페이지 이미지

self to do an unpleasant thing,-getting up on a cold morning and going to class when you may prefer lying in bed. When you begin your talk, put life into it; pretend you are interested, immensely so, and within a short time the pretended will become surprisingly real. Public speakers or actors who are speaking their parts for the six-hundredth time must do a great deal of pretending at the beginning of their speech or acting. Gradually their assumed interest develops into a reactionary, true interest when they observe that their audience is intently following them.

7. Make Your Talk Clear.-Remember that in oral composition your hearers cannot interrupt you to ask questions, or have you explain something not understood, as in conversation. They cannot turn back, as in a book, to get something that was not clear. Your talk must be so clear that no one can fail to follow you. This clearness is dependent upon three things:

(a) Clear thinking on your part. First of all, you must know what you are talking about. Clear thinking means that you are to join your ideas and thoughts in their proper relationship. The eightyear-old boy who can put together a dissected map of the United States, each state in its proper place, is relating his ideas, the states, accurately. He is thinking clearly. If you do not see quite clearly what you are attempting to tell, you cannot expect other people to follow you. Your talk has no meaning to follow.

(b) Simple mental outline. Before you attempt to give your oral theme, you should have in mind a very simple mental outline—not more than three or four heads. Do not write it out. Merely decide what are the main divisions of your composition, and where these should come. (See the different orders of arranging material, Sec. 49.) The student who gave the talk on the Amoeba (see page 162) probably had some such mental outline as the following:

1. General description of the amoeba.
2. How it moves.
3. How it eats.

4. Two methods of reproduction. Such an outline is easy to remember. The simpler and shorter it is, the better it will serve your purpose.

(c) Clear transitions. Talk from your mental outline. Say all you have to say about each division while you are dealing with it, as if it were a short composition within itself. Then pass to the next division. By means of transition phrases or sentences let your hearers know when you have finished one topic and are beginning another; and show by these transition devices what relationship one division has to another.

8. Laziness.-If you attempt to give a talk in a lazy, careless manner, you will be sure to make a failure. What you say will not be impressive. It will fall flat. Your tone of voice, your enunciation, your facial expression, and your general bearing must indicate that you are filled with energy and life.

9. A Good Vocabulary.-To express accurate


[ocr errors]

shades of thought, you must have at your immediate command a large vocabulary. It is not such a difficult matter for a writer to give evidence of a wide and accurate use of words, for he has time to consult dictionaries, encyclopedias, and books of synonyms and antonyms for the exact word. But the speaker who wishes to maintain interest must have stored in his mind words that spring forth-without any apparent effort on his part—and mate themselves fitly to the ideas he seeks to express.

Add to your vocabulary by noticing new words of the best speakers and writers. Look up these words in a dictionary. Keep one at hand in your room and near you when you read. If you have to get up to search for one, you generally let the word go. Discuss new expressions with your roommate or other friends. Do not attempt the laborious and fruitless task of learning a certain number of words each day. This method is too wooden, too mechanical. You have no association by which to remember such words.

If you really know words, you will soon be able, through practice, to use them with both accuracy and ease in your speech. A deficient vocabulary, like a poor memory, is often to be attributed to laziness.

10. Voice and Language.-Don't talk too fast. If you do, your tongue will get ahead of your brain, leaving you talking nonsense. Most people are inclined to talk too rapidly when they have studied what they are to say, and have it well in mind. If

you talk faster in your oral composition than you do in your conversation, you are probably going too fast for your hearers to follow.

Don't talk in a lifeless monotone, like the unwinding of a motion picture reel. A monotone produces sleep in your hearers.

Avoid using superfluous words, or repeating words to kill time while you are trying to think of what to say next. Many talkers have acquired-and some seem to cultivate—the annoying habit of tacking clauses and sentences to one another by repeated "and's," "and-ah-rah's," "and-so-then's," and other

-” similar tiresome expressions.

Pronounce your words clearly and distinctly, but not in such a manner as to call attention to


clearness and accuracy of pronunciation. If you are overnice in your pronunciation, people will justly think you are a slave to a dictionary. You may talk correctly without talking affectedly. Let people listen to you for what you say rather than for how you say it. The ideal talker or speaker is the one whose feeling and thought we follow so closely that we are not conscious of his gestures or manner of expressing him. self. As he talks we are the speaker, feeling and thinking with him.

As much as possible, but without too much effort, follow correct principles of grammar and rhetoric. But do not pause to search for the exact word or to decide upon the nicety of grammatical or rhetorical usage. The constant pausing and correcting of your speech are sure methods of killing the interest of your hearers. And when you have lost their interest, you have lost them. Speech is only a means to an end, and not the end itself. The true end of speech is to present to the other person our thought. According to Herbert Spencer's theory of the economy of mental attention, every person has only a given amount of mental attention that he can place on the thought before him, and if anything enters which does not help forward the process of thinking, then thinking is distracted, and a portion of our mental attention is used up with this new, intruding element. Let us apply this theory to the person who is talking. He has one hundred per cent of mental attention that he can put on the thought of what he is saying. But if he consumes twenty per cent of his attention on the grammar and rhetoric, and another twenty per cent on the diction, he has only sixty per cent remaining to place on his real thought. Thus he defeats the purpose of his talk, namely, to give his full and best thought to the other person. Principles of grammar and rhetoric must be so thoroughly a part of you that you employ them unconsciously.

Don't use abstract, high-flown language. Drive to the point with just plain, definite, understandable English. Remember that it is better to use incorrect language and be understood than to use correct language that passes over the heads of your hearers and be misunderstood.

You are not delivering a speech. Do not talk as if

« 이전계속 »