When you are asked to speak sit down and write your most intimate friend what you are going to say. Perhaps you'll find you haven't anything to say. Then very likely the probable death of your grandmother will prevent your accepting the invitation. If you find you have something to say pick out the most important points and decide how many minutes you intend to give each. Above all do not permit yourself to change your plan. - Napoleon said "if you set out to take Vienna take Vienna." Make up your mind what you are going to say and say it. The same advice applies to speech-making as to letter writing when one is told to let one's correspondent wish there were more. It might be well to bear in mind Bulwer's advice about calling, "Leave as soon as you've made a good impression."
Art of Extemporary Speaking.
Dr. Edward Everett Hale's popularity at Harvard was never better attested than yesterday afternoon at his address on the "Art of Extemporary Speaking." Despite the stormy weather standing room only was to be had in Sever 11, and the large audience gave the speaker a most enthusiastic welcome. Apt illustrations and witty anecdotes served to enliven the "warnings and rules." Dr. Hale said, prepare yourself carefully before hand on what you are going to say but don't memorize. Don't try to win the sympathy of the audience by talking about yourself. Know what you are going to say and don't allow the sympathy of your audience to lead you further than you should go. Partly as a rule and partly as a warning, for your own sake and for the sake of your audience, make up your mind how long you are going to speak, and low much time you wish to devote to each topic. Very few can speak "to the line." Almost intallibly a speaker will devote too much time to the introduction. The audience will judge of you by the length of time you devote to each portion, thinking the speaker will give most time to what he considers most important; consequently impress your great central idea by giving the most time to it.