While walking meetings may seem to be just the latest trend, they actually could be very beneficial when integrated into your daily business practices. This blog will get into the what, why, and how-to of holding walking meetings. After reading this article, perhaps you’ll consider trying one.
What are walking meetings?
Walking meetings are self-explanatory. Instead of gathering behind closed doors in the same room where everything else gets done, business owners are electing to move their meetings outside. Remember the days of asking your school teacher to host class in the courtyard on the first day of Spring? This is the business world equivalent.
Why host walking meetings?
Many of the reasons to host walking meetings are obvious, but let’s dive into a few to give a clearer picture of what could be gained by moving your meeting.
Health Benefits: The health benefits of getting out of the office throughout the day even for ten or fifteen minutes at a time are understated. Ailments that are tied to physical inactivity like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease can help be prevented when we break up our long 9-5 day of sitting with walking meetings. Nilofer Merchant, who held this Ted Talk on walking meetings, says her life has changed by implementing this activity into her daily life, so much so that she now walks between 20 and 30 miles a week just at work.
New Scenery: As business owners, we know all too well what it is like to sit in our offices all day and feel uninspired. Even the quick jog to the water cooler cannot always remedy any brain blockage. The secret to rejuvenating our creativity is simply to change scenery, and walking meetings are the easiest way to that. Sometimes the meeting with marketing seems to be going nowhere simply based on the need to move around, get the blood flowing, and see things from another perspective.
Undivided Attention: In our offices, we can get distracted by paperwork to technology to office personnel and so much more. If we were to take a walking meeting with one of the accountants in our firm, it would be much easier to give them all of our attention without the disturbances of the office. When done right, a walking meeting could change the way we communicate with one another. When walking, our attention will face fewer interruptions, and we are now walking and talking on a level playing field. As business owners and employees walk side-by-side, the hierarchal setting of “take a seat” in a typical office is demolished, and employees could feel more confident to be candid and open during a walking meeting.
How-to hold a walking meeting.
Holding a walking meeting could be intimidating at first, but remember these few tips to keep this new method productive and purposeful:
Go Somewhere Specific: When picking where to walk, it is best to have a general destination in mind. Choose a local coffeehouse, deli, or even landmark that you’ll have as a goal post to turn back to the office. Making sure that you have a set destination ensures that your meeting isn’t wasted by choosing the next turn or block to take and that you’ll be able to focus on the topic of the meeting.
Go in Small Groups: Taking a large group of ten people out on a walking meeting is ridiculous and redundant. Keep your invitation list down to one or two others so as not to cut communication up by trying to shout to the back of a large group. You’ll be grateful later when you don’t have to repeat yourself or hold subsequent meetings based on missed information.
Have a Flexible Goal: While your meeting should have a primary topic, a meeting without pens and notebooks and online materials shouldn’t be used to make concrete decisions. Choose to brainstorm during walking meetings rather than hope for large decision breakthroughs. Never bite off more than you can chew in a walking meeting.
Walking meetings shouldn’t be intimidating, but embraced. Sometimes what your meetings really need are level playing fields, open communication, and new scenery, all of which walking meetings can provide. Consider taking one or two employees out on a walking meeting to a specific destination next time you need to be briefed on a project to get the blood and creativity flowing and discuss some new ideas.