Think on Your Feet: Tips and Tricks to Improve Your Impromptu Communication Skills on the Job by Jen Oleniczak Brown
Think on Your Feet: Tips and Tricks to Improve Your Impromptu Communication Skills on the Job by Jen Oleniczak Brown

Think on Your Feet: Tips and Tricks to Improve Your Impromptu Communication Skills on the Job by Jen Oleniczak Brown

In interpersonal communications, even the best-laid plans can go side ways and that’s perfectly normal. You might take account of all the possible scenarios, prepare for all upcoming situations, know exactly who you are and what version of you needs to come out for that meeting. You’ve read the other party’s situation emotionally and developed your emotional interleague to go with it, and still things might go poorly or simply meh.

Give yourself some time for ‘reflection’ and you’ll come better next time. And remember sometimes, the problem doesn’t always lie in you. Toxic people and environments are real and they do exist.


Interpersonal communication – the everyday professional communication

Balancing the line between being professional and being friendly isn’t tan easy one. But it can be easier if you actively listen to people. Put down your phone when somethings talking to you. If you’re giving undivided attention to that person and responding to that only, you’ve got a conversation.

  • Focus on the words coming out of their mouth.
  • Respond to the words and meaning.
  • Celebrate accomplishments.
  • Give specific feedback.
  • Attend to status.
  • Remember not everyone communicates like you. Communicate people in the way they want to be communicated.


Networking and small talk

With proper planning and preparation, you can significantly lower the nerves of networking nightmare. It’s helpful to plan for the things you can plan for and let other things simply happen. You can’t change how other people communicate but you can change how you get ready and respond to that.

  • Have a purpose and know your goals.
  • Know your pitch and know the one that suits a specific encounter.
  • Practice entrance and exit lines. Know your conversation starters.
  • Listen more. Talk less.
  • Watch your body language. Pay attention to how others feel as you enter the room.


Leading a meeting and leading in a meeting

Start by taking a moment to think about how your last meeting went. Were you leading or participating? What was the meeting style? Did everyone get what they wanted out of it? How did the majority feel? Were there things you wanted to say but didn’t?

Not all charismatic leadership tactics (CLT) work for all people, and that’s OK. But you can try and arm yourself with a toolbox so you can pull out what you need in all different kinds of situations.

  • Know what you want out of the meeting.
  • Keep your agenda on point.
  • Pick a CLT and focus on it.
  • Figure out the beginning and end.
  • Reflect.



Interviews, especially formal kinds, can be nervous and awkward for everyone involved. Interviewing people is an exhausting recess but you can prepare your toolkit to remain present at the moment.

With Sit-Prob-Sol, you first establish the situation by stating specifically who are there, why there are there and where they are. Then you introduce a problem and its stakes to make it worthwhile. There doesn’t need to be a happy ending but things do need to come to an end. The audience needs to know when to clap.

  • Do research.
  • Know your Q&A.
  • Mind your communications style.
  • Pivot and spin. Don’t lie.
  • When in doubt, Sit-Prob-Sol your answer.


Get out of your own way

We’re the worst enemy of our own. That’s especially true when you lack a preparation or allowing that awful imposter syndrome to take over you. Once you learn to get out of our own way, you start to tackle the real issues harder.

  • Know who, where, what and how.
  • Imposter syndrome isn’t you and doesn’t define you.
  • Prepare for raises and promotions.
  • Negotiation is all about taking initiate.
  • Remember you can’t change someone’s communication style, no matter how much you want to.


Presentation skills

Don’t make the presentations dreadful by making it all about yourself. Start with a firm foundation and structure. Build up at a proper pace and unfold things gradually.

  • Think about why people come to your presentation and what they want to learn from you.
  • Presentations no matter big or small require proper planning.
  • Rehearse and warm up.
  • Your audience wants you to succeed.
  • Add some specie where and when you can.