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Increase your creativity 60%

Why Zoom is exhausting and how walking meetings can help

Let’s face it, we’ve all been spending a lot of time sitting in front of Zoom meetings and it’s kinda dumb. There’s an easy fix and there’s research that it not only makes us a little more creative, it makes us a lot more creative.

When you’re trapped in an office, I get it. But so many people are working from home and yet they’re stuck doing the same thing over and over again.

Let’s mix it up…. Grab your phone, headphones and go for a walking meeting.

Why are Zoom meetings so exhausting?

  • We are tuned to watching body language
  • Tuned to eye contact
  • Constantly scanning for where to look
  • In a meeting you can catch glances, share a moment and have little side-bar conversations.

Online meetings don’t really let you do that.

  • Looking for eye-contact but you can’t find it.
  • Looking for micro-expressions but they are harder to see
  • When we’re on video chat we’re always looking at people’s eyes and if they aren’t looking at us, we think they’re ignoring us. Humans are just wired that way.
  • And sometimes the audio is just a little out of sync from people’s lips and it drives our brains crazy.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big proponent of turning on the video camera and I think Zoom is a great tool, but everything in moderation and staying in this type of zone all day is mentally draining.

Walking Meetings

I’ve been doing walking meetings for years and walking literally gets you to change your perspective. When you’re walking you’re more focused and tend to listen better. You’re not fidgeting with your phone or refreshing your newsfeed in another tab.

Because you’re not focused on trying to match people’s facial expressions you can focus more on what they are saying. There are countless health benefits to walking meetings, but don’t just do this for your physical health. It’s good for your mental health and creativity too.

I started doing walk & talk meetings about 10 years ago. I’m a big fan of the Show West wing where Aaron Sorkin would take people on a walking journey all while telling a story. The visual cue advances the story and it also gives both sides a chance to talk.

When I would go on a walking meeting with someone you can’t see their facial expressions so you’re really concentrating on what they are saying.

The other reason to go for a walk during your meetings is that it can make you more creative. A lot more creative. According to a study out of Stanford, it can increase your creativity by as much as 60% for tasks where you’re thinking of novel ideas.

They studied the effect of walking on creativity and it doesn’t even have to be walking outside. They got the same results from walking on a treadmill.

So if you’re feeling burned out on Zoom meetings, know that it’s how your brain is wired. Grab your phone, mask, headphones and go for a walk.

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