The secret of “thinking on the spot” is to be prepared. Occasionally, though, when you’re put on the spot, the unanticipated questions and requests for your time and money can leave you feeling tongue-tied and wanting to head for the door.
To put your best response forward and prevent getting forced into some commitment that you might regret later, see if you can buy yourself some time.
- When someone says something that you don’t agree with, and you can’t speak up at that moment, you can declare that you need to get educated on the subject before chatting about it further. Bonus: Conversations are often easier when you think through the nuances and get prepared to assert your positions.
- When someone asks you to do something that you aren’t sure you want to do, buy yourself time by saying you must check on something or consult somebody before making a commitment. Bonus: Taking time before you say no can soften the news of your rejection.
Buy yourself more time and speak up later on your own terms. Even if you end up disagreeing with your interlocutor or declining her request, she’ll feel appreciated knowing you’ve given her opinion or request some thought.
Idea for Impact: Buying time—and sometimes stalling—is your prerogative. It shows consideration for others—and for yourself. It’s is a way of respecting your own wants and needs.