According to executive coach and consultant Lolly Daskal, founder of Lead from Within, one of the most powerful ways to up the creativity and effectiveness of any meeting is to take it outside, and for a walk. Says Lolly, "I find that people not only feel better, but they're more energized and alert because of the change of scenery of a walking meeting. It improves their thinking, and they're more creative in finding new solutions and more inspired to do more meaningful work."
The problem is that the typical American sits an average of 9.3 hours a day--an entire 90 minutes longer than we sleep each day. According to researchers, people who sit for more than 6 hours a day are 40 percent more likely to die within 15 years than people who sit for fewer than 3 hours a day.
While a 10+ person meeting is not really going to work very well while walking (try a standing meeting for that instead), walking meetings are perfect for one-on-one meetings, or small groups of up to 4 or 5 people. Steve Jobs was well known for his love of walking meetings, and Jack Dorsey (Twitter) and Mark Zuckerberg are also reported to be big fans.
Here are 7 powerful reasons why you should take your next meeting for a walk:
1. Walking meetings are more creative
Researchers at Stanford University found that the creative output of people increases by an average of 60 percent when they are walking. Indoor walks were found to be just as effective for boosting creativity as outdoor walks.
2. Walking meetings are better for you
According to Nilofer Merchant, "sitting is the smoking of our generation." Walking meetings get you out of your chair, they get you moving, and--if you take them outside of our building--they get you some much needed fresh air and sunlight.
3. Walking meetings tear down walls between management and workers
Says Western Union CEO, Hikmet Ersek--a big fan of walking meetings--"People become much more relaxed, and they talk from their hearts if you go for a walk with them. And they get to the point they want to make much more quickly."
4. Walking meetings improve worker energy and engagement
The Wellness & Prevention group of Johnson & Johnson has been doing research on the advantages of walking meetings. According to VP Jack Groppel, "In the studies that we did, after 90 days of doing [walking meetings], people felt increased amounts of energy, they felt increased focus, they felt improved engagement."
5. Walking meetings are better for communication
Assuming you avoid distractions by leaving your smartphone in your pocket or purse where it belongs, walking meetings are much more natural and focused on the topics at hand. According to neuroscientist, Andrew Tate, the increased blood flow to your brain "...helps you express those ideas more fluently and helps you communicate with coworkers."
6. Walking meetings outdoors make employees happier
Scientists at the UK's University of Essex found that the mood and sense of well-being of people is boosted significantly with as little as 5 minutes of outdoor exercise.
7. Walking meetings could save your life
According to researchers, just 30 minutes of walking each day can lead to a dramatic reduction in the risk of dementia, breast and colon cancer, and heart disease. If that's not reason enough for taking your meetings for a walk, then I don't know what is.