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Should You be Netwalking, Not Networking?

01 July 2022

Networking events have traditionally taken a form that tends not to drastically vary from venue to venue. However, are there more wellbeing benefits to facilitate interesting ideas, as well as more natural conversations and resulting relationships, from keeping them on the move?


“There’s something special about the relationships forged on our walks.”


– Jackie Jarvis
Co-founder, Nature Netwalking



What is Netwalking?


Netwalking is an alternative gathering for businesses wishes to connect that focuses around a very leisurely hike in a pleasant area. It’s an opportunity to get out of the direct urban environment in a way that can positively shift mindsets out of the box. Proponents and promoters of such events cite the benefits of exercise for cognitive function, of which a raised heart rate providing more oxygen to the brain is just the most obvious. 

Research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology demonstrates that walking boosts creative idealisation in real time and shortly after. Four experiments compared people trying to think of new ideas while they were walking or sitting. Researchers found participants did better while walking, particularly while walking outdoors.

We often warn of environment-related burnout and the advice from mental health professionals than has been particularly encouraged over the last few years has been to spend more time outdoors and bring more of the outdoors inside.


Speed-dating for Business


While it may seem like the activity leads itself to small groups and partners becoming more isolated than everyone in one room, most of these walks feature a timed-turnaround to encourage swapping positions or introductions, providing a structured connectivity for everyone involved that few static clubs could match.

Many events also include finishing at a pub or cafe, where the shared experience can start further conversations rather than stale, forced introductions, and gaining anything that could have been lost in the wind on the venture.

Regardless of the destination and decision to join in there, this type of networking grew in popularity during the pandemic, where the ability to safely socially distance was a winning factor, and may still provide comfort in post-pandemic times.

“Business is very sociable,” said Jackie Jarvis, co-founder of Nature Netwalking, to the Oxford Mail. “It must be, and there is no real substitute for face-to-face conversations. So, the excitement you get from talking whilst you walk together is huge. Knowing you are safe but sharing something more than a cup of coffee. People open up in a positive way, chatting as they ramble. And I believe there’s something special about the relationships forged on our walks.”


Lead the Walk While You Lead the Talk


Nature Netwalking is an established brand and model for these sorts of events and have an open team of professional ambassadors that lead the walks weekly in different areas across the UK, mostly focusing on rural regions. They each have company profiles on the site and are able to use the opportunity to mix their work and leisure passion.

However many businesses are opting to host their own Netwalking events closer to city hubs, and even still within the confines of our streets, where the open air and exercise still provides a boost. Property Sports Network run a series of these in central Bristol specifically for property and construction sector, with very cheap tickets in aid of the LandAid charity.


Picture: two people walking down a street.

Article written by Bailey Sparkes | Published 01 July 2022


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