Voice and Public Speaking cover

#1 - Introduction

Voice and Public Speaking

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Summary

I write for public speakers. I wish to take them into my confidence. I feel I can do them good. My object is to help them to speak with greater ease and efficiency.

When the voice is developed and in a condition to answer the calls made upon it, then it will naturally seek to put its powers into operation.... Develop the powers of the voice and it will not be satisfied till it find scope for their exercise. This is a marvellous feature of the human voice, and yet, perhaps, it is more or less common to all the powers we possess. Whenever we develop a power, whatever it be, nothing gives us greater pleasure than the exercise of it. Every artist thinks his own art the most sublime. The painter prefers painting, and the musician music; yet there does seem a diviner charm and more real pleasure in exercising the powers of the voice. Holding the opinion as I do, that if the voice be developed it will perform its work aright, it will be my object to notice and dilate upon those principles which, when worked out, go to form the voice. It may be taken for granted that the voice is with most people — and not less with many public speakers — all out of order. Its parts need adjusting. When this is accomplished, it only remains to say, Here is the work, do it.

My object is to notice and explain those principles, which, to my mind, underlie the rhetorical art. I have written in the simplest language, and this for two reasons, (1) To make things quite clear. (2) To spare, in this busy age, as much as possible, my reader’s time.

Experience convinces me, constantly more and more as I deal with students, that it is of the utmost importance that young men who are preparing in any way for public life, should make themselves acquainted with the principles laid down in it and acquire facility of application by practice. I am constantly hearing expressions similar to this — “Oh, if I had only known twenty years ago, what you tell me, how much better a man I should be to-day!” I could say this of myself, too, and that without blushing. - Summary taken from preface and introduction

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