A recent article by David Kalt of the Wall Street Journal, reminds me why informal (water-cooler) conversations can be more insightful and productive than traditional scheduled meetings. Kalt’s article The Secret to a Better Workplace: A Lot Less Sitting highlights the benefits of alternative ways to conduct meetings at work.
He notes, “When our bodies move, our minds activate, and we accomplish great things while feeling liberated and content.” Standing (or walking) meetings bring inherent benefits such as timeliness, equality, and more body language to help participants gauge emotion.
A standing or walking meeting also means you are disengaged from your workspace, which also introduces a different perspective because you are apt to leave your preconceptions behind as well. Consider the benefits of holding a meeting at a local coffee shop. Whether sitting or standing at the coffee shop, the alternate location can add vibrancy to the group that could not be gained at the office. And don’t underestimate the time spent getting to your alternate location. Set the tone of the meeting by presenting your discussion points while walking.
Keep in mind that if you plan to conduct meetings in a space or place where note-taking is difficult or impossible, set expectations about participants roles to remember points, or consider bringing along a mobile whiteboard or phone with an app to record spoken minutes.