Accent Reduction | Public Speaking | Subject And Preparation. Part 4 Previous   Up   Next   

Subject And Preparation. Part 4

Then arrange these main ideas or heads in such an order that they will lead effectively to the result you have in mind, so that the speech may rise in argument, in interest, in power, by piling one fact or appeal upon another until the climax - the highest point of influence on your audience - has been reached.

Next group all your ideas, facts, anecdotes, and illustrations under the foregoing main heads, each where it naturally belongs.

You now have a skeleton or outline of your address that in its polished form might serve either as the brief, or manuscript notes, for the speech or as the guide-outline which you will expand into the written address, if written it is to be.

Imagine each of the main ideas in the brief on page 213 as being separate; then picture your mind as sorting them out and placing them in order; finally, conceive of how you would fill in the facts and examples under each head, giving special prominence to those you wish to emphasize and subduing those of less moment. In the end, you have the outline complete. The simplest form of outline - not very suitable for use on the platform, however - is the following:

Why Prosperity Is Coming

What prosperity means. - The real tests of prosperity. - Its basis in the soil. - American agricultural progress. - New interest in farming. - Enormous value of our agricultural products. - Reciprocal effect on trade. - Foreign countries affected. - Effects of our new internal economy - the regulation of banking and "big business" - on prosperity. - Effects of our revised attitude toward foreign markets, including our merchant marine. - Summary.

Obviously, this very simple outline is capable of considerable expansion under each head by the addition of facts, arguments, inferences and examples.

Here is an outline arranged with more regard for argument:

Foreign Immigration Should Be Restricted

I. Fact as Cause: Many immigrants are practically paupers. (Proofs involving statistics or statements of authorities.) H. Fact as Effect: They sooner or later fill our alms-houses and become public charges. (Proofs involving statistics or statements of authorities.)

1 Adapted from Composition-Rhetoric, Scott and Denny, p. 241.

III. Fact as Cause: Some of them axe criminals.

(Examples of recent cases.) IV. Fact as Effect: They reinforce the criminal classes. (Effects on our civic life.) V. Fact as Cause: Many of them know nothing of the duties of free citizenship. (Examples.) VI. Fact as Effect: Such immigrants recruit the worst element in our politics. (Proofs.) A more highly ordered grouping of topics and subtopics is shown in the following:

Ours A Christian Nation

I. Introduction: Why the subject is timely. Influences operative against this contention today. II. Christianity Presided Over the Early History of America.

1. First practical discovery by a Christian explorer. Columbus worshiped God on the new soil.

2. The Cavaliers.

3. The French Catholic settlers.

4. The Huguenots.

5. The Puritans.

III. The Birth of Our Nation was Under Christian Auspices.

1. Christian character of Washington.

2. Other Christian patriots.

3. The Church in our Revolutionary struggle. Muhlenberg.

IV. Our Later History has only Emphasized Our National Attitude. Examples of dealings with foreign nations show Christian magnanimity. Returning the Chinese Indemnity; fostering the Red Cross; attitude toward Belgium. V. Our Governmental Forms and Many of Our Laws are of a Christian Temper. 1. The use of the Bible in public ways, oaths, etc.

2. The Bible in our schools.

3. Christian chaplains minister to our lawmaking bodies, to our army, and to our navy.

4. The Christian Sabbath is officially and generally recognized.

5. The Christian family and the Christian system of morality are at the basis of our laws.

VI. The Life of the People Testifies of the Power of Christianity. Charities, education, etc., have Christian tone. VII. Other Nations Regard us as a Christian People. VIII. Conclusion: The attitude which may reasonably be expected of all good citizens toward questions touching the preservation of our standing as a Christian nation.

Writing And Revision

After the outline has been perfected comes the time to write the speech, if write it you must. Then, whatever you do, write it at white heat, with not too much thought of anything but the strong, appealing expression of your ideas.

The final stage is the paring down, the re-vision - the seeing again, as the word implies - when all the parts of the speech must be impartially scrutinized for clearness, precision, force, effectiveness, suitability, proportion, logical climax; and in all this you must imagine yourself to be before your audience, for a speech is not an essay and what will convince and arouse in the one will not prevail in the other.

The Title

Often last of all will come that which in a sense is first of all - the title, the name by which the speech is known. Sometimes it will be the simple theme of the address, as "The New Americanism," by Henry Watterson; or it may be a bit of symbolism typifying the spirit of the address, as "Acres of Diamonds," by Russell H. Conwell; or it may be a fine phrase taken from the body of the address, as "Pass Prosperity Around," by Albert J. Beveridge. All in all, from whatever motive it be chosen, let the title be fresh, short, suited to the subject, and likely to excite interest.

Questions And Exercises

1. Define (a) introduction; (b) climax; (c) peroration.

2. If a thirty-minute speech would require three hours for specific preparation, would you expect to be able to do equal justice to a speech one-third as long in one-third the time for preparation? Give reasons.

3. Relate briefly any personal experience you may have had in conserving time for reading and thought.

4. In the manner of a reporter or investigator, go out and get first-hand information on some subject of interest to the public. Arrange the results of your research in the form of an outline, or brief.

5. From a private or a public library gather enough authoritative material on one of the following questions to build an outline for a twenty-minute address. Take one definite side of the question. (a) "The Housing of the Poor;" (b) "The Commission Form of Government for Cities as a Remedy for Political Graft;" (c) "The Test of Woman's Suffrage in the West;" (d) "Present Trends of Public Taste in Reading;" (e) "Municipal Art;" (f) "Is the Theatre Becoming more Elevated in Tone?" (g) "The Effects of the Magazine on Literature;" (h) "Does Modern Life Destroy Ideals?" (i) "Is Competition 'the Life of Trade?' " (j) "Baseball is too Absorbing to be a Wholesome National Game;" (k) "Summer Baseball and Amateur Standing;" (l) "Does College Training Unfit a Woman for Domestic Life?" (m) "Does Woman's Competition with Man in Business Dull the Spirit of Chivalry?" (n) "Are Elective Studies Suited to High School Courses?" (o) "Does the Modern College Prepare Men for Preeminent Leadership?" (p) "The Y. M. C. A. in Its Relation to the Labor Problem;" (q) "Public Speaking as Training in Citizenship."

6. Construct the outline, examining it carefully for interest, convincing character, proportion, and climax of arrangement.

Note: - This exercise should be repeated until the student shows facility in synthetic arrangement.

7. Deliver the address, if possible before an audience.

8. Make a three-hundred word report on the results, as best you are able to estimate them.

9. Tell something of the benefits of using a periodical (or cumulative) index.

10. Give a number of quotations, suitable for a speaker's use, that you have memorized in off moments.

11. In the manner of the outline on page 213, analyze the address on pages 78-79, "The History of Liberty."

12. Give an outline analysis, from notes or memory, of an address or sermon to which you have listened for this purpose.

13. Criticise the address from a structural point of view.

14. Invent titles for any five of the themes in Exercise 5.

15. Criticise the titles of any five chapters of this book, suggesting better ones.

16. Criticise the title of any lecture or address of which you know.


  • Previous: Subject And Preparation. Part 3
  • Table of Contents
  • Next: Chapter XIX. Influencing By Exposition
  • Previous   Up   Next   

    About  |   Accent  |   TOEFL®  |   TOEIC®  |   IELTS  |   GMAT  |   GRE®  |   Online Degrees  |   Buy Now  |   Partners