1. Know where you are going
It’s quite possible to walk the streets where you live and not know much about the dynamics that are at work there – local politics, mindsets and influences. But if we are perceptive and informed we can walk wisely, with a critical awareness of the events, environments and attitudes around us. We can use what we learn to ask questions, celebrate the good stuff and play an active part.
2. Look around you
Have you heard the bingo call, ‘Eyes down’? It’s a reminder to stop chatting and get down to business. We can have the same single-minded focus when we’re walking, too. We follow the signposts and the familiar landmarks but forget to look up and see what is going on around us. Be prepared to make eye contact with other people and make good use of that simple sign of connection.
3. Walk slowly
Have you done the ‘street pastors’ walk’? It’s simple: one foot in front of the other, nice and slow. A slow speed means sends two important messages: you can stop me (I’m available) and I’m not set on going this way (I’m flexible). Those are good things.
4. Get your greeting ready
Conversations are great, but we usually need some warming up before we start one. A short greeting breaks the ice and invites a response. Even on a crowded street full of strangers, a confident ‘Hello’ or ‘Good evening’ is one way to build a friendly and respectful environment.
5. Select the right clothes
The wrong clothes or footwear can stop you from walking. The wrong shoes might cause a blister; the wrong clothes might mean you are too hot or too cold or not protected against the weather. You need the right gear so that you don’t have to stop, turn around or get the bus home. Try to be someone who is prepared for the journey and whatever is around the corner.