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Use an Egg Timer to Create Feedback Time in Meetings

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

I know it sounds obnoxious to introduce the tick-tick-ticking sound into a serious meeting, but people universally seem to appreciate the acceleration it accomplishes in hundreds of meetings over the last five years; people were pleasantly surprised at how much they got done, especially if it involved some feedback.

The real reason an egg timer is so great The ticking provides everyone with an unconscious reminder to speak up now, get to the point, and not let time run out. Time is wasting away if you don’t bring up your key points now.

Feedback in the middle or end For feedback in the middle or end of a meeting, simply set the timer for 5 or 10 minutes and brainstorm “pluses”—what’s going well, “minuses”—what’s not going so well, and “deltas”—what needs to be changed.  You will be able to reach agreement quickly on how to improve your actions for the remainder of the meeting or for the next meeting. Voila! Fast feedback that can help you.

Feedback for each team member For feedback to each team member, set the egg timer for a period that incorporates 7-10 minutes per person. If there are 7 people, you will need about an hour or a little more.

This hour you spend will be one of the most valuable, if not THE most valuable hours the team will ever spend.

  1. Review a key shared goal of the whole team and post a one-sentence summary of the goal.

  2. Everyone brainstorm behaviors of person #1 (someone not shy, but not the leader)—both positive and improvement-oriented. Examples: Polite, too polite, holds back, accurate facts, documents well, avoids conflict, technical expert, etc. If people are open, you should be able to generate dozens of descriptors in 5 minutes.

  3. Then ask for the 2-4 Suggested Behaviors that will best help the team achieve it’s shared goal. Examples: Speak your honest opinions earlier, train others on the technical details.

  4. On one flip chart page, summarize the 2-4 suggestions for every person. Check on people’s progress next meeting, and plan a time to review all the feedback and update new changes needed.

The egg timer is definitely your friend!

The Feedback Imperative book

Learn More

Read The Feedback Imperative for more information on how to give great feedback!

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