Imágenes de páginas

but chiefly, I believe, to the fact that not all speakers realize that the audience is eager to hear the message, if there be one, and is readily bored by indirectness or suspense at the transitional point. Two or three sentences which serve to lead directly and logically into the first phase of the discussion are generally adequate and most desirable.


There are some people who can talk in public, filling their allotted time and more, beginning nowhere in particular and ending everywhere in general. Obviously that is poor and ineffective speaking. When a person makes an address with a real purpose he should aim to produce certain effects in each part, but since the body or development is the most significant division, he should give particular attention to its functions.

I. Emphasizing the Main Theme

Almost every good speech will have a central idea which constitutes the speaker's messagehis chief reason for making the address. To keep this central idea in the minds of the auditors is the first aim to be observed. Various factors tend to induce the speaker to violate this injunction, but if the audience is permitted to become vague

as to the main theme, the effectiveness of the speech is undoubtedly weakened.

II. Producing Conviction

A second purpose of the development is to bring out a variety of facts, inferences, ideas, examples, illustrations, logical conclusions-all the material of elaboration-in such a way as to impress the listeners with the soundness of the central theme. In this way is built up the chief aim in the development-conviction.

III. Establishing Distinct Salient Points

Again, the speaker aims in the body to develop strong leading points, each one standing out clearly in support of the chief message. At the same time he strives to unfold the subject in such a way that the audience cannot fail to understand not only the bearing of each part upon the whole but also the relationship of part to part.

IV. Holding the Listeners' Interest and Sympathy

Finally, in developing his topic the speaker seeks to sustain and increase the interest of his listeners as he proceeds. Moreover, at all times he aims to hold their sympathy and to keep their emotions sufficiently active to secure the proper mingling of persuasion and conviction.


Though the conclusion of an address might seem to present a minimum of difficulty, one often hears a speaker who is either unwilling or unable to finish properly. It is the section which appears to offer the greatest temptation to more or less aimless loquacity. This is not altogether inexplicable. When a person has delivered the burden of his address and triumphed over his initial nervousness, or has interested and pleased his audience, he is likely to experience a very noticeable feeling of elation. With increased confidence and a corresponding fluency of brain and tongue, an inclination sometimes manifests itself to repeat, to elaborate still further, to add details previously omitted, or even to launch upon a new topic. Such a prolongation is not in keeping with the true function of the conclusion. Nor is it desirable, on the other hand, to close abruptly, to take the audience by surprise. A speaker who finishes his address with the development of the final phase of the discussion is apt to leave a confused or unfavorable impression. He certainly does not take advantage of the excellent opportunity which a real conclusion affords, due to its position at the end of the speech. The concluding part generally remains most vividly in the listeners' minds. It is, therefore, desirable that the speaker should avoid

wearying the audience with unwarranted prolongation, or leaving it confused or dissatisfied by an abrupt termination. With this caution against two common shortcomings, we may turn to the proper functions of the conclusion.

I. Rounding out the Speech

The speaker should aim in the conclusion to convey the impression of completeness, of having rounded out the address in a finished and satisfying


II. Clinching the Central Idea

The conclusion also affords an opportunity for a final embodiment of the speaker's message in such concise and untrammeled form that his listeners will carry the essentials away with them.

III. Arousing Enthusiasm and Exhorting to Action

Finally, the speaker should try, whenever the nature of the subject warrants it, to arouse enthusiasm for the views set forth. Although ever mindful of the emotions of the audience, the speaker has aimed chiefly in the development to appeal to the mind, to convince. Now, having established a foundation of conviction, he is in a position to appeal more directly and intensely to the emotions. At this point is afforded, also,

the best opportunity to appeal for action in case such a response is desired.


To sum up briefly, we have seen that each of the three parts of a speech has special functions. It should not be inferred from this that the speaker is prohibited from striving in any given part for certain effects which he seeks more especially in another division. Indeed, it has been stated, for example, that he should try to hold the interest throughout the speech, and that he should keep the emotions active in the development as well as in the conclusion. But there are certain purposes which are best served in the introduction because of its position. The same is true of the body and the conclusion. The introduction aims to gain attention, arouse interest, present the theme in a clear and appealing manner, and to make a brief and logical transition to the body. The body seeks to emphasize the main theme, to elaborate convincingly the leading points which support it, and to keep the sympathies of the audience keen and its interest rising. The conclusion gathers up the threads of the discourse into a satisfying whole, gives a final, penetrating embodiment of the chief message, arouses enthusiasm for the views advanced, and, when feasible, exhorts to action.

« AnteriorContinuar »