In public speaking, a little preparation goes such a long way. I'm looking forward to three holiday get-togethers where guests may be asked to "say a few words." I've prepared by spending three minutes with Joan Detz's invaluable book entitled (what else) Can You Say a Few Words? Now I have three sets of notes ready, each on the back of a business card. Sure, I'll improvise, but the notes will keep me on track. Short and sweet is how I like my speeches, whether I'm the speaker or the audience.
Almost everything I know about speechwriting, in short or long form, I learned from Joan. Her seminars in Philadelphia are well worth attending. They've helped me not just with writing and speaking but with presenting and listening. Joan's 2011 schedule is at http://www.joandetz.com/.