Last night (20150813), honey panda shares with me on the importance of quick thinking in work and business. This is also to ensure that we are not taken advantages of (for example, we are asked to over work).
We must develop an ability to "see patterns and connections that others don’t see, and look at the same data in new and different ways." Quick thinking can help us to avoid awkward silences and make others look good.
Thus, I summarize some ways to develop quick thinking. I believe that we can enhance our skills of thinking on our feet.
Practice makes perfect. Do improvisations. Take quizzes / tests often. Rehearse. Prepare some what ifs and predict some questions. Join a public speaking club e.g. Toastmaster. Create a short presentation on particular topics and present to critically constructive audience (it can be just honey panda or little prince in the first step).
Relax. Remind ourselves on our good moments to quickly gain self-confidence. Breathe. Breathe using our stomach.
Listen. Ensure that we fully understand the question or request before we reply. Listen to what is not said by observing body language. Why is this person asking this and what is the intention?
Ask. Ask for a definition because some terms may mean differently to different people. We can request for the question to be repeated (we have more time to think about our response).
Acknowledge others. In any situation, practice acknowledging the others in your group, say Yes more. Always make an effort to promote the ideas of everyone else in your group in a spirit of making everyone else in your group look good.
Use the yes…and technique. If we repeat what someone else says and then start next phrase with ‘and’ that comment can become conversation. Do not worry about the repeating part, because we are simply acknowledging what is been said. This technique can also help us direct a conversation to where we want it to go.
Apply Pareto (80-20 rule). In anything, a few (20%) of the people, facts, analyses involved are important, and a large proportion (80%) are irrelevant. Practice quick summarizing and drawing our conclusions without sifting through the remaining 80%.
Use pomodoro technique / a timer when we study new information. This helps us to focus as we know that time is limited.
Read more on the subject. Some books that I would like to read include Quick Thinking on Your Feet by Valerie Pierce, Quick Wits: A Compendium of Critical Thinking Skills Activities by Marlene Caroselli, and Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell.