Take a Walk: Steps to Successful Walking Meetings

This guest post is courtesy of Kelly Gregorio

It seems like we’re all striving for work-life balance.  In addition to unplugging when you get home and scheduling time for hobbies, there are also combined activities that can cater to both sides of your life.  One being: the walking meeting; where everything that normally takes place in the conference room takes place on a sunny sidewalk with a healthy side of exercise.

Why Walk?

A walking meeting is beneficial because it can encourage creative thinking in an unconventional environment.  It can also give you a mental boost from soaking in sunlight and fresh air.  There are psychological benefits too.

During a walking meeting you and your partner are positioned side-by-side.  This symbolically puts the topic at hand in front of both of you, and your evenness in stride helps diffuse any combating issues or behaviors.  Plus, because each meeting is paired with exercise, walking meetings tend to end on a high note, having gotten more than one thing accomplished.

5 Things to Consider…

  1. Size Matters: The ideal size of a walking meeting is 2-6 people.  A number over that amount could make hearing and keeping up with the moving conversations too difficult.

  1. They’ve Got to Be Game:  Like anything else in business, you’ve got to know your audience.  Not everyone is going to be up for a walking meeting, so make sure you get the A-OK before you call to order while lacing up your sneakers.  Participants will need notice anyway, in order to dress appropriately.

  1. Prep Participants: Be sure to send out a formal agenda beforehand, so that everyone is up to speed on the discussions at hand.  Also, as the host remember to supply everyone with water to hydrate before and after the meeting.

  1. Find a Perfect Path:  Plotting a path is more than just looking for low noise and adequate sidewalk space (both of which are important).  It’s also imperative that you plot the path prior so that you can match the pace of the meeting.  This way, if you meet your halfway point and you’re still on your first topic, you know it’s time to pick up the (verbal) pace.

  1. Hit Record:  Use your Smartphone or a portable recorder to track the meeting’s minutes.  After each walking meeting you should send a formalized follow up detailing the decisions made.  Your recording can help you summarize and be there to add clarity if needed.

In Summary

A walking meeting is a fresh way to strike a balance between work and rejuvenating play.  It can spark creativity as well as diffuse tense situations.  As long as you’re well prepared, it’s worth giving a try.  Step by step, conducting a walking meeting could pay off in more ways than one.

What have been your experiences with unconventional meetings?  Share your thoughts below!

About the author: Kelly Gregorio writes about entrepreneurial trends and leadership tips while working at Advantage Capital Funds, a provider of merchant advances. You can read her daily business blog here.


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