In theory, meetings are meant to be one of the most productive times of the day — a time when everyone sets down what they’re doing to come together, update each other on workflows, offer help and advice where needed, and strategize new solutions. In reality, however, meetings often get off track, turning into more of a hindrance to productivity than a boon for it. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, meetings can be not only more productive but a great way to sneak in some light exercise through the day, just as long as you take it to the streets. That’s right, we’re talking about organizing a walking meeting.
Of course, taking a walking meeting can be distracting, and there is some risk in working away from your ergonomic desk setup. To get it right, we recommend:
1) Choosing a Route Ahead of Time
Whether you’re walking around the neighborhood, down a nearby nature path, or across the office park, it’s best to decide your route ahead of time so navigating won’t be a distraction. Doing so comes with the added benefit of enforcing agreed upon meeting lengths, as they should naturally end when the route is completed.
2) Appointing a Clear Leader
A leader is important in any meeting for keeping things on track, but it’s all the more so in a distracting environment. The leader should of course have a clear agenda laid out ahead of time and should enforce time limits, both for how long people speak and how long the meeting itself will go.
3) Keeping the Invitee List Small
A walking meeting is at its best when there are only about two to four people in the group, so that everyone can hear each other and have a chance to talk. This is all the more important if you’ll be walking along a highly trafficked route.
4) Offering Incentives
The great thing about a walking meeting is that you’re going some place. That makes offering an incentive, like a mid-meeting coffee, easy to offer, and it also adds more motivation into the mix.
5) Taking Notes on a Smartphone
There should be a dedicated note-taker as well, who can operate from either a smartphone or a tablet. You may even want to record the meeting or take voice memos of important points so no one has to stop to type.
Do we have your interest piqued? If you’re looking for more on this subject, we highly recommend this piece from The Guardian: Walking Meetings: Taking it to the Streets. And don’t forget your walking shoes!