I can explain to you straightaway why I concur with Steve Jobs when he says that strolling gatherings are better? New landscape, outside air, coordinate daylight, a reason for re-stimulating, and this went with a couple softening calories. I’m certain you are awed as well!
This new wave has taken corporates by storm. It is the concept of not working out after work, but while working. And the focus is directly on seated, indoor meetings, which are slowly becoming obsolete and are being taken over by walking meetings.
You may argue that it is not possible to use the whiteboard to chalk down notes, or jot down important points while you walk.
These may be valid points, but I’m sure you carry your mobile with you all the time. And, if the point made is really important, then use the stylus and write in short, or type it and save it as a draft. But using smartphones too much is also not recommended. The best way would be to carry a small diary and write the points.
The point made above should not deter anyone from conducting walking meetings, because the advantages are way more beneficial than the drawbacks.
» Walking outside the workplace energizes people and makes them active while the different environment encourages new ideas and creativity.
» Walking while talking to each other not only enhances a positive working spirit, but also lowers hierarchical work distinctions due to which people feel more at ease.
» Walking helps in burning calories and stimulating the flow of oxygen around the body. It perks up brain function and also increases problem-solving capability.
» This type of meeting allows employees to work without interruptions and helps maintain confidentiality.
» Walking meetings can save office resources and make the workplace energy-efficient; as the participants are out, their computers can be shut down.
Let’s take a look at some tips to remember before, while, and after conducting a walking meeting.
Before the Meeting
If you have decided to schedule a walking meeting for the first time, inform all the members who will be attending the meeting beforehand. I’m sure everyone is aware of this point, but this time you have to inform them that it will be a walking meeting and not a seated one, and be ready to get a few raised brows and eager inquiries.
You have to chalk out the complete plan in advance. Keep the group small. Only invite those who are really concerned with the topic of the meeting. If you invite a large group, then all of them might not be able to listen to each other or the speaker.
If a large group is inevitable, then a strong leader and some assistants will be required. If some stops or presentations are required, then be ready even for those, but keep a plan for them too. You simply can’t afford to waste everybody’s time due to poor planning.
The route of the meeting should be mapped and informed to all those who are attending. Think of internal roads that are quieter; don’t take routes that are very busy. One more thing to remember, when selecting routes is to choose routes that are flat and have an even surface, without too many inclines, declines, potholes or rough patches. This ensures that the attendees don’t tire themselves too much while walking.
If you think you need references, take a print of all that may be required beforehand, and also ask the participants to come prepared. It may not be necessary to carry your file or a bunch of papers while walking. Just go through your topic and know what to say. It is preferred that you walk without any object in your hand that may distract your conversation.
Time your meeting. Just because you’ve stepped out of your office doesn’t mean you are going to stroll endlessly. You should inform everyone about the time you intend to start and when you plan to finish. Give a brief prologue and start the brainstorming session.
Normally, in sit-down meetings, the initial 10-15 minutes are spent just reiterating why the meeting is scheduled and discussing background information. Taking into consideration the per hour rate of each employee in that boardroom, it may cost the company to waste 15 minutes of each employee’s time.
Ask the attendees to set their office phone on voicemail before they attend the meeting, so that if any important issue comes up while the employee is not at his/her desk, it would be taken up as soon as he/she returns from the meeting.
You can go the extra mile to make the participants’ walk a pleasant one by informing them to wear appropriate footwear. A lady in high-heels or pencil heels may not be able to cope up with the speed of her male colleagues. If rain is anticipated, carrying an umbrella would help.
During the Meeting
Pace your walk at a speed that is comfortable for everyone in the group. Do not walk very fast or very slow even if you normally do. Keep yourself with the group. No matter if you are the speaker or not, try to be with the group, not ahead or behind.
Make sure your voice can be heard by everyone, without having to strain too much. If the group consists of 4-5 people, and you are going to be the person who will be speaking more often than others, then it would be better to keep yourself in the center of the group.
You should also bear in mind that every person in the group should be involved in the talk, and also make sure that you talk to everyone. It should not happen that you just end up speaking to the person next to you, and the others also do the same. Remember, you are in a meeting and walking as a group.
Jotting down the points, while on the move, can be assigned to someone from the group. If all the people hold similar designations, then assigning a person to write points may not be a feasible option. In that case, if possible, the conductor of the meeting can jot down the points. It will help make the meeting a success.
After the Meeting
After you come back, recap the points without much delay. You will be able to recall points in a much better way if you do it quickly after the meeting. Elaborate the points and send the meeting minutes to all the participants.
After you conduct your first or second walking meeting, you can ask for feedback or improvements that can be implemented in the next walking meeting.
People feel much more invigorated in natural surroundings, and it also helps to get their creative juices flowing. I’m sure the company would benefit from that one mind-blowing idea which came from a walking meeting, and was not surfacing in that dreaded boardroom meeting.