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By Christina Franken on Apr 22

Walk & Talk

The science of walking meetings

Why walking meetings?

"I always thought, you can take care of your health, or take care of your obligations, but one came always at the cost of the other."

This is Nilofer Merchant's story from her TED talk on walking meetings. Nilofer is now walking 20 to 30 miles per week instead of traditional meetings and says walking meetings have changed her life.

Scientific facts

"Recent research finds that the act of walking leads to increases in creative thinking." Dr. Ted Eytan, MD says in this article on HBR that "our brains are more relaxed during walks due to the release of certain chemicals. This aids executive function, which governs how we focus on tasks and deal with unforeseen events." Also "walking meetings lead to better employee engagement by breaking down barriers between supervisor and subordinates".

"When we walk we let our guard down", said Marily Oppezzo, who researched walking and creativity in Stanford.

“You feel like you’re at the principal’s office,” is how LinkedIn's vice president of engineering Igor Perisic puts it here, describing a normal one-on-one sit-down meeting. A walking meeting instead will free up the conversation and the atmosphere.

Walking and talking

Get started with walking meetings

  1. Walking meetings are suitable for up to 3 people.
  2. Discuss with all participants to prepare - especially to wear the right shoes.
  3. Find a good route, maybe even include a 'destination' such as a sight or a point of interest, to give the walking meeting a direction and center point.
  4. For good practice, try taking a cell phone call while walking.

Can this go even further?

The latest trend is replacing the dreaded networking culture with 'Sweatworking'. This healthy variation to work related get togethers suggests to take clients or relations for a run, bike ride or even for a gym session (more on this here)

Ready to try this? Use your location on Meetup.com to find a running networking event such as this one in Amsterdam, or this one in New York.

Running and networking