We’re huge fans of the walking meeting at Limeade. Rain or shine, we’d much rather hit the pavement than huddle in a conference room – even when we’re interviewing job candidates. It goes without saying that the boost of cardio is a major benefit. People are also less likely to space out when they’re in motion (not to mention secretly check email during the meeting). And the great outdoors works wonders when it comes to clearing the mind and even spurring innovative ideas.
But getting into the walking meeting habit can be a bit like recommitting to exercise after falling off the fitness bandwagon: all sorts of excuses get in the way. It seems there’s not enough time or you didn’t wear the right shoes or you swear you can’t go into a meeting without your laptop. We’re here to argue that a walking meeting is always possible with a little bit of prep and planning. Here’s how we make it happen.
5 Keys to Walking Meeting Success
1. Keep proper gear at the office. It’s kind of like packing your gym bag before you head out the door in the a.m. – if you’ve got the right stuff with you, you’re more likely to work out. Stash a pair of walking shoes, a raincoat, umbrella and sunscreen at your desk. Now you have no excuses.
2. Up to 4, less than 30. A great rule of thumb is to limit walking meetings to four people and 30 minutes. Any more people and you risk involuntary “breakout sessions” that will distract from the business at hand; any longer than a half-hour and you’re getting a workout instead of a breath of fresh air.
3. Don’t forget your agenda. You don’t need to scrawl topics on a whiteboard in order to stay on track in a meeting. Nor do you need your laptop, tablet or a notebook and pen. Just jot down key points in your phone (or even on a Post-It), then refer to it as needed while you walk. This way you’ll make sure to hit key agenda items before returning back to the office.
4. Stop for a notes break. Once again, your phone’s your friend. But no walking and texting – we’re not looking to cause traffic accidents or human injury here. Instead, about halfway through the walk, make a one-minute pit stop to make note of any decisions made or action items. Designate one person to handle this task and distribute them to the group after the meeting.
5. Follow up and follow through. Make sure to follow up with everyone shortly afterward to recap what was discussed, what was decided and who will do what. And while walking meetings should be as enjoyable as they are productive, you want people to know they mean business. So set an example by following through on what you agree to do while in motion. Now you’re REALLY walking the walk.
Need a bit more inspiration to get out the door? Thinkers from Aristotle to Sigmund Freud to Steve Jobs and even Harry S. Truman swore by walking meetings.