The Art of Public Speaking HTML version
can tell much about his patient's condition from the mere sound of the voice. Failing health, or even physical
weariness, tells through the voice. It is always well to rest and be entirely refreshed before attempting to
deliver a public address. As to health, neither scope nor space permits us to discuss here the laws of hygiene.
There are many excellent books on this subject. In the reign of the Roman emperor Tiberius, one senator
wrote to another: "To the wise, a word is sufficient."
"The apparel oft proclaims the man;" the voice always does--it is one of the greatest revealers of character.
The superficial woman, the brutish man, the reprobate, the person of culture, often discloses inner nature in
the voice, for even the cleverest dissembler cannot entirely prevent its tones and qualities being affected by
the slightest change of thought or emotion. In anger it becomes high, harsh, and unpleasant; in love low, soft,
and melodious--the variations are as limitless as they are fascinating to observe. Visit a theatrical hotel in a
large city, and listen to the buzz-saw voices of the chorus girls from some burlesque "attraction." The
explanation is simple--buzz-saw lives. Emerson said: "When a man lives with God his voice shall be as sweet
as the murmur of the brook or the rustle of the corn." It is impossible to think selfish thoughts and have either
an attractive personality, a lovely character, or a charming voice. If you want to possess voice charm, cultivate
a deep, sincere sympathy for mankind. Love will shine out through your eyes and proclaim itself in your
tones. One secret of the sweetness of the canary's song may be his freedom from tainted thoughts. Your
character beautifies or mars your voice. As a man thinketh in his heart so is his voice.
QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES
1. Define (a) charm; (b) joy; (c) beauty.
2. Make a list of all the words related to joy.
3. Write a three-minute eulogy of "The Joyful Man."
4. Deliver it without the use of notes. Have you carefully considered all the qualities that go to make up
voice-charm in its delivery?
5. Tell briefly in your own words what means may be employed to develop a charming voice.
6. Discuss the effect of voice on character.
7. Discuss the effect of character on voice.
8. Analyze the voice charm of any speaker or singer you choose.
9. Analyze the defects of any given voice.
10. Make a short humorous speech imitating certain voice defects, pointing out reasons.
11. Commit the following stanza and interpret each phase of delight suggested or expressed by the poet.
An infant when it gazes on a light, A child the moment when it drains the breast, A devotee when soars the
Host in sight, An Arab with a stranger for a guest, A sailor when the prize has struck in fight, A miser filling
his most hoarded chest, Feel rapture; but not such true joy are reaping As they who watch o'er what they love
--BYRON, Don Juan.