Getting in after work yesterday, on a cold winter's evening, I was tempted to avoid venturing outside to exercise – until I read this article.
The evidence that Jack Groppel presents about the relationship between exercise and individual and business performance is compelling. It certainly got me off the sofa and pounding the streets.
And it got me thinking about ways to get people off their seats and moving round more as part of their everyday workplace activities too.
Given CommsMasters' focus on communication in business, I particularly reflected on ways to increase activity during conversations.
Here are my top three changes that leaders can easily make to increase activity during conversations and so improve effectiveness and productivity – both during and after the interaction itself.
1. Get outside and walk while holding your formal one-to-ones and coaching sessions. You can always finish up indoors if you need to record actions at the end of your conversation. Walking in the open air helps us think more clearly.
2. For longer meetings and workshops, take a 10-minute break every hour. Ask people to leave the room you are meeting in so that they bring back a fresh perspective. You will find that you achieve more in the remaining 50 minutes than if you simply plough on, hour after hour.
3. Stand up during short meetings. I know that some leaders will already do this, usually due to lack of meeting space or to keep meetings short. Add to this the fact that people's brains apparently work better when we're standing, and you get even more benefit.
Not sure if it's worth making these minor changes to your communication habits? Here are three critical points from Groppel's piece that will surely change your mind!
"...when the body starts moving, the brain 'lights up' in almost all areas, and the result is improved cognition, creativity, and problem-solving."
"...the person who sits too long will start dimming, even to the point that 'brain waves fall into a slumbering state.'"
"Just standing up can improve one’s ability to think. People who choose to stand instead of sit note that their minds feel clearer and that they are better able to problem solve."
Who wants to lose out on the benefits and have a conversation with a drowsy group instead? Go on, give standing up and moving around a try. Enhanced performance can – literally – be only a few steps away!
Image courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS / FreeDigitalPhotos.net