Have you ever seen a coworker caught unaware in a certain impromptu situation, failing to act quickly or smoothly? As much as you don’t want to be that guy, being able to react spontaneously to any situation, and make yourself look good while doing it, is a lot easier said than done.
Fortunately, there are ways to get better at thinking on your feet, and it all starts with practicing the following steps below.
Live in the Now
Keeping your head out of the clouds and your feet on the ground is an essential step to thinking on your feet. Refrain from distractions, focus your attention on your surroundings and whatever it is you’re doing. It’s much easier to come up with sensible solutions to problems this way.
Prepare for the Unexpected
If you can’t put your mind to rest, put it to good use. You’re better off directing your distracted mind to think of a variety of different scenarios, assessing these hypothetical situations, and coming up with different solutions? It sounds a lot like daydreaming, but it’s a useful mental exercise.
Olympian Michael Phelps happens to use this strategy, thinking of a hundred different ways things can go wrong in any situations, and never caught off-guard as a result. You might not be a record-breaking, gold-winning Olympic swimmer, but at least you can think like one, right?
Learn to Let Go
Anxiety blurs thinking and slurs speech almost as bad as liquor does. This reaction usually comes from a sense of uncertainty in yourself or your communication skills. Let these negative emotions go. Think of it this way: Worrying about how dumb you might sound is only going to make you perform as bad as you speculate. Focus on doing a better job next time, learning from your mistakes, and thinking positive.
Fake it Until You Make It
Some things are better said than done. Genuine, lasting confidence isn’t something you can buy or acquire at a moment’s notice. It takes weeks, months, and even years of practice to thicken your skin. Until then, at least try to look like you’ve got it all together, and eventually, you’ll get there.
Take a Moment
Surprises of the worst kind can put you in a panic, and we all know not to act out of panic. Faced with an unexpected situation, give yourself some time to process the situation, take a deep breath (or a few), then meet your challenge head-on with the steadiness you’ve just acquired.
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