Quick-witted people are quick-witted because they often respond quickly. Quite simply they have a lot of practice at being quick-witted.
If they do it often enough, they’ll hit the mark often enough. And can learn from every hit. The laughter of the group confirms: Well done! More of this!
But it’s also true that quick-witted people don’t always hit the mark. On the contrary. Quite often they miss the target. Sometimes big time. It’s the mass that compensates for this. If you score enough hits, the missed shots don’t matter much. It’s not the many so-so comments that are remembered but the few bull’s-eyes.
Quick-wittedness is one of those skills where perfection is completely counterproductive because the perfect opportunity has long passed while you’re still looking for the perfect answer. Quick to respond, quick to take the win, quick to move on if it wasn’t a hit.
The crucial thing is this: You can’t learn this in theory because it always requires spontaneity.
Spontaneity has to be practiced. If only because the nervousness of the first time needs to be overcome so that it doesn’t get into your way. If you rarely even try to be quick-witted, the problem is that each time will feel like the first time.
So, if you want to become more quick-witted, the next conversation is the best time to start. Let go of perfection, respond quickly, see what happens, and learn from it.
Yet, allow me to ask one more question: Why do you actually want to become more quick-witted? Why do you feel you need to be quicker to respond?
Being quick-witted is one thing. But when the laughs have faded, and then the much more thoughtful comment comes from someone in the background … that comment often takes a conversation much deeper.
That’s why you might also want to consider this approach: Listen better, think deeper, share more generous thoughts – even if that takes a bit longer.