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A How to Guide to Thinking On Your Feet

No one likes being put on the spot, especially during a business meeting or when talking with current or potential clients. But, the truth is that it’s bound to happen at one point in your career. Being stumped doesn’t feel good for anyone involved. As entrepreneurs, we want our clients to feel safe with us and to trust us to know our stuff. Whether you’re having an off day, or you don’t know how to respond, we have some tips that will help you out of these uncomfortable situations. So, the next time you’re coming up with nothing, remember these:

  • Prepare. Sometimes these situations can be avoided by preparing for meetings adequately. Try forecasting the topics that are most likely to come up into conversation and take notes on points you need to get across. Just like in interview situations, try thinking through questions you may be asked to answer and prepare your response. Even if these questions don’t come up, the responses you’ve previously brainstormed may help enhance your conversation.

  • Respond Strategically. ’t always prepare for everything that’s thrown our way. But we do have the ability to respond slowly and intentionally. You may need time to process the question being asked and come up with a response—and it’s okay to ask for this, even nonverbally. Take a deep breath and use body language, like a head nod, to show that you’ve understood the question and are processing an answer. Responding genuinely will be received better than fabricating a response that lacks truth and depth.

  • Repeat. ’re being heard. If you’ve been presented with a situation or question that you’re not sure how to respond to, try summarizing the question or comment back to the person asking. This is another way to let the person on the receiving end know that they’re being heard. This may help you uncover any underlying concerns your client may have presented in their question or comment, and will guide you in your response.

  • Ask for Clarification. When we don’t know how to respond, we can always ask for clarification. Using responses like Can you tell me more about that? not only buys you time to come up with an answer, but will also give you more information to work with.

  • It’s Okay Not to Know. It’s impossible to know everything. You might find yourself in situations where you’re truly stumped, and that’s okay. Answer the question or respond to the situation the best way you can, and acknowledge the pieces that are missing.

Navigating the waters of entrepreneurship is not easy! But, the next time you find yourself stumped, consider using these tips to help you out of sticky situations, or contact us here for additional help.

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