What: Toastmaster Mental Flexibility Workshop
Who:  Division E Toastmaster Club Members
When: Wednesday 17th of May, 12 noon to 1 pm
Where: St Andrews on the Terrace
How: e-mail chris.ashley@rbnz.govt.nz to reserve your place (limited to 25 places)

  • Developing your semantic flexibility
  • Increasing your conceptual fluency
  • Thinking on your feet

Developing your semantic flexibility.

One of the most important characteristics of mentally flexible people is they exhibit what psychologists call semantic flexibility. This means they express their ideas, viewpoints, and opinions in non-dogmatic ways while the mentally rigid person tends to overuse terms that suggest the absolute take-it-or-leave-it attitude and black and white opinions. The mentally flexible person uses terms that convey a sense of adaptability.

You can encourage yourself to think more flexibly by making sure you say the following three things from time to time and without apology:

  • I don’t know.
  • I made a mistake.
  • I’ve changed my mind.

Increasing your conceptual fluency

An important component of mental flexibility is conceptual fluency, which is the ability to handle concepts skillfully. To be fluent at conceptual thinking means to be able to think on a grand scale, to see the big picture and link ideas together into patterns.

A mind map can help you split a problem into its various component parts and see the various parts in logical relation to one another.

Thinking on your feet

A person who can think on his or her feet effectively can come up with the right idea, the right response, or the right solution often with just a few seconds notice. This skill we practice in Table Topics in our clubs and includes the art of the snappy comeback, the repartee. People who have this skill are seen by others as highly aware, intelligent, and deft at handling difficult situations.

You can think on your feet effectively if you keep a few key questions in mind:

  • What is going on right now in this situation?
  • What is my own personal objective in this situation?
  • What are my options for action?

John Stapleton is our workshop captain, who will welcome you aboard – The Toastmaster “Mental Flexibility Workshop”.


The material and exercises used in the workshop is available below in PDF form – click to download.