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Chapter 23. Speaking Off-the-Cuff > Been There, Done That - Pg. 191

Speaking Off-the-Cuff 191 Been There, Done That Impromptu speaking follows three basic rules: 1. 2. 3. Have something important to say. Make your audience understand or believe it. Speak simply, directly, and meaningfully. Believe it or not, you already know how to speak off-the-cuff. You've been doing it for years, probably since you were a toddler. For example, when you go to the post office, nobody hands you a prepared speech. You simply go to the clerk and tell him or her what you want. When you go to the hairdresser, you're rarely at a loss for words (well, maybe after your hair is cut, but not before). You go about your daily business without writing speeches. And you do just fine at it. So when you're asked to speak off-the-cuff at a business conference, Rotary meeting, PTA gath- ering, or annual convention, it helps to remember that you're drawing on decades of experience. Below are some ways to tap your well of experience so you can make smooth, effective, and mem- orable impromptu speeches. Know Your Stuff An electrical engineer, a chemical engineer, and a Microsoft engineer were riding in a car. Suddenly the car stalled and stopped by the side of the road. The three engineers looked at each other with bewilderment, wondering what could be wrong. The electrical engineer suggested, "Let's strip down the electronics of the car and try to trace where a fault might have occurred."