We're afraid of speaking in front of others. Jerry Seinfeld on speaking:
"...to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy."
But - you WILL be called on to speak. Your boss will ask a tough question. Your staff member will ask something that puts you on the spot. In a department meeting, you'll be asked your opinion on something.
How can you be ready for it all?
You don't improve what you don't practice.
The fastest way to get better is to practice with a coach AND to record yourself speaking and listen to it. This can be uncomfortable, but discomfort = growth. Hit record on your phone and give a 30 second speech on a topic, every day.
Record and listen to yourself every day for 30 days and 10x your speaking.
#2: Have a generic framework ready.
A good basic framework is PREP: P - Point, R - Reason, E - Example, P - Point
Point is your takeaway or answer to the question. Reason is your background or thinking behind your answer. Example adds color with a story or analogy. And finally you conclude be restating the point again.
The more tools you practice with, the more prepared you will be.
#3: If you don't know the answer, don't dance around.
People can tell when you are filling time.
If you honestly do not know, say that, firmly. If you know where to look or who to ask, offer to follow-up in a separate conversation.
Speak confidently, even when you don't know the answer.
#4: Watch the time.
Some people love to talk.
But, listening to someone speak for 2-3 minutes uninterrupted can be frustrating if it's not purposeful. Make sure you are aware of the allotted time for you and when in doubt, cut it short.
Respect others time - make sure you aren't off on a tangent.
#5: Show your face & smile.
This depends on the environment.
In some corporate environments, many group calls are audio-only. You may want to match the norm for the meeting. However, if you'd like to stand out, choose to turn on your camera and smile.
Seeing someone smile builds rapport and friendliness.
With practice and some preparation, you can be ready for any impromptu speaking request.
Speak well & speak often.