Lunch and Learns: Part 2 – Running a Lunch and Learn

7 mins read

This article walks you through the different things to consider when hosting a Lunch and Learn, including what to prepare, who’s running it, and how you could follow-up the meetings.

In our previous article we explained what a Lunch and Learn is, some of the benefits you and your staff could experience from them, and some possible options for running your own. Lunch and Learns can provide a unique (and in many cases less formal) setting for additional training and socializing amongst your staff. Now that we know what they are, the next question to answer is: how can you run one at your business?

Preparing for a Lunch and Learn

What’s Your Topic?

In the 1st article in this series, we went over several potential options for running a Lunch and Learn, but they can be any sort of learning experience you see fit for the needs of the business. The key here is to make sure that while you include the “learning” part in your educational breaks, it also helps if you can make these experiences enjoyable for your participants.

If you aren’t sure what topic you are looking for, try taking a poll amongst your executive and management teams to find out where they see the need for additional education outside of direct job roles. From there, you could also send out an email and get a consensus on which topics are of interest from the general staff.

The Format?

Will this be an invite-only event for certain teams, will it be an open “come-and-go” for different Lunch and Learn sessions? Will you have a sign-up sheet to get numbers, or is this a mandatory meeting for people to attend? There are no wrong answers to these questions but preparing beforehand will make planning your event easier. If there will be forms or other tangibles included in the event, make sure the correct amount of materials are prepared for everyone joining.

Speaking of tangibles, will food be provided? If so, make sure the food is ready for the Lunch and Learn. There’s nothing worse than having a short window to fill the bellies and minds of your people, only to end up with a late delivery. Having a hangry staff doesn’t make for the best learning experience!

What’s the Time and Place?

Time: Will the Lunch and Learns be regular (weekly, monthly, or quarterly)? Will they happen at the same time on the same day so people can plan to attend? Keeping a set time helps people plan around bringing a lunch (or not, if lunch is included).

Place: Will the Lunch and Learns take place in a certain place, like a board room or in the lunchroom? Just because it’s a “Lunch” and Learn doesn’t mean it has to take place in the breakroom. Wherever your event takes place, make sure the location is clear to everyone ahead of time.

Who Will Run It?

      1. Use your resources: If you have a certain topic that a local employee is an expert in, would they be willing to help teach others? This is a great opportunity for people to share their skills and help their community.
      2. Bring in a speaker: This could be a healthcare professional brought in to talk about mental health, or a business coach to talk about goal setting and time management.
      3. Video Training: There is some amazing educational material out there, and watching a video covering a specific topic can be just as helpful as bringing in a speaker. In fact, at BIG we have created and produced some pretty amazing videos worth sharing with your staff. If you choose to go the video route, the trick is to make sure there is someone present to facilitate a conversation and questions following the video.

Following up?

So, you have just hosted an amazing Lunch and Learn! What were the takeaways? Did you want to get feedback from the group via a discussion after, is there takeaway actions that need to be thought or acted out and a follow-up in the next Lunch and Learn session is best? What does a Lunch and Learn success look like for you and your company? If you are uncertain on what you want to gain from your event, check out our series covering SMART Goals, which can be broadly applied, even to situations exactly like this one.

All Filled Up with Knowledge!

Lunch and Learns, when put together with intention, can be incredible experiences for staff and management alike! As you can see, there is no definite way a Lunch and Learn should be run, but rather you can tailor these events for your team to give them an educational, entertaining, and team-building break. Now that you know the value Lunch and Learns can give your business, and some key tips for running a Lunch and Learn, it’s time to start planning! What kind of Lunch and Learn would best suit your team of today? Or better yet, what kind of Lunch and Learn will promote the growing team you want to have tomorrow?

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