Clatu founder Cyrus Schultz on the origins of the Walk&Talk workshops
“A few years ago, we changed from holding meetings exclusively in a meeting room to instead using a walk, a real “walking talk”. I admit: It was unusual at first to leave the office like that in the middle of the day. “No, we’re working – ….really!” – “Yeah, sure…” one or the other colleague grinned at the time.
For a year or so we developed a concept that really worked and clarified basic questions such as: City or forest? Sporty mountain tracks or easy trails? Telephone availability yes or no? Once we left the hustle and bustle of the city behind, we jumped into the conversation.
Among the best-known Walk & Talk fans are Apple founder Steve Jobs, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and former U.S. President Barack Obama. They are known to have achieved some success – for which the idea of scheduling meetings as walks is probably not solely responsible. Nevertheless, meetings in the fresh air during a walk around the block promote creative thinking, offer the support you need and the output is also greater than after a meeting in a conference room. There are now several studies on this, not least from the renowned Stanford University (→ Download).
Each walking meeting lasts 60-90 minutes and begins with a situation that is usually difficult to resolve – that’s the starting point. The focus is on the conversation. Everything is in flow, in motion, the goal in mind – perfect for situation analysis. The attention is clearly on the professional environment, although the private side is not ignored. During the walk we reflect business ideas, growth plans, strategic dependencies, contractual relationships, personal and family situation, as well as project, leadership and personnel-related topics. Everything is put to the test!
We then summarize these topics on whiteboards, flipcharts and to-do lists in our creative room. By the end of the day, first insights have been gained, milestones have been set, decisions have been made, and our clients are able to apply new solutions that drive results.”