Walks and talks: The benefits of the walking meeting

Benefits of the walking meeting

The idea to walk'n'talk when making important decisions is not a new one. Ancient Greek philosophers such as Socrates and Aristotle where known to deliberate and preach on the ways of the universe while wandering the colonnades of the Lyceum. In fact, the pupils of Socrates, the Sophists, were also known as the 'wanderers'. Fast forward today and some of Silicon Valley's brightest innovators, such as Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, continue to use this ancient technique to turn the daily drudgery of long meetings around a conference table into revitalising and inspirational discussion.

So what happens when work colleagues hold a walking meeting compared to a boardroom conference? To help you get to grips with this new fad, we're taking a closer look at some of the benefits of waving goodbye to traditional sit-down meetings and saying hello to the walk-and-talk.

Picking prime members

When scheduling a meeting in a traditional conference room, it's tempting to ask along every single person who may be connected with the subject. When you're planning a walking meeting, you have to be more selective about who you invite. And, with only the most relevant people present. Often having a small group means the meeting will be faster and more productive.

Boosting creativity

Walking is also an excellent, natural way to fire up your neurons, clear your mind and encourage creative thinking. A recent Stanford study examined creativity levels while sitting or walking and found that a person's creative output increased by an average of 60 per cent when on the move. In a meeting where you need to think outside the box, a stroll around the courtyard could be that element to spark a great idea.

Effortless exercise

By adding a walking meeting to your day, you're a giving yourself a chance to escape the tyranny of the computer screen and give your eyes a rest. What's more, that little bit of exercise can go a long way. According to the Better Health Channel, just 30 minutes of walking a day can boost fitness enough to reduce the risk of developing debilitating conditions. Healthier staff usually means better productivity.

Facing difficult discussions

During a walking meeting, it's necessary to look ahead and pay attention to the surroundings as well as the topic at hand, and this can be very beneficial if the topic is a tough one. It's easier to discuss sensitive issues when walking side by side rather than sitting face to face. Consider discussing pay rises or internal conflicts with this method.

Making a happier workforce

Best of all, by taking a stroll out in the fresh air with stimulating surroundings to look at, you're improving general wellbeing too. A good walk can be a wonderful mood lifter and there's nothing like a happy and positive workplace for increasing productivity and boosting performance.

Ready to walk and talk? Make sure you brief your colleagues before you set out and tell them to leave their smartphones and tablets at their desk so you can feel the full benefits of the expedition.

For more tips on boosting your office culture, check out our guide to happier, more profitable businesses by the CEO of The Happiness Institute.

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