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How to Plan and Host a Successful Lunch and Learn Event
Lunch and learn events are presentations or training sessions that take place during lunchtime and where the employer picks up the food bill. Lunch and learns last about 30 to 45 minutes and represent an opportunity for employees to improve their skills and learn something new. If you’re thinking about hosting a lunch and learn event, the following 7 tips will help you put together a successful event.
1. Schedule Your Lunch and Learn Event
Although lunch and learn events are casual and don’t need to be as structured as formal training sessions, that doesn’t mean you should leave everything to chance. You still need to plan the topic, presenter, attendees, materials, and the food in advance.
In most organizations, lunch and learn events are conducted on a regular basis; for instance once a week or once a month. How often you will host such events depends entirely on you and your goals, but make sure that your lunch and learns utilize the attendees’ time wisely. Be sure that you are not constantly taking up their lunch periods and when you do, it is for a good reason.
2. Choose Relevant Topics
Once you have got a schedule in place, the next step is to determine what you are going to talk about. Lunch and learns can cover a variety of different topics, ranging from career-enhancing tips and financial health to personal goals and stress management.
The best route is to ask your employees what topics they’d be interested in. You can solicit suggestions directly or by conducting an online survey. By choosing the right lunch and learn topics, you’ll make sure that your colleagues are eager to attend and that they will walk away with valuable insights from the event.
3. Find Educated Presenters
Your presenter can make or break your lunch and learn event. If they are unrelatable or dull, attendees will quickly lose focus. For this reason, it is very important to find a person who understands the goals and needs of their audience.
Very often, the best presenters come from within your organization because these people are familiar with the company’s operations, understand the challenges your employees are facing on a daily basis, and know how to motivate them.
4. Know the Number of Attendees
The first thing to decide is whether your event will be open or for targeted people. Be sure to send invitations on time and ask people to RSVP quickly so that you know how many of them will be attending and plan accordingly.
If you are also inviting remote employees, make sure to include the video conferencing link in the email invitation.
5. Choose a Suitable Venue
When choosing a venue for your lunch and learn event, opt for a space with eating facilities. You can host the event in the company’s café or canteen or choose an off-site venue such as some best restaurants in Hollywood. If you go off-site, be sure to find out if the place is noisy and whether it can accommodate your employees, and book it in advance. In addition, take into consideration whether you will need to set up tables and chairs, or if you will need space to move around.
If you have remote employees, be sure that the venue is equipped to broadcast the event. At the very least, it should have reliable WiFi.
6. Promote the Lunch and Learn Event
In order for your lunch and learn to be successful, you need to take some time to advertise it in advance and allow attendees to make scheduling plans. Promoting the event is a great way to get your employees excited about the event. Use sign-up sheets, email reminders, Slack notifications, company calendar updates, and posters to help keep the lunch and learn top of mind.
7. Pay Attention to Food
Finally, be sure to pay special attention to the food and beverages. Ideally, the food you serve should be good enough to take an employee away from their own lunch period. Try to be creative with food choices and think beyond pizza. Consider options like sandwiches from the nearby deli, a make-your-own salad bar, or veggie lasagna from a local caterer to add to the message that this is not the same old lunch and learn.
If providing a full lunch meal for an entire team of employees is not financially possible, even free snacks can encourage people to come, especially if you have a great presenter and an attractive topic.
Final Thoughts on Lunch and Learn Events
Even though lunch and learns can be an investment of both time and money, they are a great way to encourage a love of learning among your team members. The tips in this article will help you run a successful lunch and learn event without a lot of extra resources.