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Successful Methods of Public Speaking

Successful Methods of Public Speaking
Category: Oratory
Title: Successful Methods of Public Speaking
Release Date: 2006-04-01
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 25 March 2019
Count views: 32
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By Grenville Kleiser
Inspiration and Ideals
How to Build Mental Power
How to Develop Self-Confidence in Speech and Manner
How to Read and Declaim
How to Speak in Public
How to Develop Power and Personality in Speaking
Great Speeches and How to Make Them
How to Argue and Win
Humorous Hits and How to Hold an Audience
Complete Guide to Public Speaking
Talks on Talking
Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases
The World's Great Sermons
Mail Course in Public Speaking
Mail Course in Practical English
How to Speak Without Notes
Something to Say: How to Say It
Successful Methods of Public Speaking
Model Speeches for Practise
The Training of a Public Speaker
How to Sell Through Speech
Impromptu Speeches: How to Make Them
Word-Power: How to Develop It
Christ: The Master Speaker
Vital English for Speakers and Writers

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Successful Methods of Public Speaking


Formerly Instructor in Public Speaking at Yale Divinity
School, YaleUniversity. Author of "How to Speak
in Public," "Great Speeches and Howto Make
Them," "Complete Guide to Public Speak-
ing," "How to Build MentalPower,"
"Talks on Talking," etc., etc.


Publisher's logo





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Copyright, 1920, by


[Printed in the United States of America]

Published, February, 1920


Copyright Under the Articles of the Copyright Convention of thePan-American Republics and the United States, August 11, 1910

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As you carefully study the successful methods of public speakers, asbriefly set forth in this book, you will observe that there is nothingthat can be substituted for personal sincerity. Unless you thoroughlybelieve in the message you wish to convey to others, you are not likelyto impress them favorably.

It was said of an eminent British orator, that when one heard him speakin public, one instinctively felt that there was something finer in theman than in anything he said.

Therein lies the key to successful oratory. When the truth of yourmessage is deeply engraved on your own mind; when your own heart hasbeen touched[Pg vi] as by a living flame; when your own character andpersonality testify to the innate sincerity and nobility of your life,then your speech will be truly eloquent, and men will respond to yourfervent appeal.

Grenville Kleiser.

New York City,
August, 1919.

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You can acquire valuable knowledge for use in your own public speakingby studying the successful methods of other men. This does not mean,however, that you are to imitate others, but simply to profit by theirexperience and suggestions in so far as they fit in naturally with yourpersonality.

All successful speakers do not speak alike. Each man has found certainthings to be effective in his particular case, but which would notnecessarily be suited to a different type of speaker.

When, therefore, you read the following methods of various men, askyourself in each case whether you can apply[Pg 12] the ideas to advantage inyour own speaking. Put the method to a practical test, and decide foryourself whether it is advisable for you to adopt it or not.


Requirements of Effective Speaking

There are certain requirements in public speaking which you and everyother speaker must observe. You must be grammatical, intelligent, lucid,and sincere. These are essential. You must know your subject thoroughly,and have the ability to put it into pleasing and persuasive form.

But beyond these considerations there are many things which must be leftto your temperament, taste, and individuality. To compel you to speakaccording to inflexible rules would make you not an orator but anautomaton.

The temperamental differences in successful speakers have been verygreat.[Pg 13] One eminent speaker used practically no gesture; another was inalmost constant action. One was quiet, modest, and conversational in hisspeaking style; another was impulsive and resistless as a mountaintorrent.

It is safe to say that almost any man, however unpretentious hislanguage, will command a hearing in Congress, Parliament, or elsewhere,if he gives accurate information upon a subject of importance and in amanner of unquestioned sincerity.

You will observe in the historical accounts of great orators, thatwithout a single exception they studied, read, practised, conversed, andmeditated, not occasionally, but with daily regularity. Many of themwere endowed with natural gifts, but they supplemented these withindefatigable work.

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Well-known Speakers and Their Methods


There is a rugged type of speaker who transcends and seemingly defiesall rules of oratory. Such a man was the great Scottish preacherChalmers, who was without polished elocution, grace, or manner, but whothrough his intellectual power and moral earnestness thrilled all whoheard him.

He read his sermons entirely from manuscripts, but it is evident fromthe effects of his preaching that he was not a slave to the written wordas many such speakers have been. While he read, he retained much of hisfreedom of gesture and physical expression, doubtless due to familiaritywith his subject and thorough preparation of his message.

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John Bright

You can profitably study the speeches of John Bright. They arenoteworthy for their simplicity of diction and uniform quality ofdirectness. His method was to make a plain statement of facts, enunciatecertain fundamental principles, then follow with his argument andapplication.

His choice of words and style of delivery were most carefully studied,and his sonorous voice was under such complete control that he couldspeak at great length without the slightest fatigue. Many of hisillustrations were drawn from the Bible, which he is said to have knownbetter than any other book.


Lord Brougham

Lord Brougham wrote nine times the concluding parts of his speech forthe defense of Queen Caroline. He once[Pg 16] told a young man that if hewanted to speak well he must first learn to talk well. He recognizedthat good talking was the basis of effective public speaking.

Bear in mind, however, that this does not mean you are always to confineyourself to a conversational level. There are themes which demand largetreatment, wherein vocal power and impassioned feeling are appropriateand essential. But what Lord Brougham meant, and it is equally trueto-day, was that good public speaking is fundamentally good talking.


Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke recommended debate as one of the best means for developingfacility and power in public speaking. Himself a master of debate, hesaid, "He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens ourskill. Our[Pg 17] antagonist is our helper. This amiable conflict withdifficulty obliges us to have an intimate acquaintance with our subject,and compels us to consider it in all its relations. It will not sufferus to be superficial."

Burke, like all great orators, believed in premeditation, and alwayswrote and corrected his speeches with fastidious care. While such menknew that inspiration might come at the moment of speaking, theypreferred to base their chances of success upon painstaking preparation.



Massillon, the great French divine, spoke in a commanding voice and in astyle so direct that at times he almost overwhelmed his hearers. Hispointed and personal questions could not be evaded. He sent truth likefiery darts to the hearts of his hearers.[Pg 18]

I ask you to note very carefully the following eloquent passage from asermon in which he explained how men justified themselves because theywere no worse than the multitude:

"On this account it is, my brethren, that I confine myself to you who atpresent are assembled here; I include not the rest of men, but consideryou as alone existing on the earth. The idea which occupies andfrightens me is this: I figure to myself the present as your last hourand the end of the world; that the heavens are going to open above yourheads; our Savior, in all His glory, to appear in the midst of thetemple; and that you are only assembled here to wait His coming; liketrembling criminals on whom the sentence is to be pronounced, either oflife eternal or of everlasting death; for it is vain to flatteryourselves that you shall die more innocent than[Pg 19] you are at this hour.All those desires of change with which you are amused will continue toamuse you till death arrives, the experience of all ages proves it; theonly difference you have to expect will most likely be a larger balanceagainst you than what you would have to answer for at present; and fromwhat would be your destiny were you to be judged this moment, you mayalmost decide upon what will take place at your departure from life.Now, I ask you (and connecting my own lot with yours I ask with dread),were Jesus Christ to appear in this temple, in the midst of thisassembly, to judge us, to make the dreadful separation betwixt the goatsand sheep, do you believe that the greatest number of us would be placedat His right hand? Do you believe that the number would at least beequal? Do you believe there would even[Pg 20] be found ten upright andfaithful servants of the Lord, when formerly five cities could notfurnish so many? I ask you. You know not, and I know it not. Thou alone,O my God, knowest who belong to Thee. But if we know not who belong toHim, at least we know that sinners do not. Now, who are the just andfaithful assembled here at present? Titles and dignities avail nothing,you are stript of all these in the presence of your Savior. Who arethey? Many sinners who wish not to be converted; many more who wish, butalways put it off; many others who are only converted in appearance, andagain fall back to their former courses. In a word, a great number whoflatter themselves they have no occasion for conversion. This is theparty of the reprobate. Ah! my brethren, cut off from this assemblythese four classes of sinners, for they will be[Pg 21] cut off at the greatday. And now appear, ye just! Where are ye? O God, where are Thy chosen?And what a portion remains to Thy share."



Gladstone had by nature a musical and melodious voice, but throughpractise he developed an unusual range of compass and variety. He couldsink it to a whisper and still be audible, while in open-air meetings hecould easily make himself heard by thousands.

He was courteous, and even ceremonious, in his every-day meeting withmen, so that it was entirely natural for him to be deferential andingratiating in his public speaking. He is an excellent illustration ofthe value of cultivating in daily conversation and manner the qualitiesyou desire to have in your public address.

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John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams read two chapters from the Bible every morning, whichaccounted in large measure for his resourceful English style. He wasfond of using the pen in daily composition, and constantly committed topaper the first thoughts which occurred to him upon any importantsubject.



The ambition of Fox was to become a great political orator and debater,in which at last he succeeded. His mental agility was manifest in hisreply to an elector whom he had canvassed for a vote, and who offeredhim a halter instead. "Oh thank you," said Fox, "I would not deprive youof what is evidently a family relic."

His method was to take each argument of an opponent, and dispose of itin[Pg 23] regular order. His passion was for argument, upon great or pettysubjects. He availed himself of every opportunity to speak. "During fivewhole sessions," he said, "I spoke every night but one; and I regretthat I did not speak on that night, too."


Theodore Parker

Theodore Parker always read his sermons aloud while writing them, inorder to test their "speaking quality." His opinion

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