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Written by Jasmine Cargill
on November 27, 2018
You know walking is good - but how do you do walk and talk meetings?
 
With long working hours and a busy schedule it can be hard to find time for fresh air and exercise. Even if we know we ought to...
 
Walking meetings are a great way to getting some fresh air during the day. But how to you do them?
 
The first challenge with facilitating walking meetings is to get your colleagues on board with the idea. Then all you have to do is ask them to go for a walk while having your meeting. Simple. Read on for more details on what to remember when you want to facilitate a successful walking meeting.
 
Walking meeting in the city two women
 
 

Benefits of walking meetings

First, let's talk about the benefits of a walking meeting:
 
💡 Walking has been proven to boost creative thinking and inspiration
 
🧠 Concentration and focus are enhanced after a walk
 
👫 Walking can break down the normal workplace formality and foster relationship building


💪 And then of course there's the obvious: physical activity!

 

Need we say more? A quick Google search will show you how bad it is for our health that we sit down for most of the day. Actually, we sit for about 9 hours day - that's more than we sleep at night.

Walking meetings are a great way to get the blood pumping which leads to more energized and alert meeting attendees. A well timed walking meeting can beat the post lunch slump and turn the least productive time of day into the most effective.

Walking breaks down formal structure for a while and can build camaraderie between colleagues. If you have colleagues who don’t get along so well, or who often take opposing view points, try taking them out for a walk. Walking side by side rather than sitting opposite at a table can influence communication style and enhance the ability to take on different perspectives.

There are many other tactics to kick-start your meetings and thereby spark some inspiration and creativity into the meeting.

 

Two men sitting on bench having a meeting

 

The old cliché of pacing back and forth while trying to solve a problem is not based on fiction. Numerous articles conclude that walking increases creative thinking and problem solving ability. Researchers have examined creativity levels of people while walking versus while sitting. Creative output was on average 60% higher when walking. They also found that creativity continued even after the person sat down again after a walk.

Getting out and seeing something new is a great way to shift perspective and break the habits of daily office life. Getting fresh air and direct sunlight, especially in the winter months, can make a big difference to concentration, clarity of mind and job satisfaction.

 

Train in city

 

With that being said, it's important to note that it's not the environment that boosts your mind - it's the act of walking itself. People walking on tread mills inside still had a higher score on creativity after the exercise than people sitting, Stanford finds. Walking outside gave a slightly higher score, but it wasn't very significant.

So, fear not if you're working downtown in a large city and have some commuting to the nearest nature - take a walk in the city or around the block.

 

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7 tips to facilitate a walking meeting 👇 

1. Maximum 4 attendees

Walking meetings are best for small groups or one-on-one meetings. You can still do walks for larger groups, but then you ought to mix walking and sitting along the way. If you are an even numbered group, try pairing up to discuss a topic or question and report back when you are all together again.
 

2. Make sure it's appropriate to walk

Walking meetings don’t suit every situation, so make sure it’s appropriate. Trying to give a presentation on a trip around the park isn’t going to work. For delicate or difficult conversations, the formality and privacy of a meeting room is best. Therefore, walking meetings will be best for discussion meetings and innovation meetings. More details on types of meetings.
 

3. Prepare an agenda

You still have to prepare and set the agenda as you would with all meetings. Use stops along the way to punctuate the agenda. Take an iPad or smartphone so you can refer to agenda items and take quick notes or voice record a summary of key points.
 More details on a good meeting agenda.


Walking meeting bench

4. Plan the route

Choose the route ahead of time. This makes it easier not to get distracted and go off topic along the way. In a bigger group, appoint a leader to guide the journey. Think about the distractions along the way - if you're having a discussion meeting, it might be very disturbing to walk in the city, but if you're walking to find new inspiration it might be good with people around you.
 

5. No phones

Ask the attendees to turn phones off or leave them at the office. There's no point in having a walking meeting, if some of the attendees aren't present in mind. When phones are off, you'll have full attention to the walk and talk. Take advantage of this.
 

6. Invite the attendees to a 'walking meeting'

Give advanced warning that it will be a walking meeting. This way participants can plan for appropriate clothing and footwear - it's hard to concentrate if your feet are hurting or your ears are falling off because of the cold.
 

7. Lead the way

If it's new and a bit weird in your company, don't be afraid to set an example. Communicate the benefits and success of your walking meetings and the idea will soon catch on. Share this blogpost, or make a list of the obvious and not-so-obvious benefits of a walking meeting. Lead the way!
 

Walking meeting in the park two women

 

To sum up

Walking meetings are a great idea under certain circumstances. You have to consider the type of meeting, the purpose with the meeting, the meeting attendees and other factors before deciding on having a walking meeting.

Then the benefits of a walk and talk will be inevitable; better health, better concentration, more inspired, more energetic, more relaxed etc.

So, the bottom line is: go for a walking meeting. If your colleagues are reluctant, lead the way and be the frontrunner.

 


FirstAgenda’s meeting optimization platform takes care of the administration, preparation, facilitation and follow-up of meetings. As an app the meeting tool is perfect for a walking meeting - it records everything you're saying and makes a key-word overview for you. Check it out 👇

 

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