HENRY CLAY’S MEMORY OF NAMES.
One secret of Henry Clay’s popularity as a politician was his faculty of remembering the names of persons he had met. It is said of him that if he was once introduced to a person, he was ever afterwards able to call him by name, and recount the circumstances of their first meeting. This faculty he cultivated after he entered upon the practice of law in Kentucky, and soon after he began his political life. At that time his memory for names was very poor, and he resolved to improve it. He adopted the practice, just before retiring at night, of recalling the names of all the persons he had met during the day, writing them in a note book, and repeating over the list the next morning. By this practice, he acquired in time, his wonderful faculty in remembering the names of persons he had become acquainted with.
WRITING AS AN AID TO CORRECT TALKING.
To converse correctly—to use correct language in conversation—is also a matter of importance, and while this can be acquired by a strict attention to grammatical rules, it can be greatly facilitated by the habit of writing down one’s thoughts. In writing, strict regard is, or should be, paid to the correct use of language, and when a person, from constant writing, acquires the habit of using correct language, this habit will follow him in talking. A person who is accustomed to much writing, will always be found to use language correctly in speaking.
REQUISITES FOR A GOOD TALKER.
To be a good talker then, one should be possessed of much general information, acquired by keen observation, attentive listening, a good memory, extensive reading and study, logical habits of thought, and have a correct knowledge of the use of language. He should also aim at a clear intonation, well chosen phraseology and correct accent. These acquirements are within the reach of every person of ordinary ability, who has a determination to possess them, and the energy and perseverance to carry out that determination.