Why You Should Hold Meetings Outside the Office

Forget the power lunch—more business deals are taking place in yoga studios and on bikes. These days, breaking a sweat with your client may be more effective than breaking bread.

Related: 4 Ways to Spend More Time Outside

“I’m a firm believer that exercise is a vehicle for rich and meaningful conversations,” says John Mix, CEO of FINIS, a swimming equipment company. “Whether it’s a morning swim, a midday walk-and-talk or an evening run, I make it a real priority to connect with customers or friends of the company outside of the workspace.

A typical boardroom meeting is heavily geared toward results, with an agenda and pressure to arrive at a concrete outcome. Getting out of the office shifts the focus from outcome to process; removing factors like workplace body language, electronics and daunting action items can make room for innovative thinking.

“The ‘sweatworking’ environment is one that fosters a positive and energetic vibe,” says Elisette Carlson, founder of SMACK! Media.

To put some sweat equity into your meetings:

Choose wisely.

The activity should be one that matches everyone’s interests and fitness levels, like a yoga class or hike.

Make it convenient.

Suggest a location near your client’s home or office. You may be willing to drive an hour to hit your favorite mountain bike trail, but others may not be as enthusiastic.

Be a (real) winner.

Whether racing in a 5K or playing racquetball, you don’t have to let the client win. Authenticity will build a better relationship.

Forget the agenda.

Leave to-do lists and meeting times at the office. When your mind is distracted from the present conversation, the freedom of the exercise experience becomes less valuable.

Related: 8 Ways to Avoid Pointless Meetings

 

This article appears in the May 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.

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Susan Lacke

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