During my second batch of Intramuros tour today, I was trying to imitate Fulton J. Sheen, one of the first televangelist and one I wanted to imitate when I was younger. Dawn Macahilo, my friend found it so funny. Apparently, today is the 33rd death anniversary of the late archbishop who died on 9 December 1979. He was found dead in front of the blessed sacrament.
To commemorate this milestone, I would like to share an appendix from Thomas Reeves’s official biography of Fulton J. Sheen, “America’s Bishop.” It contains notes taken in 1979 by a certain Sister Ann Edward from a conversation she had with Sheen while waiting for some guests to arrive in a restaurant. She asked him for hints on how to present talks. Here were his answers:
1. Voice tone: Plato recalls tone three or four days after hearing a talk. It’s thetonal quality that strikes an audience.
2. When listening to a speaker, count the words on each breath. Indicate each word by a dash, and each pause by a stroke. If it’s -/-/, it’s dull, flat and stale.
3. Avoid a pulpit voice. Be natural. As Disraeli said, “There’s no index of character as sure as voice.”
4. Learn the value of pauses. Never for their own sake, but for emphasis or to allow the thought to sink into the audience. They need time for digestion.
5. A whisper can have more value than a shout. Macaulay said of Pitt, “Even a whisper of his was hear in the remotest corner of the House of Commons.”
6. If there’s a commotion, disturbance, or latecomers, do not raise the voice;lower it and the audience will try to catch the whisper.
7. The audience is infallible in judging if a voice is artificial or natural.
8. Let a first sentence be interesting. Do not state the obvious, e.g. “Today we celebrate a 25th anniversary.”
9. Only nervous speakers need water.
10. If brevity is the soul of wit, the secret of oratory is “know when to quit.”
11. Before beginning, pause a few moments. As a mother cannot forget the child of her womb, we can’t forget the child of our brain.
12. Start with a low voice.
13. Audience needs a come-on; feel superior, not timid or obsequious.
14. To begin with, have a story where you came out second best.
1. Talk naturally.
2. Plead vehemently
3. Whisper confidently.
4. Appeal plaintively.
5. Proclaim distinctly.
6. Pray constantly.
“Fulton J. Sheen, Servant of All” trailer:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PODRdXvbj0A
Fulton Sheen sampler on loneliness:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-U3g1TzXgxM