Walk The Walk To Talk The TalkAllegedly, always a good start for a piece written by a lawyer, the latest trend gathering pace for meetings is what was referred to in The West Wing as “pedeconferencing”.

There have been many studies done which confirm that brain activity is improved or enhanced when a person is physically active. You can find various statistics, such as a 60% increase in creativity when walking, or a 300% increase in electrical signals in the brain compared to when you are sat behind a PC monitor. In schools the benefit of pupils taking a short break for some physical activity to help concentration has long been recognised. Whatever the measurement or statistic though they do all seem to follow the trend that a degree of mild physical activity can help your thought process.

So how does that fit together with walking meetings, or “netwalking”? I would suggest in several ways

Firstly in the time-poor environments in which many of us now seem to work we do want our meetings to be as productive as possible, and that can surely only be helped by an increase in our brain efficiency.

Secondly, I think it is accepted wisdom that the vast majority of meetings are not as productive as they could or should be. You may be the exception to this, and if so I salute you, but a lot of us sit through many meetings that are relatively formulaic and in which we spend quite a lot of time routinely going through ritualistic elements rather than focusing on the key issues of the moment. A discussion that progresses without an agenda stuck in front of everyone, and which has a slowly changing background providing subtlely changing stimulation might just help us focus on the substance rather than the form of the meeting.

Thirdly, that focus, we are told, will come with an increased capacity for creativity, so the issues just might be resolved that much more effectively and quickly. Finally, again bearing in mind time constraints, you do get a “twofor” in that you are still working whilst getting some of that exercise that you know you probably need, but do not quite get round to.

At this point, I acknowledge, that there may be a group of readers, specifically the golfers, who are looking quite satisfied and are thinking that the box is ticked already. I agree that you can claim to be ahead of the game here (unless you play like me and spend most of your round on a solo hunt for your ball well away from your companions, and indeed the fairways).

For some further thoughts on this, and some scary statistics about the dangers of the amount of sitting that many of us now do, may I recommend a short TED talk by Nilofer Merchant which you can find at: http://www.ted.com/talks/nilofer_merchant_got_a_meeting_take_a_walk

Just a thought: What advice would you go back and give your younger self, as you were starting your business or career?

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