Quick-witted answers: an art you can learn

Reading time 6 minutes
Quick-witted answers: an art you can learn

We've probably all been confronted with an offensive remark or a derogatory comment at some point. Are you completely perplexed at such moments, while afterwards you come up with the best retort? Many people are familiar with this phenomenon. The good news is: quick-wittedness can be trained. We explain how you can always have quick-witted answers ready in future.

What makes for quick-witted answers?

Before we turn to the various tips and techniques, the first step is to clarify what constitutes a quick-witted response in the first place. Quick-wittedness is not to be equated with impertinence or clumsiness. Instead, it's about countering stupid remarks with cleverness and wit.

The most important characteristic: quick-witted answers are spontaneous! This means that you immediately have the right answer to an unexpected statement or question. If your replies sound like they have been memorized or are halting, the desired effect will fizzle out.

The art of reacting quickly

The biggest challenge if you want to respond quickly is spontaneity. We often tend to think far too long before countering. By this time, the opportunity is long gone. The art of reacting quickly initially requires a certain amount of self-conquest. connected. The credo is: don't think and ponder for long, but act immediately (= counterattack).

But how can you learn to do this, especially as a reserved person? Here the Routine. Once you have overcome yourself to counter spontaneously in an unpleasant situation, you will find it easier each time. The more often you do it, the more self-confidence you will gain.

What does quick-wittedness have to do with self-confidence?

Self-confidence and quick-wittedness are interdependent. If you are not self-confident, you will not be able to give a convincing repartee. Conversely, repartee strengthens self-confidence.

So if you have problems finding quick-witted answers, it can be helpful to work specifically on your self-confidence. For example, a Professional self-confidence coaching help

quick-witted answers flirting

Communication techniques for quick-witted answers

There are various communication techniques for quick-witted answers, which we would like to familiarize you with below.

1. consent

Agreeing is one of the most proven repartee techniques. By agreeing with your counterpart, you literally take the wind out of the sails of any stupid remark.


  • "You must be completely stupid!"
  • "I'm in the very best company here."

2. queries

This repartee technique is particularly popular because it can be used in almost any situation.


  • "But you've put on weight since you got married."
  • "Who cooks for you at home? It doesn't seem to taste as good as at home."

3. ironic praise

Some sayings are best countered with ironic praise.

  • "You look much older than you are."
  • "I am so gratefulthat you pointed this out to me. I needed this extremely important and factual impulse."

4. translation tactics

With the translation tactic, you twist the other person's statement in a funny way so that the intended attack comes to nothing.


  • "You're just parroting everything the boss tells you!"
  • "So you think I have excellent repetition skills?"

5. turn the tables

This repartee technique requires a great deal of courage, as it aims to expose the attacker in the same way that he intended to expose you. A famous conversation from Winston Churchill and Lady Astor used as an example:

  • "If I were your wife, I'd put poison in your coffee."
  • "And if I were your husband, I'd drink it."

Body language and quick-witted answers

Quick-witted answers are underlined by the right body language. Your words can be witty and clever: If you stand in a stooped position with your head down, they won't come across as convincing. You should therefore try to adopt an upright posture before countering.

Basically, this is similar to the topic of self-confidence and quick-wittedness. An upright posture helps you to feel more self-confident and therefore more quick-witted. Conversely, quick-wittedness automatically helps you to adopt a posture that radiates self-confidence.

You can achieve a confident posture through the following characteristics:

  1. Stand or sit upright: stance shoulder-width apart, chest slightly open, abdomen pulled in slightly, head upright, gaze forward.
  2. Place your arms loosely next to your body when you are standing. When sitting, rest your arms relaxed on the armrest. Cross them not protectively in front of the chest.
  3. Maintain eye contact with the other person.
  4. Smile.
  5. Make sure you have both feet firmly on the ground. This will subconsciously give you the self-confidence you need for quick-witted answers.

Quick-witted answers: 5 tips for the structure

How are quick-witted answers actually structured? We have summarized the five most important tips for you below:

  1. Spontaneity: Say what comes to your mind spontaneously. The longer you think about it, the less authentic your retort will seem.
  2. Content: The content of your counterattack naturally depends on the topic you are responding to. Counter techniques that can almost always be used are the questioning technique and ironic praise.
  3. Appropriateness: Repartee should not be equated with insults. So make sure that your rebuttal is funny but still appropriate.
  4. Short and sweet: Short retorts are usually much more effective than long ones. The shorter your retort, the better.
  5. Humor: Humor is an important part of counter-sayings. This applies even if you can't actually laugh at the other person's saying. Don't take others or yourself too seriously.

How do you practise quick-witted answers?

Quick-witted answers are characterized by spontaneity and wit. Some people manage to counter playfully as if by magic because it is part of their personality. If you were not born with this quick-wittedness, there are still ways to train it. The important thing is: just dare to try it out!

However, this does not mean that you should put yourself under pressure. A hurtful comment will initially put you in a stressful situation. Don't be angry with yourself if you find yourself at a loss for words again. The less pressure you put on yourself to come up with a quick-witted answer straight away, the easier it will be for you to come up with one.

It is also helpful to recognize situations in which a quick-witted counterattack might be necessary in good time. Sometimes this can be anticipated in advance. You should also have a few standard counterattacks that always work (e.g. "Is that really the best thing you've come up with?" ) ready for practice purposes.

When and where repartee is appropriate

Quick-witted answers are not appropriate in all situations. Sometimes diplomacy is the better solution. This applies, for example, in some professional situations, such as important negotiations. But even with people close to you who you don't want to offend, it is often better to seek a more empathetic approach.

Repartee is always appropriate when you notice that someone is not criticizing you constructively but is trying to upset you with a stupid remark. It doesn't matter whether this happens in a professional or private context.

Quick-wittedness in everyday life and at work: gain more courage and self-confidence through coaching

Sometimes external impulses are helpful to improve your own Strengthen self-confidence. As you now know, the latter is a basic requirement for quick-wittedness. A professional coach can give you the tools you need and help you to improve your repartee. personal strengths to recognize. This will help you become more self-confident and quick-witted in the long term. In the Coaching you go together with the coach get to the bottom of why, for example, you are blocked from countering or saying anything at all.

Conclusion: Learning quick-witted answers

Quick-wittedness is a personality trait that some people are naturally blessed with. However, if this doesn't apply to you, you don't have to live with being silenced by offensive remarks. To sum up, we would like to repeat it once again: you can train quick-witted responses! This is a process that requires practice and Patience but it will be worth it for you.

To support you on your way, we would like to share our free masterclass on the topic of repartee. We'll show you how to train repartee effectively and use it confidently in everyday and professional life. This way, stupid remarks will no longer be able to harm you in the future.


So you finally become really self-confident

In just one and a half hours, learn how to improve your self-esteem through a simple coaching method.
approx. 60 minutes
Theory & practice
Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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