When you’re sitting across the table from someone, it’s an interesting, very subconscious thing that you are apart from each other. When you’re on a walk, you’re problem solving together…
Nilofer Merchant has become known for her recent TED Talk where she introduced the simple concept known as the “Walk and Talk.” The gist: Trade seated board room meetings for outdoor strolls, because, as she says, “…fresh air drives fresh thinking.
Walk and vs standard seated meeting?
“When you’re sitting across the table from someone, it’s an interesting, very subconscious thing that you are apart from each other. When you’re on a walk, you’re problem solving together with side-by-side body language. The way you’re talking about things suggests something, right? Which is, we’re facing this problem together, we’re on the same side, and it puts it in a different frame. I think that’s so important to how we actually start fixing real problems — to realize we’re all on the same side of it. Being in that outdoor setting feels more free, and it seems to me that people share more deeply what they really care about. I have had more than one party — men and women — cry. I don’t think you’d do that if you were in a coffee shop; I think you’d be much more self-aware.”
How about the health benefits?
“It is really an interesting way of doing two things at the same time. I always viewed fitness as the thing you did after you got all your other stuff done. I really struggled with incorporating fitness as a daily activity. So for example, today I did 25,000 steps. I had a morning nine o’clock meeting, a one o’clock post-lunch walk and talk, and a three o’clock walk and talk. People have really come to adopt it because as soon as you do it, you realize you can actually accomplish two things at the same time. It’s such a truth that until we find a way of looking at any problem in a creative way, we actually just keep doing the same old thing.”