Randygram – MEETINGS PART 3 – THE WALKING MEETING
When someone mentions a meeting, you may get an image in your head of people in a room sitting around a table. But if you are getting together with just one or maybe two other people here is an idea: Take a hike! Literally. The Walking Meeting is a terrific way to engage, discuss big ideas, develop a relationship and get some exercise to boot.
Invite your meeting mate to wear some comfortable shoes and get outside for a while. While you saunter, silence your phone and you will be uninterrupted and able to focus on the other person and the issues at hand. Pick a trail or route that will give you a half hour, 45 minutes or an hour of time.
The dynamic of being side by side instead of face to face often relaxes people, they are less intimidated and become more conversational. And the aerobic value of moving while breathing ensures nobody will nod off. Fresh air is a great energizer. Many including Thoreau, Einstein and Beethoven have taken advantage of a good amble.
Science says that walking creates a great environment for your creative juices to flow. In 2014 the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory, and Cognition noted that while observing people seated and walking, that “the walkers thought more creatively than the sitters”.
It has been noted that Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook is a fan of the Walking Meeting and he will often take a presumptive candidate for a job out for a spin around The Dish Trail near Stanford. And who gave him this idea? Why the master himself, Steve Jobs, who would walk The Dish or just around the Stanford campus, sometimes with another and sometimes by himself to noodle a new idea or wrestle with a tough challenge.
I often visit Silicon Valley and I arise early most mornings to drive over to The Dish to make it to a high point just as the sun rises. It is a paved 3.7 mile long trail just above and to the west of Stanford University with hundreds of feet of elevation change and it will take you about an hour and twenty minutes to complete. Parking is available on Stanford Ave near Junipero Serra Blvd. At some parts on a clear day you will see north all the way to San Francisco and south to San Jose. On other days you will see the Marine Layer creeping over from Half Moon Bay. Deer, squirrels, osprey, hawks, cattle, turkey and jack rabbits will be your non-human companions. Alone or with company it will be a great start to your day and will set you in a great frame of mind.
And if the Peninsula isn’t handy, perhaps you live near a beach, lake or river. These are all great hikes, usually with only modest elevation changes. My second favorite walk is the 2 mile English Landing Trail along the Missouri River in my hometown of Parkville, MO. It never looks the same from day to day, but always inspires. Got sneakers? Go.