Who likes meetings? They are often the bane of any office existence. It’s no wonder that posts such as “how to seem really smart during meetings” exist, because most meetings leave you feeling uninspired, bored and frankly, in need of a nap. Which is exactly the opposite of what meetings should be doing. But there is a solution.
Walking Meetings, or the “walk and talk” for all you cool kids, is a meeting that takes place in the act of walking, and it’s more popular that you think. A TED talk on the subject, as well as numerous articles as to the benefits abound, so we cut through the bulk of them to find out what all the buzz is about.
The scary side of sitting
Let’s cut straight to the facts. The fact is that, according to Nilofer Merchant’s TED talk on walking meetings, the average person sits around 9.3 hours every day. More than that, though, sitting is a lack of physical activity, which is always a bad thing. In fact, a 2013 Vogue US article noted the scary statistic that those who spend the majority of their time in chairs have a 147 percent increased risk of cardiovascular event, and were 49 percent more likely to die earlier.
These famous people did it, you should, too
American president Barack Obama, Apple founder Steven Jobs and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg are all fans of the walk and talk. In fact, if you google the topic you’ll find lists of famous people that were reputed to take a stroll around the block to get their mental agility refreshed. As early as 367BC, Greek philosopher Aristotle is said to have taken a walk when instructing his pupils.
Check out the list below to be inspired to walk:
The benefits of a walking meeting
1. Better ideas
When you’re looking for something different, a white board and grey conference room just might not cut it. But getting out and about can help; it’s as if by getting new sensory input through a change in scenery, we are able to generate new ways of thinking.
Moreover, Harvard Business Review study found that walking meetings made participants 5.25% more creative, which is significant in that it’s a cheap way to increase your work force’s creativity.
2. Better engagement
What’s worse than a boring meeting? Falling asleep during one. Which brings us to our next question: have you ever fallen asleep during a walk? Of course not! So there you have it.
All right, if you need more information, how about findings from the same Harvard Business Review study that found participants in walking meetings are 8.5% more likely to report high levels of engagement.
Not only that, but walking meetings are said to increase interaction between employees as there is no longer a strict hierarchy, like the one you might find during a meeting in front of your boss’s desk.
3. Better health
How to Walk and Talk effectively
Walking meetings are a good idea for certain types of discussion, for example the type of meetings exploring possible solutions or discussing decisions.
Take these tips from the Harvard Business Review to do a walk and talk:
- Include interesting sights on your route, or as a destination itself. This can provide others with incentive to take part in your walk.
- Walking meetings burn calories, so resist the urge to stop by coffee shops, etc, as these will nullify your health efforts.
- If you plan to make your meeting a walking one, inform your colleagues before hand. No one likes to be caught off guard, especially in heels.
- Small groups work best, as then everyone can get the best out of the meeting.
Watch the TED Talk of Nilofer Merchant “Got a Meeting? Take a walk” here: