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Take a Walk on the Wild Side

by Neil Neary ASEBP | March 30 2017

While it doesn’t quite feel like spring has sprung here in Edmonton, the calendar assures me that it will soon be April. There’s no disputing that the best thing about April is the start of the baseball season, but another thing to get excited about is the chance to spend more time outside. If you’re like me and are looking to maximize your time enjoying spring and summer in Alberta, walking meetings could be just the thing.

Of course, not every meeting can be a walking meeting. Two people is a great number but I’ve seen as many as six work too. It comes down to what the objective of the meeting is. If you’re sharing ideas and brainstorming, then what could be better for generating ideas than getting outside and getting your blood pumping? If you need to review detailed information like spreadsheets or reports—probably best to stay inside.

Stay Safe

Once you’ve decided you’re having a walking meeting, it’s important that you do a little preparation to be safe. Some things to consider are:

  1. Know the area around your office. This includes sidewalks and busy intersections. If possible, plan a few routes and know roughly how long it will take to walk them.
  2. Tell your team. Let someone in your office know who is in the meeting, where you are going and when you’ll be back.
  3. Dress for the weather. And I’m talking proper footwear too. Running shoes with dress clothes isn’t always a great look but what do you care? You’re outside!
  4. Don’t forget your phone. As if you would! It’s a map, a flashlight, a timer and, if all else fails, it’s a ride back to the office.

Be Productive

I’ve already talked about what type of meetings make sense for walking meetings but it should go without saying that you don’t want to try and take minutes during a walking meeting. Best to have a clear objective that is likely to produce some smaller number of action items. Of course, you’ll want to capture your great ideas somehow, so may I suggest:

  1. Use the voice recorder on your phone
  2. If you’re old school, a small notepad and pen can work
  3. Text the main ideas. I mean, STOP and text the main ideas. Google “texting and walking videos” to see why the “stop” part is crucial.

Get Going

In the last few years I’ve worked on a university campus, downtown in the big city and now at the ASEBP office beside a cute residential neighborhood. From a walking perspective, there are advantages to each of these (downtown had the highest density of coffee shops, residential has quiet side streets and sidewalks). The one thing they all have in common is that I have solved some tough challenges and come up with some brilliant ideas in walking meetings. Take a beautiful day, add some engaged colleagues and let the good ideas flow!

Neil Neary

Soup to nuts, Doogie, or Neil as we know him at ASEBP, has worn many health promotion hats in his day, from that of a practicing chiropractor to a provincial health care-planning savant and now as ASEBP’s program manager of Stakeholder Relations. Neil is a human treasure chest for random facts and equipped to tackle almost anything—except if it’s over shark-infested water—or over high bridges above said shark-infested water.