How to hold a meet­ing while you walk

The Guardian - G2 - - Shortcuts - Si­mon Us­borne

They have been cham­pi­oned by Steve Jobs, Sig­mund Freud, Aris­to­tle – and any char­ac­ter of note in The West Wing. Now walk­ing meet­ings are now be­ing pre­scribed by Pub­lic Health Eng­land (PHE) as a po­ten­tial cure to chronic seden­tarism. “Move more. Get up and walk about.

And I don’t just mean in the of­fice,” reads PHE chief ex­ec­u­tive Dun­can Sel­bie’s planned speech at the group’s an­nual con­fer­ence this week, ac­cord­ing to the Times. That’s all very well, Dun­can, but let’s not march past re­cep­tion with­out this vi­tal guide to the art of the walk ’n’ talk.

Use it to brain­storm

Piles of re­search into the men­tal ben­e­fits of walk­ing meet and

ings sug­gest that it does not en­cour­age all forms of think­ing equally. In one Stan­ford study, desk jock­eys thought of 60% more uses for com­mon ob­jects while on a tread­mill rather than at a desk. Walk­ing is good for cre­ativ­ity, less help­ful for “con­ver­gent think­ing” – mak­ing de­ci­sions.

Have a des­ti­na­tion

Pick a tar­get. In one sel­f­ref­er­en­tial

episode of the afore­men­tioned US po­lit­i­cal drama, Josh and Sam paused a walk’ n’ talk when Sam asked: “Where are you go­ing?” They had been fol­low­ing each other. Aim­less­ness is def­i­nitely not a good look.

Don’t bring the whole team

Walk­ing is good but there is no sense in march­ing 10 abreast along a busy pave­ment. David Haimes, a se­nior prod­uct de­vel­oper at Or­a­cle, told the Har­vard Busi­ness Re­view that side-by-side walk­ing breaks down “or­gan­i­sa­tional hi­er­ar­chy” – but sug­gests a max­i­mum of three peo­ple .

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