Take public speaking tips from Abraham Lincoln (Actor David Selby)
Shorter is sweeter: “You can look at what a lot of people consider one of the greatest speeches, the Gettysburg Address. . . . Edward Everett [who spoke before Lincoln that day] gave a speech that was two hours long. Lincoln’s lasted three minutes.”
Play nice: “Even in that bitter war, the Civil War, Lincoln had this thing about letting the rebels up easy. . . . We had to be respectful. . . . I think maybe Lincoln felt he could do more with an ounce of encouragement than by knocking people over the head. He had such a strong moral code. . . . Lincoln saw [the Gettysburg Address] as a way to rise above politics.”
No sweat: “Lincoln had a sense of calmness, [even] under the most trying situations — and I can’t think of a more trying time than the Civil War.”
Study the classics: “I think for anyone in public speaking, it’s always great to go back and look at Lincoln’s second inaugural. If you’re in Washington, you can go to the [Lincoln] Memorial and see it.”
Background, check: “Know what you’re going to say and know why you’re saying it. . . . Lincoln didn’t like to speak off the cuff, extemporaneously. He liked to be prepared. We all do. We might like to say that we’re good at improvising, but when you’re talking about important things, it’s better to prepare.”
Don’t try to fake it: “What helped Lincoln so much was his compassion for his fellow man, for his soldiers. So anytime you’re getting up, you want to have a strong belief in what you’re saying. And if you don’t, it’s undoubtedly a mistake to venture into the area.”
Giggles are good: “Don’t be afraid to inject some humor. But only humor injected with a point. . . . [Lincoln] would tell one story after another and make jokes about his appearance.”
From Stan Wernz:
The Abraham Lincoln Library & Museum at Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate, TN, has announced a “Civil War Sesquicentennial Event for April 21, 2012. The topic is “War in the Mountains,” and features Dr. Earl J. Hess (The Stewart McClelland Distinguished Professor in Humanities, Lincoln Memorial University), Dr. John Inscoe (Albert B. Saye Professor of History, University of Georgia), and Dr. Steven Nash (Assistant Professor of History, East Tennessee State University). Dr. Charles Hubbard (Executive Director, The Abraham Lincoln Institute for the Study of Leadership and Public Policy, Lincoln Memorial University) will be the Moderator. This event will be held in Arnold Auditorium, at the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum. For more information, contact Carol Campbell(423-869-6439) or visit the website at www.Imunet.edu/museum.html.
Gerald Payn ( firstname.lastname@example.org ), Editor of “Lincarnations,” is preparing the next issue of “Lincarnations.” If you have an article for publication, please send it to Gerald.
2012 Convention information is now available. Look under Member Resources – Next Convention: http://www.lincoln-presenters.org/next_convention.html. Paper copies will be out in the mail shortly.
Also from Murray Cox:
Presenting the Gettysburg Address: I came across the following description of Lincoln’s presentation of the Gettysburg Address, with the source cited as an article by George Gitt, “Frist Meetings with Lincoln in War Day,:, Liberty magazine, November 1933.
“Lincoln began to speak. Word followed word so slowly that the value of each syllable was unduly magnified. ‘Fourscore and seven years ago our forefathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation’-here there was a decided pause; this pause I well remember because I held my breath, wondering what had happened to cause it-’conceived in liberty’-another pause and more high emphasis, this time on the word ‘liberty’-’and dedicated to the proposition that all mean are created equal.’
Beginning with the next sentence he spoke more rapidly, but somewhere near the middle of the address he slowed again to the tempo of the opening words…The deep resonant voice contineud:’…whether tath nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.’ These words were spoken very slowly indeed. With the next sentence he quickened his delivery, and when he came to the ‘gave the last full measure of devotion,’ tears trickled down his cheeks…”
From Murray Cox:
Where will we meet in 2014?: When we meet for our annual conference in April we will be deciding on the location of our 2014 conference, whcih will need to be a place where Lincoln walked. If you would like to have the conference at a location near to you, and are willing to organize it, please prepare a proposal for our consideration to vote on.