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you were burdened with one, and had to get rid of it as quickly as possible. You must say to yourself that you are telling something which people want to hear or ought to hear.
Your talk should be informal, sincere, conversa. tional. It ought to show individuality, be expressive
you and your way of feeling and thinking about this particular subject.
11. Gesture and Illustration.-Do not play the elocutionist, nor act the part of what you are saying. Use no previously thought-out gestures. You may indicate sizes, shapes, motions, and so on, just as you would in a conversation.
Often you can better demonstrate your talk by drawing on paper or the board. (See illustrations on page 162.) Bring to class any object that you can better explain by an actual demonstration. If you wish to show how a steam turbine operates, you can best do so by having in class the turbine. Or, if you are unable to secure the object itself, you may provide a substitute that in the essentials is similar to the object you are explaining. In the case of the turbine, you might use a raste-board model. The cochlea of the human ear could be explained by comparing it to a snail's shell.
12. Naturalness and Ease. Children who act and talk unconscious of self are entertaining; but when they put on airs, they are tiresome. The affected grown-up is not only tiresome but disgusting.
Try to avoid thinking about your hands and feet.
Keep them comparatively still; or, rather, let them take care of themselves.
You have often been told to look people in the eyes when talking to them. But that does not mean that you are to do so continuously. Such staring is hypnotic; it drives their attention from your talk. Allow your eyes to shift from one person to another that is within your field of vision. Some interesting talkers rarely look at the person talked to. This, however, is the exception, as it is very difficult to hold any one's attention without catching his eye here and there as you talk.
If you forget something rather important while you are talking, and cannot recall it, or if you make some mistake, do not become excited or annoyed. Smooth the affair over the best you can, and continue with your subject. Keep your troubles and weaknesses from your hearers; otherwise they will lose respect for you. People like to listen to the speaker who is at ease and master of himself. They like to settle back in their seats and feel that a strong man has charge of the situation.
You ought to be conscious of what you are saying and how you are saying it; yet if you are too much so, your hearers will notice it. Don't think, while you are talking, that some one is perhaps criticizing you. Tradition says that Julius Cæsar was able to think of three things at one time. The average person is not so fortunate. In making your talk, you will have one of three things uppermost in your mind, - your hearers, yourself, or your subject. The first two, it is true, you must have in mind, but they must not be the primary objects of your attention. In a sense you must forget them, and fix your entire attention upon your subject. It is the one thing that does need notice. The more attention you give your subject, the more your hearers will be free to follow that subject.
13. Conscious Effort in First Talks.The person who talks in a self-conscious manner is a bore, though what he says may be grammatically and rhetorically correct. But if you are not accustomed to giving lengthy talks, you will doubtless at first show that you are making a conscious effort to follow the principles of oral composition. Do not allow this awkwardness, this evident self-consciousness, to discourage you. The person who is just learning to use the typewriter according to systematic rules for writing finds much difficulty in thinking what keys he must touch with certain fingers. He is hindered by rules; his immediate progress is made slower by them. If he were allowed to hit with his most convenient and most active fingers such keys as were most handy to those fingers, he could write with reasonable rapidity from the first. But since it is ultimate speed and correctness that are desired, he must follow rules that prepare him to attain these results.
Through conscious effort in practice, the rules for typewriting become second nature with the stenographer. The rules are in his subconsciousness; he fol
lows them without having to think of them. The same thing is true of oral composition. Learn the principles—not verbatim—but according to common sense and reason. Try to understand them sympathetically; make them a part of you, as you have done with the multiplication table and the alphabet.
14. A Good Memory.-By good memory we do not mean that you must be endowed with a mind so extraordinarily retentive that it will hold many minute details and insignificant happenings. The person who has an abnormally retentive memory may be as much handicapped by it as the person who has a treacherously weak memory. For he has a very retentive but undiscriminating memory is inclined to burden his audience with too many details, details that to the average person are trivial and tiresome. Also, he generally quotes too much of what others have said, relies too much on other men's thinking, since he can recall their thoughts so well. On the other hand, a person with a sluggish memory talks in too hazy a fashion. He is never able to give exact facts, to be definite when definiteness is required. He belongs to the “Know-Nothing Party."
Some thinkers contend that we cannot develop our memory; others, that we can. Let this contention be as it may; one thing we are certain of-that we can aid our memory by certain methods. These are as follows:
(a) Observing closely. By paying strict attention to things we come in contact with through our senses, we can more easily recall those things later. You know that the lecture you listen to closely you can readily remember afterwards. The stranger whom you observe closely you can easily describe later.
(b) Noting relationship, size, number, and so on. If you should for the first time take apart a watch, and not observe where the different parts go, you would have a great deal of trouble in getting the whole together again. The solutions of most of Conan Doyle's detective stories are based on Sherlock Holmes' close observation of the relationship of things, of numbers, and of the order in which events occur.
(c) Associating with other things. Every person who has studied any language besides his own has doubtless found that when he came upon a new word in his own language he could later remember that word much better if it came from the foreign tongue he had studied. He has two handles, as it were, by which to hold his new word. He remembers it by its English name and by its Latin name.
One sure method of determining the spelling of "seize" and "siege" is to think of the French spelling and pronunciation. “Seize' comes from the French word "saisir,” in which the “i” follows the “a”; “siege” comes from the French word “siege, " in which the “i” precedes the “e.” When you once fix in mind the French pronunciation and the French position of “i” relative to its companion vowel, you will hardly misspell these words again. You remember certain