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Mercury Press Series Read Description

The Art of Lecturing

(CW 339)

December 1994
More details
  • Publisher
    Mercury Press
  • Published
    6th December 1994
  • ISBN 9781957569390
  • Language English
  • Pages 120 pp.
  • Size 5.5" x 8.5"

6 lectures, Dornach, October 11–16, 1921 (CW 339)

Lecturing is an art that requires command of many technical aspects. Novices tell all they know, or worse—whatever they have read about a subject. They either bore or overwhelm listeners with a flow of information. Master speakers know their audience and evoke wonder and insight. How is this done?

These lectures form the “Swiss Orientation Course,” or “The Speakers' Course.” They address the art of effective speaking, clarifying thought content, knowing one’s audience, verbal formulation, ethics of speaking, the effects of lecturers on their listeners, lyrical speaking, speech exercises, repetition, and full immersion in one’s topic so that the speaker will be listened to and heard.

This book is a translation from German of Anthroposophie, soziale Dreigliederung und Redekunst: Orientierungskurs fuer die oeffentliche Wirksamkeit mit besonderem Himblick auf die Schweitz (GA 339).

C O N T E N T S:

LECTURE 1: Guidelines for the preparation of a talk: our thoughts interest no one; our will impulses annoy everyone; only our feelings constitute the effectiveness of a talk. The thought content must be thoroughly settled in advance. Verbal formulation of the first and the last sentences. Our thought preparation affects the will; our enthusiasm affects the listener’s thinking.

LECTURE 2: Historical viewpoints concerning the threefold order and the development of speech. Beautiful speaking, correct speaking, and good speaking. Humanism and pragmatism. The need for developing a true ethics of speaking.

LECTURE 3: Letting experiences flow into the composition of the lecture. Only the proletarian has concepts about the three areas of the social organism.

LECTURE 4: Pedantic lecturers upset the listeners’ stomachs. Learn lecturing by listening: watch how others do it, good or bad. Reluctance to speak is the virtue, not eagerness to hear one’s own voice. A debater turns his opponent’s image and word against him. Jokers create too much acidity in the listeners’ stomachs. Words precede deeds.

LECTURE 5: Lyrical speaking for spiritual life; dramatic speaking for rights-relationships; epic speaking for economic conditions. About economic life within the social organism. The formulation of key sentences. Speech exercises and speech gymnastics; the effect of coffee and tea on the speaker; respect for the audience through proper preparation.

LECTURE 6: Repetition in varied formulations helps the listener to comprehend. The use of questions gives the audience a moment to breathe in. Logical trains of thought put the audience to sleep. Unusual formulations and word order keep the listeners attentive. Illustrations and pictures convince and are remembered. The audience listens with the speech organs. The speaker must be fully immersed in his topic. He must have thorough knowledge of the events of the time. The movement for the threefold social order cannot be separated form Anthroposophy.

Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner (b. Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner, 1861–1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up. As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe’s scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings. The influence of Steiner’s multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.