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The Timing of Feedback

Let's imagine you're playing a sport.

Take your pick. Individual or team sport, it doesn't matter.

The only caveat is that it has to be a sport where someone—perhaps a coach—has the ability to say something to you from the sidelines while you are playing it.

Before we go further, let me tell you what this post is about.

This post is going to ask a classic binary question (are you this or that), and will inevitably end where most binary questions end, it depends on the situation.

So, you're playing your chosen sport.

The question I have for you relates to feedback on your performance.

More specifically, the timing of when you like receiving feedback on your performance.

I'll give you two options:

  1. In-game feedback: You're actively playing the sport, you're in the thick of it, and you're receiving feedback (or even instruction) while you are playing. This could come in the form of someone yelling at—or softly speaking to—you from the sidelines.

  2. Rest-period feedback: You're still in the game, but you're on an extended break of some kind. A timeout, a shift change, the end of a period, you get the idea. During this break, you receive the feedback on your performance before you head back into the thick of the sport.

So, are you an in-game feedback person or rest-period feedback person?

Of course, this extends beyond sports.

I am very much a rest-period feedback person.

As a parent, if I happen to be in the thick of it with the kids, I find it really hard when someone tells me to change something about what I'm trying to do in the moment.

My reason for feeling this way is that when I'm "actively playing the sport" it almost feels too late. When I'm actively playing the sport, I need to actively play the sport, and be present to that.

When I'm in a rest period, I can be more reflective and more present to the feedback that someone cares to give.

But that's just me. What are you?

The reason I like asking this question is because if you're the one giving feedback, it really helps to know when someone might like to receive it.

On the flip side, if you're the one receiving feedback, it might help to know when you're most receptive to hearing it.

Outside of the context of sport, the trick to this is knowing how to define a game so that you know when you are "actively playing."

In some cases the line between not playing and actively playing can be quite thin.

For instance, let's say you're the one cooking dinner.

While you're peeking in the fridge to see what ingredients are available, you might not be playing yet.

But as soon as the water boils and the pasta goes in, perhaps the game is on and you're in it.

So, in-game or rest-period?

Let me guess ... it depends on the game, right?

maroon background with an outline of a soccer field in the middle

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