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We thus see that there must be a mental and emotional basis for public speaking. But this alone is not enough. Thought must be communicated through a physical medium. This medium is the voice and the body. It is therefore necessary to give some attention to the technique of expression. This is set forth in succeeding chapters. It should be constantly borne in mind, however, that technique - the art side of our subject — is a means, not an end; and further, this end — the conveyance and impress of thought must be constantly in mind, else there can be no true mastery of the means.


The best public speaking is enlarged and heightened conversation. The basis of effective speaking is clear and orderly thought, attained by a thorough analysis and assimilation of the discourse. Such thought-preparation must always precede, and thinking must always accompany, all efforts in the art of delivery.



The Importance and the Possibility of Voice Culture. There are two means of expression,- by the voice and by the body. For our purposes, the voice demands the first and foremost attention. A clear, resonant, musical voice is surely an enviable possession. "A good voice has a charm in speech, as in song; oftentimes of itself enchains attention." In an article in Scribner's Magazine for June, 1901, Senator Hoar says: "When every other faculty of the orator is acquired, it sometimes almost seems as if voice were nine-tenths, and everything else but one-tenth, of the consummate orator. It is impossible to overrate the importance to his purpose of that matchless instrument, the human voice."

This chief medium of expression, capable of conveying all shades of thought with exquisite delicacy, be it in conversation, reading aloud, or public speech, the great instrument whereby the hearts of an audience may be made to beat in unison, — is it not a matter for wonderment that we do not give more attention to the training of the speaking voice? What sort of a voice have you? High-pitched or low? Throaty, hollow, or breathy? Have you ever asked yourself, or had a good judge tell you? If you have a weak or harsh, disagreeable voice, can anything be done to help it? Certainly there can. We have gymnastics to straighten the back, to develop the chest or any specially weak organ

or muscle.

So are there gymnastics that will strengthen and improve the voice; but just as in all gymnastics, there must be systematic and continued practice before results will follow. A good voice is not altogether a freak of nature. We certainly do not act on this principle in dealing with the singing voice. While a "naturally" good voice is a boon, it is generally recognized that to be a really successful singer, one must take at least two or three years of special training. The same is true of the speaking voice, and the same training will produce equally satisfactory results. The trouble is, few speakers realize this, or have the patience and perseverance to undergo a training similar to that which we know is indispensable for the singer. The singer develops not only strength and volume of tone, but also improves the quality, or timbre. The same may be done by properly training the voice for speaking. If, then, the voice can be strengthened and controlled for speaking in public, it becomes apparent that this strengthening and controlling process should be gone through with in the preliminary stages of the development of the speaker. How many public speakers there are whose voices grate and grind on the nerves of the hearers, voices whose defects a minimum of preliminary attention would at least have mended, if not wholly cured.

In the vocal and other exercises that are suggested in this and succeeding chapters, the question is perforce brought home to the mind of the student, What am I doing with my voice and body? Am I making the best use of them as mediums of expression? In other words, good habits are to be strengthened and perfected, bad habits are to be eliminated and better habits formed in their stead. To form a new habit in the place of an old one, we must give conscious attention, first, to the fault; and secondly, to the formation of the new habit. This, you say, makes you

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self-conscious. True, but only as a means to an end. consciousness on the part of many public speakers to whom we are compelled to listen would be a blessed relief to the audience. By this is meant, of course, consciousness of glaring faults for the purpose of correction. The young speaker should first know what he is doing with his voice and his body. After conscious attention to faults, practice-conscientious, systematic, continued practice, and then practice again. Cicero long ago taught that "the exertion and exercise of the voice, of the breath, of the whole body, and of the tongue itself, do not so much require art as labour." Like every other art, if public speaking is one one-hundredth theory, it is ninety-nine one-hundredths practice. The formation of this new habit to supplant the old is hard at first. You have years of wrong practice to overcome; but by constant watchfulness and persistency the new habit becomes easier and easier until what was at first conscious, painful effort has become an accustomed practice, a new habit. In other words, the task is, through conscious attention for a time, to form other and better habits, which when firmly fixed will be as unconscious as were formerly the faulty ones.

How Speech is Effected. It is unnecessary to treat in any detail the anatomy or physiology of the vocal organs. We all know the process of voice-production, how the column. of air coming from the lungs through the trachea is arrested in the larynx by the vocal cords, which, vibrating, produce sound. This sound, by various positions of the throat and mouth cavity, is converted into vowels, and by sundry interruptions and modifications through the action of the palate, tongue, teeth, and lips, the consonants are formed. The various combinations of these vowel and consonant sounds constitute our spoken language.


Scientists tell us that man's vitality is measured by his lung capacity. The speaker needs vitality if he is to vitalize his audience. He needs the all-round, healthful physical training now generally recognized as essential to real education, and which Herbert Spencer calls "physical morality." And just as the athlete needs special training for a special event, so the speaker needs special gymnastics for the use of the breath. Breath is the stuff of which voice is made. To produce tone we must have breath coming from the lungs; to produce a strong tone, we must have breath in sufficient volume and force; to produce a sustained tone, we must have a generous supply of air stored in the lungs. Again, in ordinary breathing we inhale and exhale regularly — a constant stream of air going to and coming from the lungs. In speaking, however, we must inhale quickly at the pauses in our speech, and exhale slowly, converting the exhalations into vocal sounds. Now, we must learn to perform properly this inhaling and exhaling process. How often do we hear speakers gasp for breath at the beginning of a sentence, and perhaps audibly breathe out a generous supply at the end of a sentence. Or they inhale with a loud gasp on beginning, as though they had just come above the surface of the water, swallow the sentence, as it were, then bang out the first few words to "split the rafters," and soon subside to end the sentence in another gasp. They "get out of breath" and run down at the end of a sentence, like a clock that needs winding. This suggests the need not only of breath-quantity, but of breath-control.

And first, as to quantity. We know the different ways in which the chest capacity is enlarged whereby the lungs are filled with air. We may lift the shoulders and collar-bone and so enlarge the upper part of the chest. This is called clavicular or collar-bone breathing. This method is some

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