The benefits of walking meetings, and why you should consider taking some meetings outside. At least promise you’ll try it once.
Have you ever been in a two person meeting wondering where you’re supposed to look? A strong gaze may unnerve your company, but so could darting eyes around the room. Whether it’s with a coworker, underling, or your boss; the walk and talk can be a great way to avoid the awks and encourage a nice open chat. (Better than, oh I don’t know, an uncomfortably small meeting room at the office for example.)
Of course, this depends on the nature of your discussion and requires willingness from both parties to walk. I say “both” because unless you have an open field available to you (I do not), you may have a hard time hearing each other and sharing the footpath. A three-way walking meeting could work, but I’m dubious. Surely someone will become the third wheel.
Research suggests that walking meetings are best suited to creative discussions, as opposed to those which require focused decision making. A friend of mine has been using them for her regular one-on-one professional development meetings with her junior staff; a perfect example of a time when you may want to set a casual and open tone.
Then there’s the bonus exercise. I personally like to take a few laps around the block when on long phone calls, if they don’t require me to be in front of a screen. It feels good to get the circulation going, not to mention some fresh air — and as Nilofer Merchant put it: “fresh air drives fresh thinking”.
If you’re after creativity, a sense of casual-ness, fresh air, and some incidental exercise, it might be time to walk and talk.