This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.

The business world is rife with the unexpected, including uncomfortable and awkward “moments of truth” that occur at the worst possible time.

Ironically, these unpredictable and stressful moments are some of your best opportunities to dramatically increase your trustworthiness—provided you are adept at thinking on your feet and willing to get real, allowing your best self to shine through.

In these moments, the skill of improvising—inventing, composing, or performing with little or no preparation—can turn a crunch or a crisis into an opportunity.

Bonus: Making it Real

This week, be the deer in headlights. On purpose. Read more.

Get together with a colleague or two and brainstorm a list of things your colleagues or clients have said or could say that are likely to leave you with that “deer in headlights” feeling (for example, “I’m very disappointed in your work product” or “What experience do you have in XYZ industry?”).

Identify your immediate response in each of these moments of truth. What is the first thing that comes to your mind or out of your mouth without thinking? Is it defensive? Explanatory?

Then script responses that are authentic in a positive and productive way, and practice saying them out loud. Use your colleagues as objective observers and ask them to be tough with their feedback—it is the best way to improve quickly.

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Andrea Howe

As the founder of The Get Real Project, I am the steward of our vision and our service offerings, as well as a workshop leader and keynote speaker. Above all else, I am an entrepreneur on a mission: to kick conventional business wisdom to the curb and transform how people work together as a result. I am also the co-author, with Charles H. Green, of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook (Wiley, 2012).