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The Art of Lecturing
Revised Edition

written by "Lewis, Arthur M. (Arthur Morrow), 1873-1922"
...t times, at intervals of about ten minutes, they passed him notes asking him to stop. He read them in plain view of an audience which knew what they meant, and then tried to close, and finally did so, not by finishing his speech, but by shutting his mouth and walking off the platform. The next item was something which the audience had paid money to enjoy, but many had to leave to catch a last car home. As they passed me near the door, the men swore and the women came as near to it as they dared. And yet the speaker complained afterward of his treatment by the committee. When he began he received a fine ovation; had he finished at the end of thirty minutes he would have covered himself with glory; he spoke an hour and a quarter and most of those present hoped they would never be obliged to listen to him again. I thought somebody ought to play the part of candid friend, and I told him next day how it looked to me. He said: “I guess you are right; I believe I’ll get a watch.”  But this malady is usually much deeper than the question of having a watch. This speaker acquired it while addressing street meetings. A street audience is always changing in some degree. A hall lecture is not required and would be out of place. The auditors decide when they have had enough and leave the meeting unnoticed and the speaker launches out again on another question with fifty per cent of his audience new and his hopping from question to question, and ending with good-night for a peroration is quite proper on a street corner. Not only is it proper, but it is very successful, and good street speakers cultivate that method. This is why men who are excellent street speakers and who get their training out doors are usually such flat failures in a hall. Even when all is going well, an audience or some part of it will grow uneasy toward the close, not because they cannot stay ten or fifteen minutes longer, but because they do not know wh...

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