Whether you’re an entrepreneur, actor, musician, public speaker, writer, etc – basically any profession – there’s one ability that you need to be good at: Talking with people. Even with engineers, it was found that 70% of how successful you are is dependent upon your social skills.
One of the most important social skills is being able to think on your feet. Especially in the intense world of business, negotiations are everything, and being quick and smart in the moment is crucial to your success and growth.
Like anything in life, being good on your feet is a skill that can be sharpened and improved overtime. So for this blog post I’m going to give you my 5 BEST techniques for getting better at thinking on your feet.
1. Random Word Generator
Kicking this list off, a Random Word Generator is exactly what it sounds like: You hit a button and a random word appears. One great method, that’s less stressful than other ones on this list, is to hit the button and immediately start talking about the word presented.
Click here to check the generator out – it’s free and easy to use. If you want to really get better at this, I suggest doing this exercise with a friend. Even though it’s just one other person with you, it puts that extra social stress that helps build your conversational skills.
2. Random Conversations
One of the best ways, although scary at first, to get better on your feet is to just have random conversations with people in real life. One of your goals, regardless of where you are, should be to talk to someone random and see how long you can continue the conversation for (without being creepy).
I know some coaches suggest to try to make the conversation go over 30 seconds, but the truth is, it really depends. My best advice is to keep pushing the conversation as far as you can go without it being weird, and then stop there. Start with asking people for the time, and then work your way up to different topics.
3. Take Classes
There are tons of classes out there, but the best ones I would suggest are either Toastmasters, Debating or Improv. Especially with Debating, you’re forced to not only think on your feet but argue facts and various points. It’s one thing to think on your feet about a random subject, but it’s another thing to quickly think of an intellectual argument and comeback.
4. Film Videos
One thing I didn’t expect, when getting big into YouTubing, is how much it improved my ability to think on my feet. Before I would have to prepare tons of notes before a video, and now, I can literally hit record and just talk. Everything comes out in a linear fashion, which allows me to be efficient.
At the time of this post I have roughly 1,000 videos on my YouTube Channel, and one excellent aspect about videos is that you can rewatch them and critique yourself. If you want to combine techniques too, film yourself practicing with a Random Word Generator, or in a debate, to help improve yourself.
5. 10% Off
Last, but without question least, is to ask for 10% off when buying something. I saved this one for last because I feel like it’s the best way to get better at thinking on your feet. It combines the benefits of debating with the pressure of social interactions – plus an extra incentive because it saves you money.
What I really like about this technique is that the worst case scenario is they say no, so it’s not putting you in a really bad situation. In addition, 10% is a really small amount that any cashier can take off without getting in trouble, so it’s the perfect way to test your skills. I personally suggest trying this at a coffee shop to start, especially if you’re a regular.