Who is Miss Abigail?

Abigail Grotke
Silver Spring, MD
email: missabigail at missabigail dot com
twitter: @DearMissAbigail

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Miss Abigail has a collection of over 1,000 classic advice books, spanning from 1822 to 1978 and covering a variety of topics, from love and romance to etiquette and charm. The collection sparked the idea for this site, then a book, Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage, which has inspired an Off-Broadway production of the same name!


Posts Tagged ‘public speaking’

Twelve Steps to Success in Public Speaking

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

enthusiasm is catchingI’ve been busy preparing for a talk I gave last week at the American Studies Association conference in Detroit. I was on a panel that discussed secondhand shops and thrift stores, and told all about purchasing books for this site.

Since I spend more time behind the safety of the keyboard, I was a bit nervous about speaking in public. Ruth Tolman’s Charm and Poise for Getting Ahead saved me, thankfully, and the talk went off without a hitch. And I didn’t even get a chance to size up the audience first!

Speech Now, or Forever Hold Your Peace

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

inspires respect and confidenceQ Dear Miss Abigail:

My boss has asked me to give a presentation at a conference, but I’m so nervous and don’t think anyone will listen to what I have to say. Do you have tips that will help me get through this?


A Dear Olivia:

How fitting this question is, as I sit in my home in Washington, D.C., listening to the helicopters fly by as they circle the Capitol building a few blocks away, where our President is at this moment giving that state of the union address thingie. I’m sure he doesn’t need any advice about giving a speech, but hopefully this will help calm your fears. It’s from a little book titled The First Book of How to Give a Speech (1963) by David Guy Powers.

1963: Good Posture Gives Poise

What is the first thing you notice about a person? Before he begins to speak you are apt to notice his appearance. If he stands tall, carries himself with dignity, and appears at ease, he usually inspires respect and confidence. The actor who wishes to impersonate a leader carries himself that way. He makes the audience realize the character even before he speaks his lines. If you wish to be a good speaker you must learn to convey meaning with posture as well as with words. Every good actor you see on television knows the value of looking the part.

Train yourself to express your meaning by effective gestures. Remember, ‘Actions speak louder than words.’ Your actions and your words should give one message to the audience. . . . A company advertising shoe polish once used this slogan, ‘Look at your shoes! Others do.’ A similar rule applies to your speech. ‘Look at your posture. Others do.’ Therefore, you should study to make your appearance say the same thing as your words.

Source: Powers, David Guy. The First Book of How to Make a Speech. New York: Frankin Watts, 1963.
~ pp. 24-25 ~