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Provokes Sympathy- Mark Twain Reveals Stage Fright

I recall the occasion of my first appearance…I got to the theatre forty-five minutes before the hour set for the lecture. My knees were shaking so that I didn’t know whether I could stand up. If there is an awful, horrible malady in the world, it is stage fright—and seasickness.

Mark Twain is famous known as the author of Huckleberry Finn and the Innocents Abroad. The speech, Mark Twain Reveals Stage Fright, reflected three most important elements for provoking sympathy through story-telling, The major part of this peace is Mark Twain sharing one of his experience of before and after speaking publicly for the first time in front of live audience.

First, sharing simple, little things is key for a speaker to shape the vivid description of the story in front of the audience. Many tiny movements and flash of thoughts that sound trivial but could make a huge difference. When describing the wait before the event starts, Mark Twain remarks “It was dark and lonely behind the scenes I that theater, and I peeked through the little peek holes they have in theater curtains and looked into the big auditorium. That was dark and empty, too” This motion is familiar to everyone who has spoken on the stage before which makes it easier for the audience to create an immediate connection.

Second, though starting excessive amount of sentences with “I” seem repetitive in terms of variety of sentence structures, it does create a unique effect. Example like “I bound myself by a hard-and-fast- contract so that I could not escape. I got to the theater forty-five minutes before the hour set for the lectures.” The way audience perceives, the sentences with “I”, were somehow more easy and direct for the brain to process and relate the experience and feeling.

Third, placing pauses, both in written or oral presentation, in the story and inserting thoughts or short comments could have an overall better result for describing the experience. “I walked up and down- I was young in those days and needed the exercise- and talked and talked” This format almost seems like the speaker is involved in a daily conversation and sounds personal too. Playing with the changes of tones might have some additional effect which could boost the audience’s experience.

Published inSpeech Analysis

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