A fun way to build team culture and grow together is through a weekly or monthly lunch and learn. Continuing education helps employees and team members grow both within their respective roles as well as outside of their regular day-to-day. Of course, a free lunch can also be a compelling driver of attendance and attention *wink*. With this in mind, here are a few tips and best practices to keep in mind when hosting a lunch and learn.
Catchy Names for Learning and Development
A lunch and learn is a meeting where an organization or a team gathers either in-person or remotely. Usually, this takes place during a meal or late in the afternoon over drinks. At a lunch and learn, the goal is to cover topics that will sometimes be either directly, or other times, indirectly related to the team. In most cases, a fun invitation will be sent out by a team leader or manager. Even for virtual lunch and learns, these sessions can be led by anyone who has something they would like to share.
When it comes to lunch group names, it is a good idea to think up some catchy names for your knowledge sharing sessions. Remember that the goal is to get as many people to show up as possible. Hype it up! Try a rhyme. Find some awesome alliteration. Making a play on the name of the company may be a cool idea, too.
Some alternative names might include something a bit edgy (but not too much!) to develop a sense of mystery and intrigue into the lunch and learn session. Finally, send an email to invite your team. In the email, explain the topic, the timing, and what to expect to learn. Coming up with fun luncheon names is a great way to get as many people to show up to a lunch and learn session as possible.
Lunch and Learn Format
Usually, a lunch and learn template will start with a few minutes of idle talk as people are finishing up getting their food and finding a seat. Then, the session leader will take a look at their agenda or proposal and get the session started. The session leader will go through the presentation, which should fill anywhere from 15-30 minutes. When considering virtual lunch and learn ideas during the session, it helps to tell people if and when questions will be allowed (during the presentation or after).
Once this part finished, there may be an engagement of sorts. When looking at a lunch and learn format, both online or in-person, it’s usually best to leave the engagement until the end, after the main presentation.
By setting up a presentation template in this way, everyone will have a chance to finish their food before they are asked to participate. In many cases, a lunch and learn planning template might involve people breaking out into smaller groups to complete this part.
Lunch and Learn Topics for Your Team
When thinking about the definition, it is important to note that you are free to experiment with topics and structures that work for your team. For example, a lunch and learn for marketing can help teach about the many facets of a marketing program.
Similarly, diversity lunch and learn topics are important for becoming aware of and overcoming inherent bias and making sure that everyone feels welcome. Technology-related ideas might involve teaching team members how to handle new equipment that might be present to help everyone get the most out of the company’s advanced equipment. Some of the other potential lunch and learn topics might include:
- Talking to the employees and team members about the ideal customer of the company
- Going through the brand redesign of the company, explaining to everyone why the brand redesign was necessary and how it happened
- Coaching development sessions that will help employees mentor new team members to become strong contributors
A lunch and learn could also cover hobbies and interests. This might include sports, music, technology, and more. This is great for showing team members that the company cares about creating a healthy work-life balance for everyone who plays a part in its success:
- Sabbatical recap – I took 30 days off to travel South America. Here’s what I learned.
- Smoking vs. Grilling – Here is a basic walkthrough for anyone looking to try out this cooking method.
- How to Train for a Marathon – I’ll talk about my journey from never running to running my first marathon.
Whatever your topic, a lunch and learn can help expand your teams’ horizons, give them an opportunity to present to their team about a topic they’re passionate about, and promote a healthy growth-culture within your organization.