It was 10am and I was one hour into a mini-workshop with an organisation. A brand new client.
Sitting in an office in another country with two guys I’d never met until 60 minutes previously.
This was day one on our working relationship. But this wasn’t the get-to-know-each-other meeting, it was the session to come up with ideas for a big project. The clock was ticking and we had five hours to co-create the ideas before I left for the airport and my flight home.
It was going well. But by 10am I thought we could benefit from a change in scenery. “Can we go somewhere to get coffee?” I asked.
“Yes, let’s head out for coffee,” came the reply and a few moments later we were leaving the building and heading outside.
And that’s when everything changed. As soon as we walked down the road, I could sense we were feeling lighter, looser, liberated. We forgot the demands that lay ahead of us, and relaxed for a few moments. The small talk that happens when you’re walking alongside someone started. We were getting to know each other and shared a few laughs.
What’s more, once we had been served our coffees and were sitting outside, the ideas started to flow. As we sat and sipped our drinks, we came up with some concepts that felt fit enough for further discussion. The walk and fresh air had reinvigorated us. But to test whether our ideas were good enough, we needed to get moving again.
When we got walking again, the movement in our body triggered movement in our brain.
We never did go back to the office. We spent the rest of our time together walking around, grabbing lunch in the office canteen, sitting outside.
And by the time 2pm came about, we had our ideas nailed.
As I made my return journey by car to the airport, I realised how productive we’d been in a short space of time. People who’d never met before managed to come up with the goods in such a short space of time.
Switching what would have been an office session, constrained by four walls, into an (unplanned) walking meeting had been transformative.
The walking meeting had acted like a raising agent, a fast-track to getting to know each other better, a fast-track to ideas. It was like we’d achieved multiple meetings in a single shot.
But really it wasn’t a surprise to me. Walking meetings have become my trademark, that’s why I designed my Fuel Safaris out on the street. Just as my workshop had to come up with answers in five hours, my Fuel Safaris provide clarity and answers within three hours. Walking helps achieve so much during a relatively small amount of time.
I always find constraints can be helpful. Via the walk, my clients and I got to know each other in a way we could have never done inside the office. The walk fuelled us. Our surroundings affect how we think and feel. Office environments can constrain our thinking, getting outside liberates us.
Go on, get outside, take your ideas for a walk! You might be surprised what you come up with.
I’m a creative consultant, storyteller and coach who gets organisations, teams and individuals fired-up about their work. If you want to move faster towards your career or business goals, come on a Fuel Safari with me. Get in touch by email firstname.lastname@example.org