There are men and women of excellent natural ability who do not accomplish half what they might if they would exercise self-control in the denial of appetite.

Many writers and speakers fail here. After eating heartily, they give themselves to sedentary occupations, reading, study, or writing, allowing no time for physical exercise. As a consequence the free flow of thought and words is checked. They cannot write or speak with the force and intensity necessary in order to reach the heart; their efforts are tame and fruitless.


Careful attention and training should be given to the vocal organs. They are strengthened by right use, but become enfeebled if used improperly. Their excessive use, as in preaching long sermons, will, if often repeated, not only injure the organs of speech, but will bring an undue strain upon the whole nervous system. The delicate harp of a thousand strings becomes worn, gets out of repair, and produces discord instead of melody.

It is important for every speaker so to train the vocal organs as to keep them in a healthful condition, that he may speak forth the words of life to the people. Everyone should become intelligent as to the most effective manner of using his God-given ability, and should practice what he learns. It is not necessary to talk in a loud voice or upon a high key; this does great injury to the speaker. Rapid talking destroys much of the effect of a discourse; for the words cannot be made so plain and distinct as if spoken more deliberately, giving the hearer time to take in the meaning of every word.


When a speaker talks in the proper way, taking deep, full inspirations, and throwing out the voice in clear, distinct tones, the whole being is benefited. The exercise of my lungs in deep breathing, as I have engaged in public speaking, has been a life-preserver to me.

Care is always to be taken not to strain the vocal organs. They are to be kept as smooth as possible. When you are speaking before a congregation, let the abdominal muscles have the hardest part of the work to do. The light given me for you is that you are to do more public speaking, and that you are to be sure, when speaking, to exercise the abdominal muscles. Your brain has been overstrained. Take heed to the things I write you, and you will see that my words are true. As you engage in the work the Lord points out for you, the Spirit of God will impress minds through the words you speak. The spoken word will make a deeper impression on hearts than the printed word.


This article is excerpted from the book The Voice in Speech and Song, pp. 198-200 by Ellen G. White.