How To Conduct An Effective 'Walking Meeting'

Meetings bite. Make them more effective and improve your health at the same time by conducting them while walking. Here's how to maximise the effectiveness of a walking meeting.

Walking picture from Shutterstock

Deven Billimoria, CEO of salary packing advice company Smartsalary, has been regularly conducting "walking meetings" with his team for the last six months. He learned of the concept via a TEDX video, and now regularly uses them for meetings with his executive assistant and other team members.

The idea is simple enough: schedule a meeting as you usually would, but do so while walking, rather than locking yourself in a meeting room. As well as adding exercise into your routine, it provides a break in the routine of the day. (It undoubtedly helps that Smartsalary's office in the Sydney CBD has easy access to major parks.)

These are Billimoria's tips to make the process more effective:

Warn participants in advance. Don't spring a walking meeting on someone unexpectedly. One crucial reason for that? The other participant might not have suitable shoes for walking.

Stick to one-on-one meetings. It's hard to co-ordinate a group walking at different speeds.

Get the timing right. A meeting that's too short provides no real benefit, while one that's too long might cover more material than you can effectively keep in your head. Between 20 minutes and 45 minutes is ideal.

Choose appropriate topics. Not everything can be covered effectively in a walking meeting; Billimoria singles out "data rich" topics as an obvious example. Detailed software development planning is also probably out.

Make sure you sum up key points at the end. Most meetings result in action items, and you need to make sure everyone is clear on those.

Have you tried walking meetings? Tell us your experience in the comments.


Comments

    Great for exercise, and possibly for getting a different perspective, but what if you need / want to take notes, or really concentrate on what's being said (trying to ignore the traffic, birds, planes overhead, etc)? And it's hard to talk face-to-face (ie. actually looking at the other person front on) when you're walking side-by-side.

    Also body language, which personally I think is important to understand, is much harder to read when the person is marching along beside you swinging their arms and looking to the front (not looking at you).

    Thanks, but I'll stick to regular face-to-face meetings - for the important meetings anyway.

    "Meetings bite. Make them more effective and improve your health at the same time by conducting them while walking. Here’s how to maximise the effectiveness of a walking meeting" Maybe. But maybe your meetings really bite. I enjoy mine. We have alcohol and nachos. They are rather tasty. Meetings are much more interesting and revealing when people are plied with alcohol.

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