Cha, cha, cha for the brain.

Thinking on Your Feet

Learn the confidence to think differently and surprise the people around you.

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This course includes

19 Bite-sized Videos With Actionable Learning Takeaways

Content Delivered By Our Expert Instructors

Professionally Filmed And Scripted Videos

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Thinking on Your Feet

Learn the confidence to think differently and surprise the people around you.

Course Outcome

  • How to improvise
  • How to be spontaneous
  • How to relax and be present under pressure
  • How to be and appear, congruent

Thinking on Your Feet

Learn the confidence to think differently and surprise the people around you.

Course Outline

How We Think Spontaneously

  • How we Think Spontaneously
  • Writer Malcolm Gladwell looked at a recent Pentagon war game exercise and found that the winning side used far less logical analysis and far more intuition in the way they conducted it.

Being Present

  • Being Present
  • It’s all about owning your space. When you’re mindful with body language you can maintain your own focus and others’ focus on you. To own your physical space, align your spine and physically orient yourself openly towards the audience (even if they’re on the phone). Your presence will grow and your focus sharpen.

Being Relaxed

  • Being Relaxed
  • Relaxation is crucial for Thinking on your Feet. The quickest way to relax, re-centre yourself and maintain focus, is with breathing. Square breathing is a way to proactively create this state of being.

Brain Science

  • Brain Science - Part 1
  • The medial prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain associated with self-expression. Researchers describe this as a mental narrator that keeps tabs on the story of your life. This cortex is closely associated with impulse control, making people think twice before they drink a milkshake, order a third scotch or place a bet at the track – a sort of mental curb that keeps the neurons in line.

  • Brain Science - Part 2
  • There are varying levels of depth and involvement to our brainwork when we’re thinking on our feet. Innovation blogger Nick Skillicorn says, “When people are asked to come up with ideas for a challenge, most people’s minds will provide solutions in a sequence'. This video describes the sequence.

  • Brain Science - Part 3
  • Ever had one of those 'eureka moments' of insight that appear to come out of nowhere? Maybe when you’re in the shower or exercising, or just after you’ve woken up? Even though you’re in a relaxed mental state, your brain is evidently still doing work 'offline'. This sometimes results in new ideas you didn’t consciously create.

  • Brain Science - Part 4
  • How are ideas formed? Sometimes slowly and sometimes in the blink of an eye. Neurologist Vincent Walsh points out that in the brain, Ideas are new connections between separate pieces of existing knowledge and context. Every idea builds somehow on your experiences, memories and current mental activity...

Stress and Self-belief

  • Stress and Self-belief
  • Legendary Chicago teacher of comedy improvisation Del Close is famous for urging students to, among many other things, “follow the fear.” Thinking on your Feet with clients, in a pitch, in a difficult conversation or professional confrontation can be scary. Anger or anxiety can seem to surround us.

The Gut

  • The Gut - Part 1
  • Improvisation guru Keith Johnstone says that someone “whose inspired, is being obvious. He’s not making any decisions, he’s not weighing one idea against another. He’s accepting his first thoughts.” 'Going with the gut' is not appropriate 100% of the time, but it's equally limiting to believe it’s never the way to go...

  • The Gut - Part 2
  • 'Going with the gut' can feel like a leap of faith. However, it’s not a reckless, random guess, but a choice to listen to your intuition, to make a holistic assessment, and to heed any hunches you may have.

Notice and Engage

  • Notice and Engage
  • When we’re effectively Thinking on our Feet we’re often simply noticing and wondering. We see other people in the room and notice their body language, energy, anxiety, pace, breathing and so on. This video suggests that now is the time we most need to stay open to possibilities...

The Bias Trap

  • The Bias Trap - Part 1
  • In his book 'Blink' one of Malcolm Gladwell’s interview subjects admits “I've served as a judge in auditions listening to musicians without screens, and I can assure you that I was prejudiced. I began to listen with my eyes, and there is no way that your eyes don't affect your judgement. The only true way to listen is with your ears and your heart.”

  • The Bias Trap - Part 2
  • Anecdotal and availability bias are often the most common cognitive biases that plague people's reasoning. Anecdotal bias consists of taking evidence from stories that have been 'heard about'. And where only one or a few anecdotes are presented, there's a larger chance they may be unreliable...

Active Listening

  • Active Answering
  • British improv guru Keith Johnstone has said “In life, most of us are highly skilled at suppressing action. All the improvisation teacher has to do is to reverse this skill and he creates very gifted improvisers. Bad improvisers block action, often with a high degree of skill. Good improvisers develop action.”

  • Empathy
  • Active listeners also use tools like empathy and validation. “What you’re describing sounds incredibly frustrating”, will probably land better than, “Don’t worry about it — you’ve got nothing to be concerned about!”. The latter response shows that you’re pushing ahead to the solution, invalidating their concerns, and not really listening respectfully.

The Power of Saying Yes

  • The Power of Saying Yes
  • You can bolster your active listening by behaving like an improviser. Improvisers use the core approach of saying and thinking “yes, and…” to offers they hear from others...

Training Going Forward

  • Training Going Forward
  • Our old friend Malcolm Gladwell writes that “Being able to act intelligently and instinctively in the moment is possible only after a long and rigorous course of education and experience”. We agree, as does Nick Skillicorn. In this video we recommend several of his short term ways to put your brain into the alpha mental state for divergent thinking.


  • Actions
  • In this final video of the course we provide you with some ideas from Lorri Freifeld of the Dale Carnegie Institute. She suggests suggests there are ways to move from what she calls 'awkward and emotionally constrained' to 'automatic and inspired'.

Featured Instructors

Meet our expert instructors who are featured in these videos to take you on your personal learning journey. They have written and designed this course using their extensive experience to provide you with actionable learning takeaways.

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