Model Speeches for Practise
MODEL SPEECHES FOR PRACTISE
Formerly Instructor in Public Speaking at Yale Divinity
School, Yale University. Author of "How to Speak
in Public," "Great Speeches and How to Make
Them," "Complete Guide to Public Speak-
ing," "How to Build Mental Power,"
"Talks on Talking," etc., etc.
FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY
NEW YORK AND LONDON
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
- Introduction—Aims and Purposes of Speaking—Grenville Kleiser
- After-Dinner Speaking—James Russell Lowell
- England, Mother of Nations—Ralph Waldo Emerson
- The Age of Research—William Ewart Gladstone
- Address of Welcome—Oliver Wendell Holmes
- Good-Will to America—Sir William Harcourt
- The Qualities That Win—Charles Sumner
- The English-Speaking Race—George William Curtis
- Woman—Horace Porter
- Tribute to Herbert Spencer—William M. Evarts
- The Empire State—Chauncey M. Depew
- Men of Letters—James Anthony Froude
- Literature and Politics—John Morley
- General Sherman—Carl Schurz
- Oration Over Alexander Hamilton—Gouverneur Morris
- Eulogy of McKinley—Grover Cleveland
- Decoration Day—Thomas W. Higginson
- Faith in Mankind—Arthur T. Hadley
- Washington and Lincoln—Martin W. Littleton
- Characteristics of Washington—William McKinley
- Let France Be Free—George Jacques Danton
- Sons of Harvard—Charles Devens
- Wake Up, England!—King George
This book contains a varied representation of successful speeches byeminently successful speakers. They furnish, in convenient form, usefulmaterial for study and practise.
The student is earnestly recommended to select one speech at a time,analyze it carefully, note its special features, practise it aloud, andthen proceed to another. In this way he will cover the principal formsof public speaking, and enable himself to apply his knowledge to anyoccasion.
The cardinal rule is that a speaker learns to speak by speaking, hence acareful reading and study of these[Pg vi] speeches will do much to develop thestudent's taste for correct literary and oratorical form.
New York City,
AIMS AND PURPOSES OF SPEAKING
It is obvious that the style of your public speaking will depend uponthe specific purpose you have in view. If you have important truthswhich you wish to make known, or a great and definite cause to serve,you are likely to speak about it with earnestness and probably witheloquence.
If, however, your purpose in speaking is a selfish one—if your objectis self-exploitation, or to serve some special interest of your own—ifyou regard your speaking as an irksome task, or are unduly anxious as towhat your hearers will think of you and your effort—then you are almostsure to fail.[Pg 12]
On the other hand, if you have the interests of your hearers sincerelyat heart—if you really wish to render a worthy public service—if youlose all thought of self in your heartfelt desire to serve others—thenyou will have the most essential requirements of true and enduringoratory.
THE NECESSITY OF A DEFINITE OBJECT
It is of the highest importance for you to have in mind a clearconception of the end you wish to achieve by your speaking. This purposeshould characterize all you say, so that at each step in your speech youwill feel sure of making steady progress toward the desired object.
As a public speaker you assume serious responsibility. You are toinfluence men for weal or woe. The words[Pg 13] you speak are like so manyseeds, planted in the minds of your hearers, there to grow and multiplyaccording to their kind. What you say may have far-reaching effects,hence the importance of careful forethought in the planning andpreparation of your speeches.
The highest aim of your public speaking is not merely to instruct orentertain, but to influence the wills of men, to make men think as youthink, and to persuade them to act in the manner you desire. This is alofty aim, when supported by a good cause, and worthy of your greatesttalents and efforts.
THE KEY TO SUCCESS IN SPEAKING
The key to greatness of speech is sincerity. You must yourself be sothoroughly imbued with the truth and desirability of what you are urgingupon others that they will be imprest by[Pg 14] your integrity of purpose. Tohave their confidence and good will is almost to win your cause.
But you must have deep and well-grounded convictions before you can hopeto convince and influence other men. Duty, necessity, magnanimity,innate conviction, and sincere interest in the welfare of others,—thesebeget true fervor and are essential to passionate and persuasivespeaking.
Lord Lytton emphasized the vital importance of earnest purpose in thespeaker. Referring to speech in the British Parliament he said, "Havebut fair sense and a competent knowledge of your subject, and then bethoroughly in earnest to impress your own honest conviction upon others,and no matter what your delivery, tho your gestures shock every rule inQuintilian, you will command the ear and influence the de[Pg 15]bates of themost accomplished, the most fastidious, and, take it altogether, thenoblest assembly of freemen in the world."
Keep in mind that the purpose of your public speaking is not only toconvince but also to persuade your hearers. It is not sufficient thatthey merely agree with what you say; you must persuade them also to actas you desire.
Hence you should aim to reach both their minds and hearts. Solidargument, clear method, and indisputable facts are necessary for thefirst purpose; vivid imagination, concrete illustration, and animatedfeeling are necessary for the second.
THE NEED OF A KNOWLEDGE OF HUMAN NATURE
It will be of great practical value to you to have a knowledge of theaverage[Pg 16] man comprising your audience, his tastes, preferences,prejudices, and proclivities. The more you adapt your speech to such anaverage man, the more successful are you likely to be in influencing theentire audience.
Aim, therefore, to use words, phrases, illustrations, and arguments suchas you think the average man will readily understand. Avoid anythingwhich would cause confusion, distraction, or prejudice in his mind. Useevery reasonable means to win his good will and approval.
Your speech is not a monolog, but a dialog, in which you are thespeaker, and the auditor a silent tho questioning listener. His mind isin a constant attitude of interrogation toward you. And upon the degreeof your success in answering such silent but insistent questions willdepend the ultimate success of your speaking.[Pg 17]
The process of persuading the hearer depends chiefly upon first beingpersuaded yourself. You may be devoid of feeling, and yet convince yourhearers; but to reach their hearts and to move them surely toward thedesired purpose, you must yourself be moved.
Your work as a public speaker is radically different from that of theactor or reciter. You are not impersonating some one else, norinterpreting the thought of another. You must above all things benatural, real, sincere and earnest. Your work is creative andconstructive.
THE RIGHT ATTITUDE OF A SPEAKER
However much you may study, plan, or premeditate, there must be noindication of conscious or studied attempt in the act of speaking to anaudience. At that time everything must be merged into your personality.[Pg 18]
Your earnestness in speaking arises principally from having a distinctconception of the object aimed at and a strong desire to accomplish it.Under these circumstances you summon to your aid all your availablepower of thought and feeling. Your mental faculties are stimulated intotheir fullest activity, and you bend every effort toward the purposebefore you.
But however zealous you may feel about the truth or righteousness of thecause you espouse, you will do well always to keep within the bounds ofmoderation. You can be vigorous without violence, and enthusiasticwithout extravagance.
You must not only thoroughly know yourself and your subject, but alsoyour audience. You should carefully consider the best way to bring themand yourself into unity. You may do this[Pg 19] by making an appeal to someprinciple commonly recognized and approved by men, such as patriotism,justice, humanity, courage, duty, or righteousness.
What Phillips Brooks said about the preacher, applies with equal truthto other forms of public speaking:
"Whatever is in the sermon must be in the preacher first;clearness, logicalness, vivacity, earnestness, sweetness, andlight, must be personal qualities in him before they are qualitiesof thought and language in what he utters to his people."
After you have earnestly studied the principles of public speaking youshould plan to have regular and frequent practise in addressing actualaudiences. There are associations and societies everywhere, constantlyin quest of good speakers. There will be ample oppor[Pg 20]tunities for you ifyou have properly developed your speaking abilities.
And now to sum up some of the most essential things for you:
1. READ ALOUD EVERY DAY
This is indispensable to your greatest progress in speech culture.Reading aloud, properly done, compels you to pronounce the words,instead of skimming over them as in silent reading. It gives you theadditional benefit of receiving a vocal impression of the rhythm andstructure of the composition.
Keep in mind the following purposes of your reading aloud:
1. To improve your speaking voice.
2. To acquire distinct enunciation.
3. To cultivate correct pronunciation.
4. To develop English style.
5. To increase your stock of words.
6. To store your memory with facts.[Pg 21]
7. To analyze an author's thoughts.
8. To broaden your general knowledge.
2. FORM THE NOTE-BOOK HABIT
Keep separate note-books for the subjects in which you are deeplyinterested and on which you intend some time to speak in public. Writein them promptly any valuable ideas which come to you from the fourprincipal sources—observation, conversation, reading, and meditation.
You will be surprized to find how rapidly you can acquire useful data inthis way. In an emergency you can turn to the speech-material you haveaccumulated and quickly solve the problem of "what to say."
Keep the contents of your note-books in systematic order. Classify ideasunder distinct headings. When possible[Pg 22] write the ideas down in regularspeech form. Once a week read aloud the contents of your note-books.
3. DAILY STUDY YOUR DICTIONARY
Read aloud each day from your dictionary for at least five minutes, andgive special attention to the pronunciation and meaning of words. Thisis one of the most useful exercises for building a large vocabulary.
Develop the dictionary habit. Be interested in words. Study them intheir contexts. Make special lists of your own. Select special words forspecial uses. Note significant words in your general reading.
Think of words as important tools for public speaking. Choose them withdiscrimination in your daily conversation. Consult your dictionary forthe mean[Pg 23]ings of words about which you are in doubt. Be an earneststudent of words.
4. SYSTEMATICALLY DEVELOP YOUR MENTAL POWERS
Give some time each day to the development of a judicial mind. Learn tothink deliberately and carefully. Study causes and principles. Lookdeeply into things.
Be impartial in your examination of a subject. Study all sides of aquestion or problem. Weigh the evidence with the purpose of ascertainingthe truth.
Beware the peril of prejudice. Keep your mind wide open to receive thefacts. Look at a subject from the other man's viewpoint. Cultivatebreadth of mind. Do not let your personal interests or desires misleadyou. Insist upon securing the truth at all costs.[Pg 24]
5. DAILY PRACTISE COMPOSITION
Frequent use of the pen is essential to proficiency in speaking. Write alittle every day to form your English style. Daily exercise in writingwill rapidly develop felicity and fluency of speech.
Test your important ideas by putting them into writing. Constantlycultivate clearness of expression. Examine, criticize, and improve yourown compositions.
Copy in your handwriting at least a page daily from one of the greatEnglish stylists. Continue this exercise for a month and note theimprovement in your speech and writing.
6. PRACTISE IMPROMPTU SPEAKING
At least once a day stand up, in the privacy of your room, and make animpromptu speech of two or three minutes. Select any subject whichinterests you.[Pg 25] Aim at fluency of style rather than depth of thought.
In these daily efforts, use the best chest voice at your command,enunciate clearly, open your mouth well, and imagine yourself addressingan actual audience. A month's regular practise of this exercise willconvince you of its great value.
7. STUDY SUCCESSFUL PUBLIC SPEAKERS
Hear the best public speakers available to you. Observe them critically.Ask