The Art of Public Speaking
Man, what you need is not sympathy, but a push. No one doubts that temperament and nerves and illness and
even praiseworthy modesty may, singly or combined, cause the speaker's cheek to blanch before an audience,
but neither can any one doubt that coddling will magnify this weakness. The victory lies in a fearless frame of
mind. Prof. Walter Dill Scott says: "Success or failure in business is caused more by mental attitude even than
by mental capacity." Banish the fear-attitude; acquire the confident attitude. And remember that the only way
to acquire it is--to acquire it.
In this foundation chapter we have tried to strike the tone of much that is to follow. Many of these ideas will
be amplified and enforced in a more specific way; but through all these chapters on an art which Mr.
Gladstone believed to be more powerful than the public press, the note of justifiable self-confidence must
sound again and again.
QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES.
1. What is the cause of self-consciousness?
2. Why are animals free from it?
3. What is your observation regarding self-consciousness in children?
4. Why are you free from it under the stress of unusual excitement?
5. How does moderate excitement affect you?
6. What are the two fundamental requisites for the acquiring of self-confidence? Which is the more important?
7. What effect does confidence on the part of the speaker have on the audience?
8. Write out a two-minute speech on "Confidence and Cowardice."
9. What effect do habits of thought have on confidence? In this connection read the chapter on "Right
Thinking and Personality."
10. Write out very briefly any experience you may have had involving the teachings of this chapter.
11. Give a three-minute talk on "Stage-Fright," including a (kindly) imitation of two or more victims.