Even people who are unafraid of public speaking get uncomfortable when asked to talk off-the-cuff. In the few minutes before you have to go up on stage, think of the main line you want to say and lead with it.
Picture: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr
Extemporaneous remarks often have a speaker rambling on and the audience losing track and interest. Harvard Business Review recommends delivering your punchline first:
When I worked in consulting, one of the cardinal rules of communication was "punchline first." Any presentation should have a clear thesis stated up front so that listeners can easily follow and interpret the comments that follow. I can't tell you how many times I've seen business presenters ramble through a speech with the audience wondering to the very end about the point of the comments. Giving a good business speech is not like telling a good joke. Don't save the punchline for the end.
The full article has some other great tips, like remembering what you want to talk about instead of getting caught up in how you will say it. In fact, you can also couple it with other tips on public speaking to deliver a memorable address.
5 Tips for Off-The-Cuff Speaking [Harvard Business Review]