Mastering Masonic Speech-Making
There are many different ways that Freemasonry gives opportunities for self-development to its members. One aspect of Lodge membership often left uncelebrated is how Freemasonry can be a very good gradual and systematic training school in speech-making.
Speech-making is a wonderful way to develop confidence, cultivate eloquence, improve self-control and learn to express oneself. Words are thoughts made manifest, and learning to control your words also allows you to skilfully direct your own inner voice. Rhetoric is, after all, one of the seven liberal arts Masons are encouraged to study and practice.
It’s a gradual training system that starts on your initiation with just a few words of thanks and then develops to more detailed toasts and responses, including some where you are representing others.
Remember that the Lodge is a friendly environment filled with people interested in what you have to say and excited to see you succeed!
The good thing is you can learn at your own pace after your initiation and participate in the toast as little or as much as you like.
The article explores recommended readings available at the Shop at Freemasons’ Hall to aid in developing the art of speech-making.
Masonically Speaking by Yasha Beresiner.
This is a light-hearted and inspirational book that covers everything from how to respond to a toast or prepare for if you have to give one to how to actually give a lecture or after-dinner talk on a specific subject. Written by a professional speechmaker, it’s well-illustrated, easy to read and light-hearted. This isan ideal title for someone who already feels comfortable talking in front of others and is just seeking inspiration and advice from a well-experienced hand.
Want to cover all bases?
Masonic After Dinner Speaking by Laurence Ager
If you are feeling a bit nervous or just want to know everything in detail, this is the book you need. It’s like having a patient Past Master talks you through every single detail, and explain everything that happens in the Lodge in detail.
No chance to prepare?
The Freemasons Handbook for Toasts and Speeches by Yasha Beresiner
Put this book in your pocket or regalia case for those surprise moments!
This book contains a selection of ready-prepared speeches that Freemasons can use at short notice at the festive board. Containing multiple versions of all possible Masonic toasts, this book includes the toast to the Initiate, to the guests, the response on behalf of the guests, the toast to the Worshipful Master and many more.
The candidate could not make it.
Lodge Talks by Mike Karn
It’s the moment every Lodge dreads. The trains are on strike, or the car breaks down, or something else happens, which leads to someone essential to the meeting not being able to turn up. That's when this book comes in. This book covers 15 talks with a range of interesting topics that can just be read out. Produced with large print and a ring-bound spine, there is no need to rehearse; you can just put the book on the pedestal and read confidently.
Now that you’re well on your way to master the art of Masonic speech-making, make sure to have a look at this list of top five books that can help you learn the Ritual. And remember, practice makes perfect. A thank you to Martin Faulks for his contributions to the realisation of this article.