This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
THE following arrangements in a hall favor the speaker, who would have the best conditions by which he may-have influence with an audience.
1. The stand used for manuscript should occupy as little room upon the platform as possible.
2. All lights in the vicinity of the speaker, or upon the platform, should be so shaded that the audience cannot see them.
3. If convenient, the auditors upon the platform should be so seated that the speaker can occasionally turn and address them also.
5. The speaker should be carefully and well dressed, but not in the extreme of fashion. A Prince-Albert or dress-coat becomes the platform speaker who would appear to the best advantage before a fashionable audience.
6. The front part of the platform should have nothing upon it that can obstruct the view of the entire figure of the speaker. The position of the feet and lower part of the body frequently have much to do in enforcing an idea when accompanied by suitable words.
7. A large audience, a congregation well dressed, a handsomely furnished hall, an audience composed of the most respectable and influential in the community, and who give close attention - all these are favoring conditions, calculated to assist the public speaker in making a good impression.
"From grave to gay, from lively to severe," and vividly depicting each emotion or passion as it is indicated by the tongue.
True oratory springs from the impulses of the inner life as affected by outward circumstances, and the true orator is "a man terribly in earnest." Such a speaker needs no manuscript to aid him in his discourse. Observe the impassioned eloquence of Patrick Henry, on the eve of the American Revolutionary war:
"There is no retreat but in submission and slavery. Our chains are forged ! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston.. The next gale that sweeps from the North will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! . .I know not what course others may take; but as for me, - give me liberty, or give me death! "
The man who is confined to his manuscript composition on the platform is not an orator - he is only a reader. In this respect he lacks freedom of gesture, and is unable to face his audience and allow them to see the varying emotions caused by his subject reflected in his features.