What do Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg have in common? Besides being some of the most prominent technology innovators in history, they regularly held walking meetings. To break up a sedentary lifestyle, getting outside for remote meetings is an easy way to get active and aligned.
If your calendar is packed with back-to-back meetings, you likely walk away from your meeting marathon depleted and somewhat unproductive. It’s challenging to stare at a screen for hours on end, and despite the improvements in video meeting technology, it’s not a substitute for being in the same room as someone (yet). To break up the days where you feel like you’re in meetings from dawn till dusk, try a walking meeting. Let’s dive into the complex world of a walking call.
Ah, we’re just kidding. Walking meetings aren’t complicated. A walking meeting is what it sounds like. It’s when you take your meeting on the phone and go outside for a walk. If you’re part of a company where ‘camera’s on’ is a requirement for meetings, then you might want to inform your peers ahead of time about your plans for a particular meeting.
Ahead of the meeting, inform your coworkers that you’ll be on audio-only mode in order to get outside and grab some fresh air. If you have 3-4 meetings every day, it’s very reasonable to take one of them outside on audio-only mode in order to take a break from the screens.
When’s a Good Time for a Walking Meeting?
Anytime is a great time to take a walking meeting or a walking call, but we find that afternoons are the best time to get in a walking meeting assuming the weather is such that it makes sense.
Video meetings can drain your energy if you have multiple ones during the day. It’s easier to sit on camera in the early mornings and then use an afternoon walking meeting as a way to give yourself an afternoon wake-up call.
If you live in the city, you might even consider taking a walking meeting to a local coffee shop for an afternoon coffee. Ideally, you want to end your day refreshed. If you have kids or a spouse, it’s important to have the ability to easily transition from work to home mode – and a walking meeting can put you on the path to achieving that (pun intended).
What Benefits are There for a Walking Call?
When you’re stuck at your desk or kitchen table staring at a computer screen, your brain is zeroed in on it. When you get outside, your blood starts pumping and creativity picks up a notch. Even if you’re walking during a meeting, your brain will still be engaged on the topic at hand.
Making a change in your environment will improve your decision-making as creativity increases while you’re away from your computer. Your brain will change contexts and solutions will arise to pressing problems.
For you and your employees, health should be top of mind. Getting active and outside has been shown to improve overall wellness. The sun increases vitamin D, and walking increases blood flow. Healthier people are happier people, so a walking meeting can improve employee morale.
What if the Weather Is Bad?
If it’s really cold, really hot, windy, or raining – it’s going to be challenging to take an outdoor walking meeting. In those situations, plan to walk around your house or apartment complex. If you’re in a co-working space or an office building, even just walking around the building can experience some of the same benefits.
As a fail-safe, if you live in a small building, find a treadmill that you can use to walk very slowly during your meeting. There’s no perfect way to do a walking meeting other than make sure you’re out of your chair and walking around!
The Technology Needed for a Walking Meeting
You’re going to need a few pieces of equipment in order to make a walking call happen. You’ll need a smartphone, headphones, and an application that supports video and audio meetings. Spike offers streamlined video conferencing as well as audio-only options that allow everyone to connect regardless of the type of device being used. People using video can connect using their Mac or PC, but people on the go can use an Android or iPhone to connect via video or audio.
All you need to have a walking meeting is Spike, a smartphone, and headphones.
How to Prepare for an Audio-only Meeting
Check to see if the meeting requires your attention on video to review slides. If the meeting does require you to view slides, you’ll need to save your walk for another meeting.
Check the weather to make sure you aren’t going to get rained on while walking or experience too much wind that will make it hard for your team to hear you.
Have a charged smartphone and headphones ready to go so you don’t drop off during the meeting.
Turn Wi-Fi off before joining the meeting so you’ll have a strong cellular signal. If you leave Wi-Fi on, your smartphone will hang onto the connection as long as possible and then finally transition to cellular possibly disrupting your connection.
There are multiple benefits of making walking meetings a regular part of your day. With walking meetings, you’ll benefit from increased creativity, performance, and meeting engagement. Furthermore, making them a part of your daily routine can inspire your team members to try them out for themselves. Walking meetings create happier employees, and happier employers, making for a more efficient and productive organization. Give walking meetings a shot and unlock the power of truly ‘mobile’ productivity!
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