Can you help me with an experiment? I want to have more walking meetings.
I have two reasons for this goal. First, I think meetings where we talk while walking are more effective. Steve Jobs (and now Mark Zuckerberg) are famous for taking long walks to interview employees or discuss key strategic initiatives. For some reason, moving stimulates more creativity and easier dialogue. My best recent meetings with entrepreneurs have been on walks around the Pioneer Square area.
Second, sitting in meetings all day is killing us, slowly, incrementally but unquestionably. I am no expert on the activities of our biological ancestors, but I know for sure we were not evolved to alternate between sitting in meetings, sitting in front of the computer and sitting in front of the TV (which is unfortunate because I am among the best in the world at all three). In fact, as reported in the New York Times, a recent study published in the journal Circulation showed that every extra hour per day a person sat in front of the TV increased that person’s risk of dying by 11%.
Here are three important exceptions to my walking rule.
- If you are presenting a slide deck or showing a demo, that’s harder to do on the run. Let’s sit for that.
- If you are wearing high heels when you meet with me, I won’t ask you to walk. But if you are meeting with me and reading this, don’t wear heels. I have terrible fashion sense and always wanted to be taller, so heels are unnecessary.
- If it’s raining (or snowing), we’ll stay inside.
I know most of you out there spend far too much time sitting in meetings. But it can be awkward to ask someone to go for a walk. Get over it. Join me (and others) in this crusade.
If there is no good reason to be sitting in your next meeting, don’t be afraid to ask the person across the table from you to go for a walk. I bet he or she will love the idea.