Public Speaking Today?

I was searching the internet archive today and stumbled across a manual for public speaking written in 1922! So I decided to give it a read. I’m so glad I did. Wow what a resource!

The introduction –oratory still the supreme art–applies today just as much today as it did then. It starts “the demand for good public speaking is as great as it ever was. Some years ago there was a prevailing belief that the spoken word had lost its power as a real force in shaping men’s opinions and influencing their actions. It was commonly thought that that the newspaper and the magazine were about to take the place of the preacher, the lecturer, and the stump speaker. But such is not been the case…Society still cherishes its gifted speakers…Chauncey Depew says There is no accomplishment which any man can have which so quickly make for him a career and secure recognition as the ability to speak acceptably.”

What I found most interesting was the level of detail–far more than I usually found today for basic areas such as voice, loudness, variety, pitch, enunciation, pronunciation, etc. For example, it details how to use the tongue, the lips and breath control. It has diagrams of how the lungs work and describes in detail the proper way to breath to have the best voice control–great stuff!

So why did I include it here? Because I think it includes many ideas are particularly helpful for the non-native English speaker. I particularly like this manual because it contains many helpful exercises that build fundamental skills. I plan to spend more time with this “oldie but goodie” and perhaps start incorporating some of the exercises into my workshops!

Hope you find it a useful resource too. Let me know what YOU think.

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