CNN and Real Simple help us us think faster and better on our feet through improv (excerpt):
1. The “yes…and” technique
The “yes…and” technique gives you the chance to acknowledge what’s been said and then move the conversation to a new place, where you just might discover something — or someone — delightful.
Using “yes…and” can also help you direct a conversation to where you want it to go. . . .
2. Go with your gut
Try to break the habit of second-guessing yourself before you speak. While you’re busy thinking up the “right” response, that awkward silence is settling in.
The key is to trust your instinct. And the key to that is to practice, so when it comes to the crunch, you know your intuition isn’t going to pull any lousy tricks on you.
3. Make everyone else in your group look good
How it works: Here’s what you learn in improv: You’re nothing without somebody else. There’s nothing to improvise without someone to improvise with. The more you trust others to be your props, the more you invite them to shine, the stronger you get.
How to make it work for you: In any situation, practice acknowledging the others in your group (the “yes”) and always make an effort to promote their ideas (the “and”). It quite simply makes for better conversation.