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Man Speaking SpontaneouslySpeaking extemporaneously, impromptu, or ad-lib requires preparation.

The most basic, inviolable rule of public speaking is never to speak without being prepared. That leaves you with only two options: 1) Avoid any gathering where you could even conceivably be asked too speak, of 2) figure out how to prepare for the unexpected.

Mark Twain, who in his day was as admired for his speaking as he was for his writing, observed that “it takes three weeks to prepare a good ad-lib speech.”

Here are some suggestions for preparing yourself for those situations when you’re pressed into “saying a few words” without being given time to prepare:

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