toward raising a flag-I may, therefore, have said something indiscreet. But I have said nothing but what I am willing to live by, and, if it be the pleasure of Almighty God, die by.