There are only so many hours in a day. Those who’d like to respond to requests for informational interviews, or meet more candidates, but just don’t have the time may want to consider a new kind of meeting.
It’s called the walk-and-meet. It’s the no-tech solution from author and Silicon Valley executive Nilofer Merchant. And it’s picking up speed with harried professionals everywhere. Instead of trying to fit someone into your busy schedule, fit them into a break –to pick up coffee, or lunch, or just to get some air.
According to Google Senior Program Manager, Mary Ellen Player, “walking is the new golf course. It’s where business is getting done.”
The proponents of the “walk with me” alternative to an old-fashioned sit-down insist that it’s good for your daytimer, your health, and your productivity
Nowadays, people sit an average of 9.3 hours a day, which is more than we sleep at 7.7 hours. Spending extended hours in a chair takes a toll on our physical and mental wellbeing, say the experts. One major study published in European Heart Journal found people who sit for hours without moving a major muscle group have higher risks for heart problems, even if they exercise before or after work.
Since Nilofer Merchant started living what she preaches, she says she walks 30 to 40+ km a week during her working hours. At her recent Ted Talk on the subject, Merchant made the case that business discussions when strolling are as good as when sitting—if not better.
“The amazing thing about getting out of the box is that it leads to out-of-the-box thinking,” Merchant said. “Fresh air drives fresh air thinking, and you’ll bring into your life an entirely new set of ideas.”
According to Dr. Ted Eytan, quoted in Forbes magazine, the walk-and-meet is ideally suited for getting to know someone for the first time. He says that science confirms that we’re in better control of ourselves, and our emotions, when we walk. The result is both parties relax more and exchange a better quality of info.
That could be a win-win for candidates. At The Bagg Group, we have placed over 60,000 candidates successfully in full-time, contract and temporary placement over the last 40-plus years. We know job interviews can be stressful for many. Anything that could help a candidate relax and easily express their experiences and ideas may be worth contemplating.
Before you ask someone to walk with you, consider these tips which those who make a practice of moving while meeting shared with The Bagg Group.
- Meetings-on-the-go are best suited to getting to know someone, giving feedback, hashing out a problem, or brainstorming with a colleague. These are not appropriate for project management type meetings where you need to run through a checklist.
- Be sure to let the person with whom you’ll meet know ahead of time that you’d like them to join you as you walk. It would be unfair to spring a jaunt on a candidate who may just have bought new shoes for the meeting and who would find each step a pain – literally.
- Many suggest starting gradually by suggesting a walk to the coffee shop so that the meeting takes place half on-the-go, and half in a chair. Those who walk-and-talk insist any movement energizes the conversation –and improves productivity and health.