In response to our article on delivering impromptu remarks, a few people noted that their primary difficulty when put in the professional hot seat is that they don't seem able to think quickly enough to form a coherent and pertinent response that satisfies them. People do think differently and at different speeds. Some of us need to gather lots of information before we can reach a conclusion or even form a preliminary opinion. Others need only a little information to help them make an intuitive leap—or maybe they just process the bulk of it faster. So they are somewhat advantaged when it comes to making impromptu comments.
How can you become better at thinking on your feet? Here's an exercise that will help you learn to think faster. It requires you to make connections. It strengthens associative thinking, one of the major ways our minds attempt to group or categorize information and then link it to other pieces of information. It can serve as a sort of short-cut to forming your thoughts when you are asked to deliver comments but not given time to prepare.
In the exercise, we give you three words and you find one word that ties them together, one word that names a concept or category that all three words are a part of.
What, for instance, links Toast, Door, and Fry? (Answer: All three connect to the word "French.")
Here are some others:
- Book All Girl
- World Rockefeller Mollusk
- Struck Gaze Light
- Up Funeral Ship's
- Over Out Card
- Boy Grown Body
How did you do? Practice making such connections if speeding your thought processes is a priority for you. Connecting is, after all, a habit of the mind.