"All in the Timing" is a great theme for captains to live by. There are several issues in regards to timing that a captain has to keep in mind for notes. I always liked leaders who were capable of delivering that golden nugget of information when it would be seen for what it is - a golden nugget. At high noon, it shines best. Delivered at night, the nugget is just another stone.

So here are some timing questions to consider. Hopefully, you can answer yes to all these questions before giving the note. Any note that does not fit through all these filters should probably not be given unless there's some critical factor to consider. More on that later.

Is the note being given...
  1. Within 30 minutes of a performance or show?
  2. When everyone is together? (Everyone needs to hear the note. Also, no text, emailed, or blogged notes, please!)
  3. When there is a lack of distractions?
  4. When there is time for alphas after notes?
  5. When it is something players have addressed in rehearsal before?
  6. Quickly? (Spending too much time makes a person feel picked-on.)
  7. When the performer is at a stage when they can handle it?
Sometimes the answer to number 1 or 2 is "We're never all together." Let's say a person only has time to rehearse/perform and then they leave. Well, then you have to consider whether that person should be a part of the group. Notes should be an exercise for creating ensemble thought.

It can be hard to do notes after a show IF expectations have not been set. Family and friends want to stop by... say hi... tell you how great you are. Etc. Make sure all players know to tell family and friends they will meet with them 30 minutes after the doors close following the performance.

So I mentioned that sometimes you have to consider critical factors. If someone is stepping - nay, leaping - over the line of decency with arrogance, you have to ensure they are pulled aside and held accountable, even if the rest of the team has skipped notes and gone to the snack bar. That one member needs to hear it from you as soon as possible.