Learning Putnam's Ready Speechmaker 1922

Learning Putnam's Ready Speechmaker 1922

##Learning Putnam’s Public Speaker

Manners maketh the Man is an idiom that is as old as idiom or proverb we have record for. First written down in the 1400’s by William Holman who was headmaster at Eton School in England as a proverb in common usage among English Speakers in his book _Vulgaria. _

To be a good public speaker begins with good manners and good appearances. It also begins with an understanding of the structure of the English Language and how some words are categorized.

It would be too long for me to list all the words in the English language in the proper category; but the beauty of the English language is that there is a word that exists that you can use to express an idea you are attempting to articulate. Even if you may not have it come to mind at the time its simply a reference book or 3 reference books away for finding the exact perfect word for what you are trying to say.

The word I am looking for is the word Generalization. I am going to Generalize the English language by categorizing all the words that exist in the language into three simple and easy to understand categories.

The first category is the Vulgate or Vulgar category of English language. This category includes: regional localisms that are used within a specific place on the map and unknown to others outside those borders; Conversations amongst the public in everyday talk; dialogue in plays and movies and tv; Shoptalk and slang along with jargon and cursing; juicy gossip amongst friends. There are specific kinds of generalizations that are known to a small group of people and is in very common use by English Speakers.

Sometimes it can be helpful to craft a speech using the jargon or shoptalk of the audience. For example a conference on neuropsychology and the neuroplasticity of the brain would probably have both brain surgeons, drug manufactures, and psychiatrists in the audience. There is probably a type of jargon and shoptalk that exists about the brain and how medicine and chemicals interact with it. Such as “The brain is like velcro for the negative and teflon for the positive.” (Rick Hanson; Buddha’s Brain) Therefore including some of that rhetoric into a speech might be helpful.

The Second category of the English Language is informal English. The paragraph above is an example of informal English. It is a mixture of academic, jargon, shoptalk, cliche, generalizations, and specifics all in one. Informal English is uses most in books, magazines, newspaper articles, plays and novels. The goal of a public speaker should be to master Informal Language because it can be understood by a wide audience and complex ideas can be simplified to an easily digestible recipe of words that normal people understand.

The final category of English is the formal and academic English. These words are highly technical and tend to be very specific. If you watch cable news they often times have people on the air talk about the legislative process in a highly technical very specific highly formal kind of way. If someone were to actually go to a conference on neuropsychology the speakers would probably use highly technical and academic words in latin that are known to the people in the audience but would be incomprehensible to everyone else unless they possess a medical degree with a specialization in neuroscience. The same principle could be applied to any specific field of academic study; neuropsychology just happens to be the example I chose for this article.

With this basic understanding of the how the English Language is categorized we can now look at what the first pieces of advice is in Putnam’s guide to public speaking from 1922.

Public speaking for men begins in the social groups and clubs of men. In our present times this can easily be accomplished on Youtube and social media. However in the past in pre internet days public speaking was a skill developed in social clubs and educational institutions. It is a good social skill to develop regardless of what technology has to bring us.

Being a good Toastmaster requires a few simple principles to follow.

1. Do not “steal the thunder” of the person you are introducing. Do not be too elaborate in your introduction either, the speaker may not meet your vaulted rhetoric leaving the audience disappointed, which is not the job of being a Toastmaster.
2. Be careful of giving too many anecdotes about the speaker, one properly placed one is usually good enough.
3. Make a pleasant reference to the occasion to which you, the speaker, and the audience are at.
4. Arrange and meet with the speaker before hand to make sure he/she has received the invitation. Also a short discussion about the schedule of events, the topics to address in the speech, and what you the toastmaster are planning on saying in the introduction would also be helpful to make sure everyone attending is kept on their schedules.

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