The Power of Walk and Talks
Walking meetings give new meaning to “meeting on the go”
It’s time to Eat, Drink & Walk to Succeed! As a board member of the American Heart Association I know the health benefit of walking for your heart and your brain. As a professional speaker who enjoys keynoting at meetings and conferences around the world coupled with my background as the White House Director of Events, I understand and appreciate the value of meetings – so why not combine the two?
Walking meetings have become a rage whether at the Google campus or White House South Lawn. In fact, the urban dictionary has coined the term: Pedeconference. A pedeconfernce is described as: Holding an important, impromptu meeting while walking somewhere, a device frequently used on dramatic TV shows such as The West Wing. Well, whether in the west wing, your office building, a conference center, park, gym, street or a walking path, those pedeconferences are literally a creative move. A recent study by Stanford found that walking boosted creative output by 60% and that applied whether you were walking inside or out! In fact, the study showed that the creativity continues even after back at your desk or should I say in a seat inside the meeting room for an additional five to 16 minutes.
There are terrific scientific benefits to walking such as getting your heart pumping which helps keep your brain cells fully supplied with oxygen, nutrition and glucose. In addition, active walkers tend to have more receptors in their brain’s neural network, which makes for better mental processing. You even have a greater ability to generate fresh brain cells – a process called neurogenesis – well into your senior years. You truly have to use it or lose it. So why not use it at your next meeting and schedule it for prime time?
Scheduling a 30 minute or one hour mid-afternoon walking session is well worthwhile to your attendees. We often see walking or yoga activities as “optional” or scheduled as a “sunrise session” early in the morning which is great to offer but why not take it a step further and schedule it in the afternoon. Your attendees will benefit from it and relationships will grow. As meeting planners, you can suggest topic for discussion on the walk or even a list of questions to discuss. Or, you can leave it up to the walkers to naturally start conversations about their kids, weather, the beauty of your location or yes, even their industry and theme of the conference…amazing how they will creatively start thinking about their life and work. Best yet – the attendee will return to their seat stimulated and ready to engage that next half of the day in meetings that is important to your client as well. You may hear me mention the impact of walking meetings again real soon and my incredible experience at Enchantment Resort’s “Woga” class this last summer. “Woga” is walking-yoga and it was creative, fun and a great take on a way to energize your body and brain in the middle of the day!
As meeting professionals, you create powerful opportunities and a schedule that energizes attendees in a variety of ways and sparks the creativity that can make any meeting legendary. The next time you plan out an agenda…think about putting the power back into a power walk!