Most people dread meetings. Stuffy conference rooms, bored people, and they usually seem to drag on forever. Over the years I have learned that walking meetings are a great format for one-on-one meetings, and are great for groups of three people as well. Not only are they far more engaging and fun, they also offer clear benefits related to physical health, relationship building, efficiency and creativity.
- Bonus exercise - most of us could always use a little more movement in our day.
- Sunshine, and the Vitamin D it produces is important for good health.
- Movement and fresh air boost energy and oxygen, and is a great way to break up long hours of sitting at a desk.
- Research shows we actually think better when we walk, and engage both sides of our brain.
- It can be easier to have tough conversations when you aren’t staring at each other across a conference table.
- Employees are more likely to bring up concerns, ask hard questions, and discuss difficult topics.
- It is easier to get to know people in a casual way that builds intimacy. People are more likely to share interesting bits of their lives that strengthen the relationship.
Efficiency & Creativity Benefits
- You can get more done in less time. People tend to waste less time when they are standing or walking.
- Being in nature is actually proven to stimulate creativity.
- You can control the length of the meeting. Get to know several routes- 15, 30, and 60 minutes. When you get back to the office, it’s easy to wrap things up, rather than sitting and getting lost in tangents.
Ways to optimize your walking meetings
- If you need an agenda, bring it printed out or on a phone or tablet. Just because you are moving doesn’t mean you can’t stay on track.
- Have access to your digital task management system or to-do list on your phone and enter tasks as they come up. We love Asana, but use whatever works for you.
- Save time by not having to re-enter all your notes digitally when possible. If you are a fan of writing on thinly sliced trees, keep a pocket sized notebook handy.
- Be kind and let people know if you are planning walking meetings so they have appropriate shoes. An unexpected walking meeting can go from Awesome to painful if you happen to be wearing uncomfortable high heels.
- Use a headset for walking phone calls. I prefer noise-canceling for better focus, but be careful crossing streets!
- Don’t be afraid to split a meeting into half walking and half at the office with your computers. Walking can be great for discussing ideas and options, and then you can return to the office and hammer out the details.
So there you have it… Give walking meetings a try, and let us know what you think!
p.s. For more ways to increase your efficiency and productivity, check out our course Getting Focused for Entrepreneurs, starting May 12, 2015.