2010s >> 1905 >> no-08-april-1905
To Young Speakers
Many of our young speakers do their best, and are still disappointed. We can give them one or two tips which, if followed, will assist them.
The very first essential to making a good speech on any question is to have an implicit belief that the side you are talking on is right. That essential is already possessed by all our speakers.
The next greatest essential is to know everything of your subject. If you can’t know everything, know all that you can. Study Socialism, read Socialism, and in order to understand Socialism study capitalism, if you want to make a good speech about Socialism. You can’t know too much about the subject; you can’t possibly know enough. Know all that you can freeze on to.
An old friend of the writer, probably the greatest Socialist speaker in America to-day, once said to him: “My boy, the Worker gets here Friday. On Friday evening when I get home from work I sit me down and read the Worker —every word in it; not the headlines only, not the articles only of news, but every line — and then I know what is doing in Socialism, and I know what to say and how to say it.”
Young speakers particularly should do this. But they should not stop there. Read a book now and then. Read a book worth the reading, and read it carefully. When you have read a chapter, stop and recall all the meat of it that you can. If there is some important part of it that you do not understand, or cannot recall clearly, go back and look it up. Learn to remember things that are worth remembering.
Not only read good books. but if you are a young speaker, read them aloud. Watch yourself. You will be surprised how many words you fail to pronounce distinctly, clearly. When you do that go back and read the sentence over again and again, as many times as may be necessary to enable you to acquire a habit of speaking in a clear tone and sounding every syllable of a word — no slurring.
If you will do these things — inform yourself on the subject, saturate yourself with it, read aloud, clearly, distinctly; read good, well-written books, so as to get the habit of speaking correctly, strongly, elegantly — do these things, and there is no reason why a young man of strength and good lungs and voice should not become not only a speaker, but an orator.