Benefits of walking meetingsFirst, let's talk about the benefits of a walking meeting:
💪 And then of course there's the obvious: physical activity!
Need we say more? A quick Google search will show you how bad it is for our health that we sit down for most of the day. Actually, we sit for about 9 hours day - that's more than we sleep at night.
Walking meetings are a great way to get the blood pumping which leads to more energized and alert meeting attendees. A well timed walking meeting can beat the post lunch slump and turn the least productive time of day into the most effective.
Walking breaks down formal structure for a while and can build camaraderie between colleagues. If you have colleagues who don’t get along so well, or who often take opposing view points, try taking them out for a walk. Walking side by side rather than sitting opposite at a table can influence communication style and enhance the ability to take on different perspectives.
There are many other tactics to kick-start your meetings and thereby spark some inspiration and creativity into the meeting.
The old cliché of pacing back and forth while trying to solve a problem is not based on fiction. Numerous articles conclude that walking increases creative thinking and problem solving ability. Researchers have examined creativity levels of people while walking versus while sitting. Creative output was on average 60% higher when walking. They also found that creativity continued even after the person sat down again after a walk.
Getting out and seeing something new is a great way to shift perspective and break the habits of daily office life. Getting fresh air and direct sunlight, especially in the winter months, can make a big difference to concentration, clarity of mind and job satisfaction.
With that being said, it's important to note that it's not the environment that boosts your mind - it's the act of walking itself. People walking on tread mills inside still had a higher score on creativity after the exercise than people sitting, Stanford finds. Walking outside gave a slightly higher score, but it wasn't very significant.
So, fear not if you're working downtown in a large city and have some commuting to the nearest nature - take a walk in the city or around the block.
7 tips to facilitate a walking meeting 👇
1. Maximum 4 attendees
2. Make sure it's appropriate to walk
3. Prepare an agenda
You still have to prepare and set the agenda as you would with all meetings. Use stops along the way to punctuate the agenda. Take an iPad or smartphone so you can refer to agenda items and take quick notes or voice record a summary of key points. More details on a good meeting agenda.
4. Plan the route
5. No phones
6. Invite the attendees to a 'walking meeting'
7. Lead the way
To sum up
Walking meetings are a great idea under certain circumstances. You have to consider the type of meeting, the purpose with the meeting, the meeting attendees and other factors before deciding on having a walking meeting.
Then the benefits of a walk and talk will be inevitable; better health, better concentration, more inspired, more energetic, more relaxed etc.
So, the bottom line is: go for a walking meeting. If your colleagues are reluctant, lead the way and be the frontrunner.
Smarter meetings? Yes please!
FirstAgenda’s meeting optimization platform takes care of the preparation, facilitation and follow-up of meetings. As an app the meeting tool is perfect for a walking meeting - it records everything you're saying and makes a key-word overview for you. Check it out here.