A Chairman's Or Presidents Speech
( Originally Published 1901 )
At a public meeting some one interested in the object for which it has convened calls the assembly to order. After securing attention he proposes the name of some person as chairman or president. When the nomination is seconded he takes the vote and announces the election. It will then be in order for the person chosen to take a position facing the assembly and to make a brief speech.
" Ladies and Gentlemen: I have no wish to disparage your judgment, although I think it might have been exercised to better advantage by electing some of the able persons I see before me. But I thank you for this honor, which I appreciate the more highly and accept the more readily because of my deep interest in the question of —, which is now before us. First, however, please nominate a secretary."
When, however, the president or chairman elected is himself a prime mover in the business for which the meeting is called, it will be perfectly proper for him to extend his speech, upon accepting the chair, by stating clearly but briefly the object of the meeting; or, if he prefers, he may ask some one in whose powers of plausible and persuasive statement he has confidence to do this in his place. Formal argument is not advisable in the opening speech; but the best argument consists in giving a compact statement and ample information. In this way the cause may be half won by the chairman's speech or the speech of his proxy.