Organizing an event can feel like a daunting task. There are so many initial decisions to make, details to attend to, and moving parts, that some companies never even bother. But hosting the perfect in-person event can be extremely beneficial for your company, and with the right planning in place it doesn’t have to be difficult.
By using these lunch and learn ideas and determining the key elements in advance, your event will be well on its way to success.
Know Your Audience
Who will be attending your event? This is the most important aspect of planning your lunch and learn, because without attendees, your event is pointless. Know exactly who you want to be at your event and create a strategy early on for driving event attendance.
Knowing your audience is also important when making decisions about the details of your lunch and learn. It will influence the topic, the venue, the pace of the event, and so much more. So the earlier you do this step, the better.
This can often feel like the most difficult part of the lunch and learn. How do you come up with a topic your attendees will love and show up for, while still using this event to your company’s advantage?
The tendency is often to talk about your products and services in a very salesy way, but when it comes to a lunch and learn you want to avoid that. Instead, think about topics that may seem a little basic to you, but could be very informative to someone who may not be as familiar with your industry as you are. The point is to educate your audience and establish your company as a subject matter expert, so choose something they will want to know about that relates closely to your company and its expertise.
Choose a Speaker
In some instances, you may be able to partner with another company who will provide a speaker. But if you have to choose your own speaker, try to pick someone who is prepared to not only cover the material, but also has a wide range of knowledge about your company and can prove a valuable sales person when audience members ask him questions during, or even after, the event.
You also want to be sure the speaker you choose is reliable and is comfortable public speaking. You don’t want to bore the audience you worked so hard to get.
Outline the Event
Create a basic outline of how you envision the event timeline. This should include when your attendees will eat, who will introduce the speaker, and the speaker’s time limit. Be sure to include enough time for a Q&A at the end. And try to include enough time at the beginning for people to talk and network a little bit before diving into the presentation.
Keep in mind your audience doesn’t have all day. Try to keep it as short and to the point as possible. You don’t want your audience to feel trapped!
Select a Venue
Picking the right place can make a huge difference in your attendance numbers and the overall feel of the lunch and learn. Try to choose a location people want to come to. And be sure to make arrangements with the venue well in advance to have a private space that is conducive for a speaker. This may mean making sure technology like a projector and mic is available and working properly.
Decide on Food
When feeding a wide range of people, you want to be sure to offer enough variety to make catering to any dietary needs or preferences simple. Depending on the location you choose, you may need to ask for the desired dish along with the attendees RSVPs. But other locations may allow attendees to select what they want from a limited menu at the time of the event.
Just be sure that the food will not take too long to prepare since you want to be considerate of your attendees time, and want to allow plenty of time for the presentation, not organizing food.
Breaking down these key elements and lunch and learn ideas can get your event planning started on the right foot. A truly successful event is carefully planned from start to finish and well beyond.