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21 Best Debriefing Real-Time Feedback Exercises

Are you looking for new ways to debrief your team and deliver real-time feedback? If so, then you’ve come to the right place! In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best debriefing real-time feedback exercises.

21 Best Debriefing Real-Time Feedback Exercises Feedback Exercises

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

What are Debriefing Real-Time Feedback Exercises

Debriefing real-time feedback exercises are a great way to learn and practice skills that help improve communication. They involve people discussing their thoughts on a certain subject in an open, relaxed environment. 

During the debriefing, each person takes turns sharing insights and hearing the perspectives of others. The main focus is to examine how everyone reacts in a variety of situations while also learning more about themselves as they talk through the scenario. 

This type of exercise helps build trust, awareness, and empathy between group members. It can be used in any situation where communication is key such as meetings, brainstorming sessions, or even resolving conflicts. 

Not only does it make it easier for people to understand each other but it also teaches them the importance of compromise and mutual understanding for better collaboration. 

Benefits of Debriefing and Real-Time Feedback

Encouraging Debriefing and providing real-time feedback are the cornerstones of a successful team.

Debriefing helps teams review performance, identify areas for improvement, and foster cohesion among members; while timely feedback allows them to quickly address issues as they arise, enhancing communication and learning opportunities – all culminating in improved overall results!

Increased Team Cohesion

Through debriefing and providing timely feedback, team members can develop stronger connections with one another. 

This in turn promotes a deeper appreciation of how everyone contributes towards their organization’s success and purpose – fostering unity, trust and increased team cohesion that spurs collaboration between coworkers. 

By taking these steps now, organizations not only have the chance to create an even more productive work environment but also lay down the foundation for future successes!

Improved Communication

Debriefing and real-time feedback are essential tools for team cohesion, collaboration, and growth. By periodically assessing performance and discussing areas of potential improvement in a positive and supportive way, team members can build an understanding of one another’s perspectives while aligning on collective goals. 

Pro Tip: To learn how to become an effective communicator, go through these 6 useful tips on to improve your communication skills. 

Enhanced Learning

Debriefing and real-time feedback are essential for success. Taking time to review what worked and didn’t will allow teams to accurately reflect on their performance while giving real-time guidance gives team members the opportunity to continually grow through learning new strategies or skills. 

By staying ahead of current trends, technologies, and best practices these two effective measures will equip any organization with the tools they need for long-term achievement.

Improved Performance

Keeping projects on track and achieving success can be made easier with the right strategies. Debriefing encourages open dialogue, allowing teams to effectively identify any potential issues that need addressing while real-time feedback provides necessary support in helping them reach their goals. 

By combining both of these approaches, teams are equipped with the tools they need for ultimate success!

Debriefing Real-Time Feedback Exercises

Whether you’re working in a team or leading one, it’s important to take the time for feedback and reflection. Check out these 21 great exercises that can help your group debrief effectively – with real-time impact!:

1. Card Debrief 

Make debriefing an exciting and interactive experience by utilizing the classic card deck! 

Each participant will draw a card, allowing them to reflect on their day based on its suit. 

  • Hearts provide time for meaningful reflection of emotions felt during the day; 
  • Spades allow individuals to process new revelations or ideas which were uncovered throughout the course of their activities 
  • Diamonds represent something valuable that was gained from hours worked
  • Clubs beckon participants towards looking ahead at future plans. 

Those wanting even more engagement can limit themselves (and any partners) to only Ace-5 in order to create numerous responses. 

Try it today – you won’t be disappointed with this unique spin on traditional reflecting!

2. Circle – Square – Triangle

With this unique Debriefing Exercise, participants are prompted to reflect on the new content they’ve encountered. 

Circle: What’s still running through your mind? What do you still not understand?

Square: What’s squared away? What exactly do you comprehend?

Triangle: What are three things that you could use in your life, work, or studies?

3. Think, Pair, Square, Share

Think, Pair, Square, Share is a great debriefing exercise. With Think, Pair, Square, Share you can give everyone the opportunity to think and reflect on an issue before coming together with others.

This collaborative debriefing exercise starts by having individuals consider their thoughts and then pairing up for a more in-depth discussion. A larger group of four is formed from two pairs that offer another layer of perspectives that could not be achieved alone; culminating in one spokesperson sharing back out so all have heard each other’s points!

4. Closing Circle

After a busy school day, why not end it on an uplifting note? Closing a circle is the perfect way to do just that! Ten minutes are set aside for students and teachers alike to take part in some peaceful reflection. 

It’s an opportunity for them all to give thanks for accomplishments achieved during their time together, make goals they’d like to reach before the next day arrives, and wrap up with fun cheers or songs – leaving everyone feeling proud of how far they’ve come by days’ end.

5. Circular Interviewing

This interactive debriefing exercise provides a great way for groups to both learn active listening and bolster the objectives of their training. 

Participants form a circle, taking turns asking two open-ended questions per person: one based on the purpose/outcome goals of the activity in question, while another dives deeper into what was said as an answer to that first question. If someone slips up with closed questioning they can quickly be guided back onto the course by rewriting it! 

Everyone will have ample opportunity to share ideas around the complete loop – bringing everyone closer together toward common understanding & outcomes which benefit all members present.

6. Tree of Knowledge

The Tree of Knowledge is a powerful visual way to capture the learning from training sessions. Participants use post-it notes as “leaves” on an empty tree drawn on a whiteboard or flipchart, representing what they have gained in knowledge and understanding throughout their session. 

In the end, participants reflect back upon how much they were able to grow and are encouraged to continue nourishing this newfound wisdom by starting at its roots: implementing start/stop changes with new insights earned over time.

7. Toss the ball 

Rally round for a game of catch! In this energizing debriefing exercise, every participant stands in a circle and takes turns tossing the ball. When it’s their turn, they share one key concept from what was just discussed – knowledge which is then written down on the board to reinforce learning. 

Everyone catches at least once so everyone has ownership over their session by contributing an essential takeaway. Get ready to be quick with your response as you throw around ideas while literally throwing around the ball! 

8. Bingo

Spice up your Debriefing session with a classic game of bingo! Gather learners in front of their own individual grids and get ready to ask some questions. Each grid consists of nine boxes numbered randomly, allowing space for the answers within them. 

As numbers are called out from topics that need reviewing, participants mark off each response they know until they complete one line or row – then it’s time to call “Bingo”! Chocolate treats will go out to any lucky winners so brush up on those points before playing – you never know who might be walking away with a sweet reward! 

9. Peer-to-Peer Test

Peer to Peer Debriefing is an effective strategy for processing learning in the classroom. By asking each participant to write out two or three questions about the class, we give them a chance to reflect and ask meaningful questions about the topic. It also offers an enjoyable way for peers to interact and answer each other’s questions as part of the learning process. 

By having participants write their own questions and then providing time for peers to answer them, it can create a powerful environment of inquiry, support, and understanding that takes us far beyond the content of any particular activity or lesson.

10. Mind/Body Connections: Gestures / Sculptures / Squeezers

For a brain-body boost and more memorable material, why not try some Mind/Body review exercises? Get the entire body involved in the activity – stand up while writing down notes on an exercise; clap your hands as you answer questions out loud or move around to illustrate animations. These will all make learning far more stimulating!


Gather everyone in a circle and encourage each member to reflect on what they are bringing with them and taking away from the session. As an added touch, let’s assign simple motions or gestures that correspond with these feelings- this way we can all reify our collective contributions! 

Each participant will have their own unique gesture; whether it’s open hands for networking, generosity or honesty – if someone shares theirs, take part by silently mirroring its significance as a symbol of solidarity without saying anything else. This powerful experience is sure to create lasting memories!


To bring their learning to life, participants will get the chance to express themselves creatively by shaping a piece of clay or play-dough. Through this activity, each person can capture what they took away from the program! 


To help relieve stress and add a fun twist of creativity, I promote metaphorical thinking by encouraging people to pick out random squishy objects from bags. From feet-shaped balls to hot air balloons, these unique items provide the perfect inspiration for interesting connections – with bonus points if you can make it cheesy!

11. Points to Ponder

Start your training session off with a challenge – ask each participant to think of one thought-provoking point they’ll keep in mind as the event progresses. In the end, request that every person share their top three points and explain why these were chosen for exploration, plus how they intend on applying them practically afterward.

After everyone has had an opportunity to weigh in, discuss methods for making it happen by determining what resources would be needed and creating achievable goals within specific time frames.

12. Snowballing

Present the group with a thought-provoking challenge by asking them to consider what advice they would provide to someone new in their field. Pose an insightful question at the top of a sheet, such as: “If you were mentoring someone just starting out, which 3 or 4 important tips would you share?. 

Unleash their creativity and passion while having participants uncover meaningful insights into why certain topics are so critical for success.


  1. Allow them a few minutes to enter their responses in the first box.
  2. Tell them to find a partner, reduce their total of 6 – 8 answers to 3 – 4 (same time limit as before), and record these in the second box. This necessitates them to explain and justify their choices.
  3. Tell them to find a partner, reduce their total of 6 – 8 answers to 3 – 4 (same time limit as before), and record these in the second box. This necessitates them to explain and justify their choices.


NOTE: When working together, a group’s collective intelligence can often be greater than the sum of its parts – typically leading to even more creative solutions and outcomes!

13. The Elevator Speech of Learning

The Elevator Speech of Learning is an incredibly useful debriefing exercise. It helps students look at the broader impact of the lesson, encouraging them to consider how the knowledge they gained in class could benefit customers.  

Moreover, it helps learners develop their communication skills by thinking about how to succinctly explain the learning points within a short space of time, forcing them to focus on what’s most important.  

To maximize the exercise’s effectiveness, trainers should ask their students “When you get back to your desk, what’s your 3-second elevator speech to your supervisor and co-workers explaining how what you’ve learned will benefit our customers?”. – This question facilitates meaningful conversations as participants develop an understanding of their key takeaways and make connections between their newfound knowledge and its practical implications.

14. The Commitment

The Debrief aims to uncover the most meaningful and impactful takeaways from a situation so that those lessons can be remembered for future application and growth. The Commitment strives to ensure this knowledge is retained over time, enabling individuals both in their further development and in optimizing current performance levels.

a. Commitment to Memory

Brain-compatible learning techniques can help us efficiently store new information. By creating mnemonics, finding useful analogies to relate concepts to prior knowledge and taking selective notes or underlining important points, we are able to “commit” key facts in our minds for future use.

b. Commitment to Change

Learning something new can give you a whole world of opportunity – but only if it’s applied! Here are two ways to ensure that education makes its way back onto the job: use repetition and mnemonics for easy recall, or tell stories around concepts to emotionally anchor understanding. Ultimately, taking your knowledge from study hall into real-world action will be key to making change happen!

15. Works Well. Do Differently

Gather everyone in a circle and encourage each member to reflect on what they are bringing with them and taking away from the session. As an added touch, let’s assign simple motions or gestures that correspond with these feelings- this way we can all reify our collective contributions! 

Each participant will have their own unique gesture; whether it’s open hands for networking, generosity or honesty – if someone shares theirs, take part by silently mirroring its significance as a symbol of solidarity without saying anything else. This powerful experience is sure to create lasting memories!

16. Pack your bags 

Packing your bags provides an insightful way to round off a session – it’s the perfect mental suitcase for all that knowledge, insight and energy gained throughout. Participants can take their time selecting items from the discussion or activity they’re participating in as if packing them away into luggage ready for later use! 

Instead of merely summarizing what was learned together, this visual debrief encourages recollection plus creative expression – no card props needed here: just one image of a trusty old suitcase to finish things up nicely.

17. Ticket Out the Door

End your meeting with a bang by challenging each member to share their “ticket out the door”! Have everyone reflect on what one key takeaway they will take away from today, without repeating any ideas. It’s an energizing way to make sure everybody has gotten something valuable and that time wasn’t wasted.

18. Letter or Postcard Prep

At the end of the workshop, sending out a letter or postcard can be a great debrief exercise. By doing this, you can remind participants of the values or learning points they listed earlier in the day, while also providing them with a resource list and your contact details for any questions they might have afterward. 

This kind of closeout is an effective way to bring closure to an event and make sure that everyone takes away something meaningful from it. It also helps ensure that shared knowledge and energy are put to use in their own lives afterward.

NOTE: Get creative and join forces for the ultimate Postcard adventure! Invite your friends to partner up, write a postcard together, and let their imaginations wander as they send each other on an unforgettable journey.

19. Contract

Participants in this exercise are embarking on a 60-day journey of personal growth and development! By creating a contract outlining two new skills they want to focus on, as well as 3-5 action steps needed to achieve said goals, participants must then find an accountability partner who will support them along the way. 

After signing their contracts with both themselves and a session member – one copy each being given away while keeping another for records – individuals will check back in after sixty days when the contract is mailed back full circle. 

A signature note shines a light that somebody important believes that you have what it takes to conquer your aspirations!

20. Journal Writing

After a meaningful activity, give your team an opportunity to reflect on and process their experience. Give them time – 15-20 minutes for writing in journals about what they’ve learned about themselves and each other during the activities. They can then come together as a group sharing reflections of the day with one another before finishing up! 

This is not only fun but also helps solidify all that has been discovered throughout this journey; both individually & collectively speaking.

21. Video wrap-up

When it’s time to debrief, Video Wrap-Up is a great way to help learners take away their key learnings. All they need are smartphones and the courage to commit to what they’ve learned on video in front of their peers – plus some creativity when creating videos that highlight those learning points! 

The best part? Not only will these commitments increase chances of being applied later, but broadcasting them online or amongst colleagues could mean an extended life for everyone’s newfound knowledge – giving each learner even greater returns!


Overall, it is important to understand the purpose of a debriefing real-time feedback exercise and how best to approach one. Consideration of the individual needs and abilities of those involved as well as the common goals should be taken care of for a successful exercise. Different tools or aids can also be used, depending on the specific intentions or requirements. If this topic intrigued you, do check out this informative video on debriefing tools and techniques.

Did this article pique your interest? Or did it miss anything? Share your thoughts in the comments and let me know what you think was done well, or if there’s anything else I should’ve included. 

Frequently asked questions

Q: How can employee performance be enhanced through debriefing real-time feedback exercises?

Through debriefing feedback sessions, employees can learn more about themselves and their coworkers. Not only will they discover what areas to focus on for self-improvement, but such exercises also build a supportive environment where people feel comfortable giving each other straightforward comments — fostering better relationships and problem-solving skills in the workplace.

Q: What are some tips for creating effective debriefing real-time feedback exercises?

For successful real-time feedback exercises, make sure to craft an environment that encourages comfort and understanding. Give employees the time they need for reflection while providing beneficial guidance throughout their journey of self-discovery – you’ll be creating effective debriefing experiences in no time!