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study of the subject would properly first go to a physician, and adopt such a course of life as would build them up physically. The physical training usually practised in connection with the subject, as now usually taught, is found promotive of vital development. The development of erect carriage and chest capacity is the result of even a minimum amount of work in physical training. Instruction and a list of exercises for physical development may be found at the end of this treatise.
Every one who is to speak to an audience should so order his time and work as to come to the speaking fresh and vigorous. The feeling of physical vigor and buoyancy favorably affects, not only the bearing and voice, but also the mental action. For those who compose at the time of delivery, this feeling is indispensable. A few physical and vocal exercises preceding the speaking, is of decided advantage, provided one does not tire himself. Just before speaking the first sentence, to close the mouth and delib: erately fill the lungs by breathing through the nostrils, immediately gives the speaker the sense of vigor. This, together with the erect attitude and “active ” (lifted) chest, is a good preparation for the start.
THE first serious difficulty that besets almost every one when first addressing an audience is that of nervousness. It is most serious in the case of the inexperienced ; but is never entirely overcome by the person of oratoric temperament. The unusual environment of the speaker, the seriousness of addressing people on important matters, the attitude of a person facing a silent and attentive audience with the assumption that it is worth their while to listen, the consciousness that what is said may be challenged and the way of saying it criticised, may well disturb any one but the most stolid.
Again, the necessarily quickened thought, the aroused emotions, effective earnestness, may easily run into extravagance. Sudden emotions that sweep upon the speaker, unexpected happenings, interruptions in debate, will be among the occasions for self-control.
By control, however, something more is meant than the mere negative activity involved in overcoming nervousness or "stage-fright,” or the prevention of some unpurposed emotion running away with the speaker. It means the ability to command all the powers of mind and body in the complex process of oral delivery, - such a use of the powers of impression and expression as shall make the speaker skilful in the clear, forceful, and elegant presentation of the things of the mind. Hence, not only the main features of speaking, but the simplest act of articulation, involves control.
In general, practice and familiarity in the sphere of Pub
lic Speaking is the means of cultivating control, and especially the means of cultivating self-control. The only way to learn speaking is to speak. But a knowledge of the problem and some practical suggestions will promote this aim.
The psychology of control involves a discussion of control through the feelings and the will.
1. Control through the Feelings. - Conscious guidance of the complex movements involved in the simplest vocal or other act would be impossible. It is accomplished in nature through intuition or the guidance of feeling.
Neither sensations nor ideas come to the mind isolated from one another, but in larger unities or trains. When one of the factors is recalled, it starts up the others. This is true of the most minute and mplex elements in any association, the details of which the mind may not be able to bring into consciousness. The slightest initiation through memory is sufficient to set off the whole train.
Every change in the ordinary movements, and also in vocal and gesticular action, is accompanied by a feeling peculiar to itself.
This sensation becomes a sign or symbol of the movement. The sensation at one stage of change becomes a guide to the sensation at the succeeding stage of change, according to the law of association. And so in the repetition of any movement, feeling guides in its accomplishment Otherwise it is purely reflex and uncontrolled.
The motions of infants are at first extremely impulsive, vague, and numerous. They next become purposeful, but lacking in control. For instance, with the successful effort to locate an object there is, doubtless, a muscular sense of the proper adjustment in reaching for it. nized feelings of proper adjustment with increasing certainty, guide to similar movements. Learning to talk is accomplished in a similar manner. This is obviously the way adults learn the pronunciation of the strange sounds of a new language; say English-speaking persons learning the
German “ö" or "ü,” or the German learning the English “th." The sound is at first vague and inexact. The adjustments for the utterance of the sound are at first painstakingly made, with slight satisfaction as to results. Next, the adjustments are more promptly and accurately accomplished. There is the accompanying feeling of successful adjustment. This feeling is at last the guide, without any conscious effort, for adjusting the organs for the pronunciation of these elements. So also in all the acts of speaking, there is the feeling that the vocal organs are illy or well adjusted to produce the best tone, and to insure the most effective vocal control; the feeling that the force and direction of the voice are illy or well adapted to the size of the room and audience; that the speech and speaker are fitted to the audience, or otherwise. The feeling of adjustment applies not only to these general features, but to each detail of vocal, gesticular, and mental movement. The co-ordinations must be effected, the acts made specific and accurate, and repeated till they organize themselves in the mind. Feeling is the bond of this organization.
What is true of these features particularized is true also of every feature in the technique of vocal and gesticular movements. The student, practising till these feelings of specific adjustment organize themselves in the mind, can detect a mal-adjustment in speech as readily as he detects that he has put on another person's hat by the way it fits or feels.
Tone. - One of the characteristics of feeling is that of Tone. By tone, psychologists mean that every feeling is either agreeable or painful. The feelings connected with Public Speaking are usually very marked in their tone. The agreeable or painful may be connected with the voice as it is used properly or otherwise, with the ease or difficulty of enunciation, with the freedom or hindrance of the co-ordinations, with the feeling of success or failure, and
in connection with the other aspects of the complex functions of Public Speaking. All normal speaking, adapted to its end, is promotive of agreeable feelings; hence, it appears that the tone of the feeling becomes at once a guide to the speaker.
It is not to be supposed, however, that the tone of the feelings will unerringly guide the student into proper control at once and without attention. If the student has been in the habit of flattening the chest and stooping, it is, at first, anything but comfortable to stand erect and with "active" chest. But when the erect attitude is taken, it soon feels right; and finally it is the only attitude that the tone of the feelings approves. Again, the teacher directs the student to the roper use of the voice or the proper form of gesture. The end or purpose soon becomes definite; and a failure to reach the end results in the feeling of discomfort, while the accomplishment of the end results in the feeling of pleasure. The feeling of proper adjustment is closely related to or identical with the feeling of satisfaction.
A few general suggestions should receive the student's attention: Take advantage of the consciousness of being prepared on the subject-matter of the speech, as the feel. ing of composure and adjustment growing out of this is of incalculable advantage in every respect.
Do not be painfully conscious and attentive as to the details of the effort; but, instead, the speaker should feel his way to the comfort of effective performance. Before beginning, he should get his bearings as to audience, and adjust himself to the general aims and temper of his speech, and take time for the right impulses to assert themselves.
The feeling that the speech is moving along easily should be fostered.
Moods. — Moods are those habitual feelings that preoccupy the mind, those fixed sets of feelings that hinder the