Being able to respond effectively to quick-fire or complex questions is a skill that can make or break your career. Little time is given to training professionals to handle difficult scenarios, despite it being such a valuable skill.

Many assume that the ability to think quickly is something that you either have or not, but in fact it is a cognitive process that can- and should- be practiced. Quick thinking involves pre-empting tricky questions, understanding what questions are really asking and remaining composed under pressure.

Attend this Quick Thinking course, led by communications expert Jo Clift, in order to gain the techniques and the confidence to think quickly and effectively, whatever the situation.

About the Chair: Jo Clift
Jo started her career in the arts as a communications professional and subsequently worked at the heart of government for over twenty years, mainly at the Cabinet Office. She was Head of Communications for the BSE Inquiry and then Press Secretary to Lord Falconer. She has worked closely with many ministers over the years, including Lord Peter Mandelson and Sir Oliver Letwin. She also worked at Number 10 in the Prime Minister’s press office.

Jo’s other government roles include creating the coalition’s ICT strategy, developing a new model for corporate shared services across Whitehall, and leading on high level board appointments to public bodies. Jo also gained private sector experience as a senior manager at Deloitte Consulting.

09:15 - 09:45


09:45 - 10:15

Chair's Welcome and Clarification of Learning Objectives

The Chair will discuss delegate experiences with quick thinking and measure current ability, in order to identify personal objectives for the day and tailor the course to specific requirements

10:15 - 10:45

The Need for Quick Thinking

  • Understand when and why quick thinking is essential
  • Learn about the impact of quick thinking in a business context
  • Discuss different approaches and the importance of practicing techniques
10:45 - 11:00

Morning Break

11:00 - 12:00

Workshop: Address the Barriers to Thinking Quickly

  • Identify internal and external factors that can inhibit your performance
  • Eliminate the element of surprise and buy yourself thinking time
  • Pick up on clues and cues, such as body language
12:00 - 13:00


13:00 - 14:00

Retrain Your Brain

  • Structure your thoughts logically
  • Learn techniques to block out distractions
  • Identify what a question is really asking
14:00 - 14:45

Maximise the Impact of Your Responses

  • Ensure your responses are engaging, relevant and well-articulated
  • Learn ways to measure the impact of your responses
  • Turn a tricky question into an opportunity for you
14:45 - 15:00

Afternoon Break

15.00 - 16:00

Putting It All Into Practice

Delegates will apply their learnings from the day to a series of group exercises and receive individual feedback from the Chair on the quality of their responses

16:00 - 16:15

Feedback, Evaluation & Close

Jo Clift

Communications Specialist

Jo started her career in the arts as a communications professional and subsequently worked at the heart of government for…

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De Vere Holborn Bars

138-142 Holborn

020 7706 7700

Q: Can I make a provisional booking?

A: Unfortunately, we do not accept provisional bookings. Registrations are subject to our terms and conditions. View terms and conditions here

Q: Can I book without a purchase order number?

A: Yes. Simply email [email protected] after you have booked the course, with your Purchase Order Number. Please quote your order number and the course you are booked onto.

Q: Is lunch included?

A: Yes, a two-course hot buffet is served at lunch. Tea and coffee are served throughout the day.

Q: I have special dietary requirements, how can I request this?

A: Special dietary requirements can be catered for, please ensure you include this in the further information box when registering your place. If you have forgotten to add this, you can also send your requirements to [email protected] or call 0800 542 9440. Please let us know as soon as possible so we can ensure your needs are met.

Q: I have just registered for the course, when will I receive the joining instructions?

A: You will receive the joining instructions and reminders, 2 weeks, 1 week and 3 days before the course date. Please check your spam box to see whether the joining instructions were sent there, if not please call 0800 542 9440 so we can have these sent to you immediately.