You’ve tried everything to keep your co-workers attention – interactive multicoloured pie charts, Tony Robbins motivational videos, a death defying pyrotechnics act that almost got you fired and resulted in your having to wear fake eyebrows for a month after they were singed off. None of it could keep your disengaged colleagues’ eyes away from their phones and the latest, looping cat meme. To be fair, a cat leaping into a cardboard box is hilarious. But there could be a more simple meeting solution that will force your colleague or boss to look up and be engaged. Take them for a walk. No, we don’t mean like a dog. We mean, take your meeting out of the office and conduct it while walking.
Research has found that walking increases creative thinking, and is a great way to aid in problem solving. When we walk the heart pumps faster, which means more blood and oxygen circulates to all the muscles, including the brain. Because walking does not require much conscious effort our thoughts are free to wander and be more creative, because exercise promotes new connections between brain cells while increasing memory and attention.
Not only does it help get the creative juices flowing, it’s also good for you. The average person spends close to nine and a half hours sitting everyday, which is over an hour more than they spend sleeping. This startling statistic prompted TED speaker, Nilofer Merchant, to declare “sitting is the new smoking.” It’s a strong statement, but it’s well documented that prolonged sitting increases the risk of illness. Taking regular walks during office hours will improve your health and reduce stress, while increasing the well-being of employees, particularly if you can have those walking meetings in a green space.
Steve Jobs, despite his fame, was spotted on numerous occasions wondering around Palo Alto in deep conversation with colleagues, while Einstein took walks along the beach whenever he encountered a difficult problem, and it should be noted that neither of them did it while staring at their mobile phones.
So what are you waiting for? Open your iCal, set the venue for your next meeting to ‘the park’, and take along a couple of cans of Tranquini for added stress relief. You and your colleagues will be positively relaxed in no time.