Time to React
By Dwayne Phillips
Time is a marvelous tool. Allow time between an action or event and the reaction or the feedback for the event.
I have spoken at large gatherings many times in my career (500 or 600 persons attending, most of them staying awake). I enjoy it. When I am finished speaking, I am full of adrenaline or the mental equivalent of that. I have been backstage when performers finish performances. Same thing with them. They are excited and more excited.
One thing usually happens when coming offstage or finishing a talk. All that excitement clogs the ears. I cannot hear anything people are telling me. Of course my ears are working. Of course I hear their words, but ask me one minute later what someone told me, and, well, I don’t know. I have observed the same with professional performers. For a few moments after the performance, they don’t take anything in. The input is blocked.
There needs to be some time between the act and the react. There needs to be some time for the person to return to a normal state of mind so that their input is open and they can hear words and comprehend them.
When a performer or speaker steps off the stage and asks, ”How did I do?” Answer, ”Let’s talk later.” Otherwise, the reaction is lost.
And now we bring this blog post to the real world of work. Someone walks in with a draft of a report. ”Just finished this. Tell me what you think,” they say with sparkles of excitement gushing from their eyes. Answer, ”Let’s talk later.”
A group of persons just deploys a new version of software. Same words, ”Tell us what you think.” Same answer, ”Let’s talk later.”
This is why a project retrospective should be conducted a while after the project ends. This is why a book review should be delivered a while after the book is published. When the reaction quickly follows the action, the words fall to the floor.
What do you think of this blog post? Let’s talk later.