Action employed for purposes of show. This was one of the notable faults of the old-time elocutionist, who aimed usually at making beautiful, supergraceful gestures, that would attract attention rather than serve as a simple, unaffected aid to the expression of thought. A great many showy speakers by their "gesticulating" and "attitudinizing seem to be saying to their audience all the time, "I know how to make fine gestures; look at them!" and the result is that the audience does look at them and forgets what the speaker is trying to say.

The final test of good action. So in respect to what action does or does not look well, this may be taken as an infallible guide:

Any action that calls the attention from what the speaker is saying to what the speaker is doing is bad and detracts from the general effectiveness of the speech; but any action that calls attention not to the speaker but rather to his message is good and adds to the effectiveness of the speech. This principle makes goodlooking action essential to the most effective speaking, since crude gestures or ill-looking action of any kind is always more or less distracting and draws the attention of the audience away from the speaker's message. So while the first duty of the teacher is to stimulate the thought process, the psychic energy, of the pupil and bring him to a full realization of what he is to talk about, clearly the second step is to free the path over which that energy is to travel, by teaching him how to use action that looks well and aids him in making his message effective. And this is one of the most difficult tasks that confronts the teacher, for the most awkward, loose-jointed individual

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that ever stood before an audience may have as genuine an impulse to gesture as the skilled speaker and yet may be utterly unable to formulate that impulse into a gesture that would not bring a titter from the audience.

Should gesture be taught? The teaching of gesture is, of course, a much-mooted question among teachers of speaking. Some maintain that gesture cannot be taught; that the attempt to train a student in gesture only tends to make his action more awkward and mechanical; and that if he is left free to gesture in the manner that is most natural to him, his gestures will be likely to be good enough for all practical purposes. It has been aptly said that it would be as reasonable to put the most awkward country swain on the dancing floor and tell him. to be natural and just dance. To be sure no book rules can be laid down that will enable an inexperienced teacher to instruct pupils how to gesture effectively. But there is no question but that it can be done, for under the direction of competent teachers most ungainly pupils have been taught to use gesture that is pleasing and highly effective. The mistake is sometimes made of supposing that the teacher of English, or someone else who knows nothing of the technic, can, by reading a textbook upon the subject, give pupils the proper instruction. This, of course, usually brings most unfortunate results.

The value of training in action. But gesture can be taught and should be taught when it is necessary. Good gesture, as the actor very well knows, is an art and requires training just as does dancing or other similar arts. There is no part of the actor's training to which he gives more careful attention than to his action. Indeed, it is

his action, as much as anything else, that makes the actor. And while the public speaker ordinarily does not need to bring his action to so high a degree of perfection as does the actor, still it serves the same important function for him upon the platform that it does for the actor upon the stage, and the greater his skill in the use of good action, the greater his effectiveness in public address.

The problem, then, is to teach the least awkward or the most awkward pupils how to gesture properly and to employ platform deportment that is pleasing to the eye and that contributes to the success of the speech instead of calling forth comment from the listeners. This leads to a discussion of what should and should not be done while facing an audience. There are certain fundamentals of action which everyone who ever expects to make speeches in public should know. The speaker should know how to come before an audience, how to deport himself while on the platform, and how to take his leave when he has finished.

In this, as in our first consideration of action, it is necessary to go back to the thought processes. If the speaker has a message that he is eager to convey to his audience, his platform demeanor will tend to express his earnestness of purpose; while if he has nothing in particular that he desires to say to them, the fact will be likely to manifest itself. It is important, therefore, that the speaker have something to say that is really worth while and that his bodily means of expression be informed with the purpose to communicate that message effectively.

In these days people want to hear a speaker, not for the sake of lofty flights of oratory but rather for the

ideas that he has. But if he has no ideas, let him hold his tongue. He has no place upon the public-speaking platform. The matter, then, of having something to say and an earnest desire to say it is altogether important. It influences the entire attitude of the speaker toward his audience. But this alone will not necessarily make his action look well and contribute to the general effectiveness of the speech. If he is stiff, awkward, and ungainly and uses so-called "pump-handle" gestures, then it is necessary that he learn to speak with a reasonable degree of grace and freedom. This is the business of gesture training and requires careful attention.

No doubt the single suggestion that the speaker's manner be one of communication would, in many cases, entirely suffice, but in a great many others it would not. If the speaker has mannerisms of which he is not conscious or if he is naturally awkward or slovenly in his mode of address, then this suggestion would be quite inadequate.

The two essentials of training in action. In order to be thoroughly effective the speaker must cultivate a manner of deporting himself that, as we have already suggested, will not call the attention of the audience from what he is saying to what he is doing. This necessitates two important essentials:

First, that he understand the technic of action sufficiently to know what does and what does not look well to an audience.

Second, that he practice persistently the exercises that are necessary to free him of all awkwardness and mannerisms and make his personal address pleasing.

To set down specific directions for the conduct of the public speaker is a very difficult thing to do, since the things that go to make or mar a speech are without number and are often of such an apparently trifling nature as to be hardly worth mentioning. But how often is a good speech ruined by a mere trifle!

Audiences are often greatly annoyed, and sometimes to the extent that they lose interest in the speech altogether, because of some mannerism of which the speaker is apparently entirely unconscious. I have in mind a speaker who fumbles with his watch chain almost constantly as he speaks. With the exception of this hist delivery is almost perfect. But this apparently trifling mannerism becomes, after a time, so distracting that one can listen to him only with difficulty. Other speakers hold a tight grip on. the lapels of their coat, play with their finger rings, or adjust their spectacles so frequently that the attention of the audience is so much given to what they are doing that it is difficult to attend to what they are saying. A certain speaker has the habit always, when he begins to speak, of taking from his pocket a carefully folded handkerchief and shaking it out before his audience. This is perhaps not as objectionable a mannerism as some others, but it becomes rather ludicrous when his audiences know that they can expect it as an adjunct to every speech that he gives.

The chief reason why these things need special mention is because they are things of which the speaker is usually entirely unconscious. And since the aim of all action is to aid the speaker rather than to hinder him, too careful attention cannot be given to these things.

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