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Montana Freemason                               November 2014       Volume 90 Number 3


                            Brian Murphy, Deputy Grand Master

There is much more to getting a message across than just pronouncing words. Much depends on word
emphasis, volume, speed, pronunciation and enthusiasm.
While Geometry is employed by the “working” Mason, rhetoric is greatly needed when presenting lectures
and ritual.
It is not enough to work hard at memorizing and getting the words just right, there is much more to effective
communications. Major thought must be given to the one receiving the words and ideas. This is done through
the development of the practices that make for complete understanding and a pleasing experience.
Elocution is another word for rhetoric and is defined as “The art of effective public speaking.” It is indeed an
art, because it requires study, practice and concentration on basic principles. It involves proper pronunciation,
loudness, correct speed of speaking, proper emphasis on key words, and breath control.
The following are essential to the basic elements of elocution and rhetoric:
Understanding - The presenter must understand the full meaning of the words and their purpose.
Projection - A ‘big voice’ must be employed so that all in the room can hear.
Enthusiasm - Dull, monotone speech communicates lack of interest, which comes through the manner
of delivery. The better we understand the deep meaning of our ritual, the more effective we will be in
communicating it enthusiastically.
Speed Of Talking - There is a great temptation in recitation of a memorized piece to hurry and get it over with
as soon as possible. Pausing or talking slowly brings fear to some that they will lose concentration and forget
the words. Speech that is too rapid is annoying to the listener, harder to comprehend, and also conveys a lack
of enthusiasm.
Pausing - One of the most effective elements in elocution. In addition to a slow, deliberate speed of talking,
taking an occasional break not only helps the speaker to get a breath, but conveys a specific message to the
listener. “Pay attention to what I am about to say because it is IMPORTANT!”
Key Words - Not every word in a lecture, or even in normal conversation, has the same importance. Thought
should be given to emphasizing key words and phrase. This is a critical element in effective elocution.
Emphasize the last word in a sentence of phrase when appropriate. A good tendency is to consciously
emphasize the last word when you come to a break.


         Talk loudly enough to be heard by all.

         Talk slowly enough to be easily understood.

         Talk enthusiastically.

         Pause at appropriate times.

         Emphasize key words.

         Emphasize the last word of a sentence, where appropriate.

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