It never fails. At some point in life, everyone has found themselves briefly confounded by a fast-talking individual who either makes fun of us or shifts a conversation quickly in such a way that we are left speechless or even embarrassed. If you are wondering how to be more quick witted, however, then we have some good news.
There are a few things which you can do to level the playing field so that the next time you need a quick retort or a snappy comeback then you will have it ready. Let’s talk about how to be more quick witted for future encounters!
Write down the funniest taunts thrown at you
When someone hurls an exceptionally funny insult at you, rather than take offense, take it into inventory. Writing down those zingy deprecations into a notebook can eventually create a treasure-hoard that you can draw on later for the next individual that tries to do this to you.
There is nothing wrong with stealing jokes in this fashion, after all, if it was thrown at you, it’s not your fault if you catch it, keep it, and throw it at someone else who deserves it!
Prepare a little self-deprecation humor
That little treasure hoard of yours can serve a dual purpose, in that you can also insult yourself before anyone else does, all while wearing a wry, yet bored smile that indicates to the person who was about to insult you that you find them tiresome and that you’ve got a thick skin and a good sense of humor. Then just walk away, looking amused.
Many comedians such as Rodney Dangerfield made careers out of humor like this and you can look quite witty indeed by spouting out a better joke than the person confronting you… before they can even speak.
Give it a try and see how it goes over.
Practice renaming things
A way to improve your observational wit is to practice taking everyday objects and renaming them. This can be done by exaggeration, such as referring to a collection of potted plants as a ‘jungle’, or by a more abstract observation, like calling a beard a ‘soup catcher’. It’s a skill that you can pick up but you’ll have to practice.
Take a notebook with you on a few outings to the park or just generally around town and write the name of something and then try to give it your own name. Make a list and over time your observations will be sharper and will come naturally to you in conversation.
Read a few books on caricature
A great way to learn to be witty in an insult contest is to study a caricature book. Caricature artists are trained to exaggerate facial features in their art in a humorous manner. These books can teach you to zero in on features that people will be the most uncomfortable with should you shine a spotlight on them.
Warning: This sort of wit is best served with a good pair of sneakers because you might have to make a quick exit. Practice this at your own peril!
Consider improv classes
A great way to sharpen your wit is to take improve classes. Improv theatre teaches you to think on your feet, as people suggest situations and you have to act them out. Wit is like a muscle and it toughens up and gets more powerful with practice and while Improv can be daunting to learn at first, the lessons that it teaches will last you a lifetime.
Play with unexpected associations
Wondering how to be more quick witted? Well, unexpected associations are fun. They make the other person pause for a moment and it makes you look like you are a few steps ahead of the pack. For instance, if someone you dislike is walking over and you want to quickly disarm them you might casually remark, ‘man, she gave you an ugly look” and when your target looks confounded and asks, “who” you can reply ‘Mother Nature” and continue strolling by.
In that example you’ve swapped out the expected ‘person’ for ‘Mother Nature’ and it packs a wallop.
Unexpected associations don’t have to be nasty, of course. If a friend asks, “would you like some fries?” you could always reply to them “no thanks, I’m trying to quit” as if the food were cigarettes or some other unwanted addiction. Your renaming notebook is a good place to also write associations, as the skill improves by practice.
As you can see, there are a number of ways to sharpen up both the appearance of wit and your actual wit. If you boil down these examples then it all breaks down to preparation, memorization, and observation. Still wondering how to be more quick witted? Well the answer is practice, practice, practice!