Julie Mitchell's CoachNotes


Ideas take flight: How to get started with walking meetings


Walking meetings are taking off, for good reason: Innovative ideas take flight when people get moving!

Recently, I’ve talked with several leaders about how to encourage walking meetings at work.

There is no one “right way” to take your work for a walk, but to get started in your organization, consider these guidelines:

Motivation. Research affirms walking meeting benefits: People are energized, group interactions shift (positively), problems are solved, calories are burned, and creative ideas are born. Walking is good for mind, body, spirit, and your business!

Location. Choose a quiet, safe, familiar, and distraction-free environment. Make sure your path is “walking friendly” for everyone involved.

Intention. Plan your walking meeting agenda mindfully. Focus on identifying one, specific “next step” in a project by the conclusion of your walk, or try narrowing several possibilities to the “top three.”

Participants. Start small, inviting one colleague to a walking meeting. Experiment with up to six people, walking with partners, or three abreast, to ensure everyone is heard and feels included.

Results. Capture ideas while walking, using a small notepad, smartphone or other portable device. Before the walk, assign responsibility for distributing follow-up/action plans after the meeting.

Comfort. Consider participants’ fitness level, preparation (including appropriate clothing), and potential obstacles, including skepticism or anxiety. Walking meetings bring out the best in some folks, but they are not for everyone. Ideally, they should be proposed as a positive, relaxed option to traditional meetings.

Author: Julie Mitchell

Julie Mitchell is an executive coach, facilitator, professional speaker and senior consultant who can help you create more positive working relationships, improve your performance, and achieve goals through understanding and practicing effective communication on every level.

8 thoughts on “Ideas take flight: How to get started with walking meetings

  1. Interesting idea, Julie. Karen and I regularly have “walking meetings” as part of our work together. We get out of the office, we get some exercise, and the creative juices start flowing!


  2. Glad to hear you’re walking, Aneil… and walking meetings are good for all partnerships, including marriages. Best to you and Karen!

  3. Nice idea Jules!! If you ever encounter any naysayers to this meeting approach, possibly remind them that for at least a few generations, some of the world’s most important & not so important business deals & transactions have started, advanced and/or been finalized on a golf course. I think most would agree, under the right circumstances, the game of golf is a logical varation to the “walking meeting”.

  4. Jeff, you are so right! Important people in my life have embraced “golfing meetings” for as long as I can remember… and my husband would argue that to get the most from a round of golf, one must walk, as the pros do (carts don’t count)! 🙂

  5. Carts DO count! Otherwise I’d be too tuckered out after walking all over to recover my stray shots! Seems that the Greeks were always pictured walking and talking. But what happens when the meeting ends, resolutions are found and you’re a half mile from the office? Take up a new issue? There has to be some timing involved…

  6. Gail, at least you’re able to hit the ball (more than can be said for me, a hopeless, uncoordinated non-golfer)! You’re right; timing is an issue for walking meetings. I set my iPhone timer for the half-way point (after 15 min., for a half hour meeting). We turn around, head back to the starting point, and know we have 15 min. left. If people resolved things too soon, I’d probably shift conversation to non-work topics like vacation plans, sports, etc.

  7. Pingback: Try a walking meeting by yourself (no company required). | Julie Mitchell's CoachNotes

  8. Pingback: Want wisdom? Walk into the new year to boost your brain. | Julie Mitchell's CoachNotes

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