Trade shows, although exhilarating, can be exhausting. And sometimes, the thought of sitting through one more breakout session, demo or sales talk is painstaking, at best. Hit the road and try conducting your sales activities via walking meetings, instead.
A Harvard Business Review® (HBR) article describes walking meetings as ones that take place “during a walk instead of in an office, boardroom, or coffee shop where meetings are commonly held.” The article reminds us walking meetings are not a break; rather “they are meetings that would have taken place regardless of whether they were held in someone’s office or while walking around your office complex.” Learn more about walking meetings and their benefits and how to successfully integrate them at your next trade show.
Walking meetings at work
You are likely no stranger to the health benefits of walking. Experts agree we should aim to take 10,000 steps each day for optimal health. But did you know putting in your steps during meetings has advantages that go beyond physical health? Check out these benefits of walking meetings:
- Spark creativity: If innovation is among your trade show goals, hit the pavement! According to a survey on walking meetings at work, 5.25 percent of participants report creativity as a direct result of walking meetings. Calming chemicals are released during walks that cause the brain to relax. This is said to increase creativity. Another study supports this and found walking had the potential to increase creative output by an average of 60 percent.
- Break down communication barriers: Walking meetings can help break down communication barriers. David Haimes, senior director of product development at cloud-based software company Oracle®, says “walking side-by-side means the conversation is more peer-to-peer than when I am in my office and they are across a desk from me … ” This opportunity for open communication can do wonders to encourage direct conversation and idea exchange with prospects at a show.
- Improve energy and engagement: Research on the advantages of walking meetings found they increased energy, focus and engagement after just three months. Another study shows that those who participate in walking meetings are 8.5 percent more likely to feel highly engaged. Both things are what we strive for at a show!
If walking meetings are in your future, keep these success tips in mind. First, don’t spring these outdoor ventures on your audience. Let attendees know ahead of time you plan on hitting the streets so they can come prepared. Do a little preparation yourself by providing bottled water and hand held fans to keep participants cool if the weather is warm.
Encourage participation with a little incentive. A logo’d pedometer can be a nice encouragement. You may even consider holding a contest to see who got in the most steps that day. Reward winners with prizes such as Bluetooth® ear buds or infuser sport bottles.
Walking meetings are a move in the right direction when it comes to keeping show attendees engaged and energized. Step into something different, and give them a try at your next event!