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Think Better on Your Feet – Part 1
October 15th, 2012 by Robert Moskowitz  Posted in Resumark News

Male Executive With Severe Headache - IsolatedWe all report to someone, and eventually - perhaps often - that very same someone will put us on the spot by asking an unanticipated tough question or making a pointed remark that requires an immediate response.

Some people are born with the ability to think on their feet and come up with a good answer to such a challenge. The rest of us need help in developing this useful and important ability. Once we master it, we will not only be able to come up with something worthwhile to say, we will have the ability to say it effectively. Those are valuable personal attributes, because people involuntarily tend to feel confidence in these kinds of remarks, and respect as smart and trustworthy the person who makes them.

Here are some suggestions to help you improve your ability to think better and faster on your feet:

Speak From a Place of Confidence

If you have inner doubts in unanticipated situations, as soon as you open your mouth they will come pouring out for everyone to see. So the first rule of learning to think on your feet is to follow that old saw: “Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

Of course, NOT speaking because you’re NOT thinking is NOT going to get you very far. So the second rule of learning to think on your feet is to steadily build your knowledge of the various situations in which are likely to you find yourself, and do some thinking about them before you ever get to that unanticipated situation.

It takes a while, but after you apply yourself for a while you’ll find:
  • You understand a good deal more about what’s going on around you,
  • You have at your fingertips a large array of knowledge about particular situations, and
  • You have a laundry list of worthwhile ideas to share with others.
All this will give you a ton of confidence, so when an unanticipated situation lands in your lap, you’ll feel more calm, collected, and ready to deal with it than ever before.

Prepare In Advance

It’s the very rare person who can formulate a solution to a problem or an effective plan of action right on the spot. Much more often, people are simply giving voice to a solution or a plan developed through long hours of study, analysis, brainstorming, and fine-tuning.

You’d be surprised at how much “thinking on your feet” is actually the result of “thinking in your seat” or “thinking while you eat” - well before you ever get to the unanticipated situation.

To do your preparation, mentally walk yourself in advance through a variety of high-pressure situations you might encounter. Consider what problems and opportunities might present themselves in these scenarios. Then prepare the best reactions to them that you can.

Armed with such detailed ideas and plans, you’ll find it much easier to look like you are thinking on your feet.

Next time, we’ll cover four more suggestions to help you improve your ability to think better and faster on your feet.
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Tags: tips, professionalism, advice, career-advice, in-the-workplace, confidence
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