The Timing of Feedback

Not only do you want to ask the right people the right questions, but you’ll also want to do it at the right time.

I see three different times when feedback is valuable:

1) Before the event

Most leaders I know look for feedback on the back end. I crave it on the front end. Each week before I preach a sermon, I have no fewer than a dozen different people work through my notes with me. I always ask, “What one thing was the most helpful? What one thing would you cut? What is one other suggestion you have?” Feedback on the front end helps me make changes when changes are easiest.

2) Immediate feedback

Receiving immediate feedback is valuable (especially if you are doing an event or speaking more than once). People can be very helpful when an event is fresh on their minds. I always try to write down what they say so I can review their thoughts later.

3) Much later feedback

Occasionally, immediate feedback isn’t wise. You may be too vulnerable after a talk or event. The highs seems too high or the lows seem too low. You (or others) might be too caught up in the moment to be objective. Once everyone sleeps on it, has a chance to talk to some other people, and has some time to process, you might learn more from post-event evaluations. We’re often much more objective once the immediate emotion dies down.

What we've learned:

It’s always a good idea to unpack your ideas with others. Think about ways you receive feedback now and how you use it once you get it. Does the way you receive and implement feedback change based on what you are doing?

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