6 Tips for Thinking on Your Feet

Thinking on Your Feet


Suppose, you have been made in-charge of a region to develop business activities for your company and suddenly your boss calls you and asks about progress report. At that time if you fumble, it will create bad impression. Outcomes may be anything. You may be deprived of incentive that was announced earlier or anything that you have not thought. When you face such a situation, it is important that you should present your ideas with presence of mind in order to establish better communication with your peers that will lead to positive business growth.

This is not uncommon situation. Whether you are put on spot while presenting a proposal, attending a meeting, selling an idea, etc, articulating your ideas in unfavorable situations is a skill. Thinking on your feet is a desirable skill and when you master upon it, your astute and clever responses will boost confidence at what you are saying.

The Positive Aspect of Thinking on Your Feet

When you are able to translate your thoughts into rational speech in short time, you can draw a conclusion that your ideas will be heard by the audience. You also emerge as being persuasive, trustworthy and confident.

Confidence is the key while learning to think on your feet. When you deliver information, provide suggestions or give an opinion. You should know what you are talking about. This does not necessarily mean that you need to know everything. But, if you are confident about your subject, this will help you in remaining calm, which will produce positive effects in minds of listeners during the speech.

How to Think on Your Feet?

The secret to think on your feet has to be prepared.

  • Learn some tactics and skills.
  • Make some preparations to deal with situation that will put you under pressure.

When you find yourself amidst unexpected debate and questions, you can be ready for drawing on preparation and tactics and stay focused while you are composing your thoughts and preparing your response.

Go Through the Following Tactics and Tips

# Relax Yourself

This step is the opposite of how you feel when you are facing pressure. In order to make your brain think and keep your voice calm, you need to be relaxed as much as possible. What you need to do?

  • Firstly, take deep breaths.
  • Tighten invisible muscles for few seconds and release.
  • Take some time and give yourself an affirming and positive message.

# Listen Carefully

It is not a surprising fact that listening is ideal for thinking on your on your feet. Why you have to listen? This is to make sure that you totally understand the question or request before you deliver an answer. The chances of deviating from your thinking process rise, when you quickly deliver an answer. In order to sharpen your listening skills, you need to

  • Observe the body language along with what is being spoken
  • Look directly at questioner
  • Try to analyze what is being requested or suggested by the question. Why the person is asking such question and what is the intention behind it? Is this a test, legitimate request for getting more information or simply an attack?

# Request to Repeat the Question

If you are feeling pressurized, then request politely to repeat the question. This will give additional time for thinking about your response.

At first glance, many persons think that this act will make them look unconfident. But, it does not happen so. Rather it makes you appear concerned that you give appropriate response.

Such act also helps the questioner for rephrasing and asking question, which is relevant. By asking a person to repeat the question gives you another opportunity for assessing the intentions of the questioner.

If the repeated question appears to be aggressive than the first one, you should draw a conclusion that the questioner has intention to put you in uncomfortable situation.

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# Use Stall Tactics

Sometimes you need more time to clam down yourself and get your ideas straight in order to make an appropriate reply. The last thing you need is to blurt out first thing which comes in your mind. Often this is a self protective comment which only makes you look anxious and insecure rather than composed and confident.

# Repeat the Question Yourself

This helps to give to time for thinking and clarifying exactly what is being asked. It also provides opportunity of rephrasing if required and putting positive spin on request.

# Narrow Down the Focus

Here, you need to make a query by your own for not only to elucidate, but to shed light on convenient reach.

# Ask for Explanation

This act will compel the questioner to become more specific towards the issue.

# Ask for Definition

Specific terminology and jargon may become problematic for you. Ask the questioner to have ideas or words clarified to ensure that you are talking about same thing.

# Use Silence for Your Benefit

You are conditioned for believing that silence is uncomfortable. However, if you use it occasionally, it shows that you have full control over your thoughts and confident in your ability for answering aptly. When you rush to deliver an answer, you run out of words. Taking pause for collecting thoughts tells your brain to slow everything down.

# Stick to One Point

When you are under pressure, there is high risk that you will answer a question with little or more information. If you deliver too short answer, the conversation will slip into interrogation phase.

When you give long reply, people will lose interest on you. You are not asked to deliver speech on the subject. The questioner wants to know specific information. Respect that and give answer by providing supporting evidence.

This kind technique provides you focus. Rather than tying all ideas together, which are coming inn your mind, pick up the relevant point and one supporting fact and allow yourself for answering assuredly and accurately.


No one loves to face unexpected situation. But, you cannot say when such situation may arise. By following the above said tips, you can easily handle the situation under pressure and come out with best results.

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