24 Amazing Lunch and Learn Topics to Take the Guesswork Out of Your Planning Process
With the right lunch and learn topics, you can ensure your colleagues are eager to attend and that they’ll walk away with valuable insights as well.
If your team members-or even you personally-have an adverse reaction when you hear the word “lunch and learn,” you’re feeling a common sentiment caused by a common problem: picking the wrong lunch and learn topics.
The truth is that many lunch and learns are held for the wrong reasons, which leads to employees wasting precious time from their workday.
Great lunch and learns are engaging, outcome-oriented, and give your team real value in exchange for your time.
So, to help you take the guesswork out of planning an incredible lunch and learn, we’ve compiled 24 topics your team will love.
If you want to pick the perfect lunch and learn topic, start by first thinking at a high level about what you’d like your team to get out of it. Looking at it through this lens helps you focus in on a topic that actually supports your goals.
15 Professional Soft Skills Training Lunch and Learn Topics
Without a doubt, one of the most common goals for lunch and learns is to help employees develop the critical soft skills they need to succeed at work. And within this category, you can drill down on some ultra-specific topics.
Here are some ideas that fall under this category.
Today’s employees work in a fast-paced environment which means the ability to effectively manage their time is critical to keeping on top of their deliverables, reducing stress, and maintaining work-life balance. With a training program like Practical Time Management, you can help your team minimize distractions and make the most out of their time at the office.
Planning and Preparedness
For employees and leaders alike, the ability to anticipate and plan for upcoming projects, tasks, requests, changes, and potential challenges is as crucial as being able to work efficiently and effectively in the moment. So, by hosting a lunch and learn focused on planning and preparedness, you can help equip your team with the tools they need to be forward-thinking and strategic.
There’s nothing easy about project management. From juggling deadlines to managing team members and troubleshooting issues, having masterful project management skills can make life simpler, more streamlined, less stressful, and more successful for your team and your organization.
If you’re interested in exploring this topic more in-depth, we recently tapped into our network of experts to get their insights into the most valuable project management skills to possess in 2021 and beyond.
The benefits of effective communication in the workplace cannot be overstated. With the success of every project, goal, and task hinging on what’s said in meetings or delegated through emails, clear communication can make all the difference. If you want to prioritize this in your organization, you might want to enlist a Clear Communication group training program to help develop your team’s verbal and written communication skills.
7 Kinds of Leadership Skills
While many leadership skills and traits are innate, many others can-and need to be-honed and developed. With that in mind, you might want to consider doing a leadership-focused lunch and learn that covers off some of the most vital skills they need, such as:
- Strong and empowered coaching
- Keeping employees engaged
- Creating positive team dynamics
- Effective negotiation
- Understanding and leveraging individual strengths
- Hosting efficient and effective meetings
- Developing and utilizing emotional intelligence
If you’ve ever been to a networking event, you can probably attest to this: networking is a fickle thing. If it feels forced, it can be extremely off-putting. But when it’s approached organically, it can be an incredible tool for building relationships and forging new inroads with potential customers or partners. So, if networking is an important part of your business, it may be worth hosting a lunch and learn that focuses on how to do it well. It can be a great skill-developer for junior employees and a nice refresher for seasoned networking pros.
In an ever-evolving world, change and evolution are inevitable. This could include everything from turnover in your organization to industry and technological change and even political and social changes. And with so many generations in the workforce, it’s a good idea to host lunch and learns that focus on things like sensitivity training, diversity, internal change management, and finding common ground.
Public Speaking and Presentation Skills
You’ve heard this saying: the number one fear among people isn’t dying, it’s public speaking. Whether that’s actually proven is up for debate, but the fact that it’s even a topic of conversation shows just how challenging public speaking can be for people. Here’s the catch, though: for many professionals, public speaking and presenting are key elements of their jobs. So, it’s almost certainly worthwhile to host a lunch and learn that focuses on developing more impactful presentation skills.
Workplace conflict has significant negative impacts on employees and, in turn, businesses as a whole. But, unfortunately, it’s an inevitable part of almost every workplace. What matters most is learning to take conflicts, learn from them, and channel them into a positive outcome. This is easier said than done, but with a lunch and learn topic specifically focused on Conflict Resolution, you can help your team learn to turn a negative clash with a colleague into an opportunity to strengthen relationships.
3 Fun-Based Lunch and Learn Topics
While professional skills are incredibly valuable, it’s also to remember that ‘all work and no play made Jack a dull boy.’
So, don’t shy away from choosing lunch and learn topics that are focused solely on helping your employees have fun, share a few laughs, and build stronger bonds.
Here are a few ideas to consider.
Breaking the Ice
Want to help your colleagues get to know each other better? Then elect to do a lunch and learn that’s all about breaking the ice and learning more about one another. If you need inspiration for how to do it, check out this list we made comprising the 300 best icebreaker questions for workgroups.
Wine, Beer, or Spirits Tasting
Okay, in fairness, this might be more of a happy hour idea than a lunch and learn topic but consider hosting a late afternoon “lunch and learn” where a professional connoisseur comes in and does a wine, beer, or spirits tasting with you. Not sure where to start? Many of the bigger alcohol companies actually host these types of events for corporate groups. Just remember to ensure everyone’s of legal drinking age and, of course, to drink responsibly.
Whether your lunch and learn topic is solely focused on building bonds and having fun or it’s something you want to include to wrap up a skills-focused lunch and learn, team building activities are a great way to do it. They can act as a standalone lunch and learn, or simply compliment an existing lunch and learn by adding a fun touch. And if your group works remotely, you can also easily do a virtual team building activity that everyone can participate in.
You might like:
- Wild Goose Chase: Get out into the great outdoors with a scavenger hunt team building activity like a Wild Goose Chase. With this app-based activity, your team will head out into the city to explore, bond, and tackle fun photo and video challenges.
- Charity Bike Buildathon: According to research from the United Health Group, 78% of American adults said that volunteering lowers their stress levels. So, try out a Charity Bike Buildathon philanthropic team building activity. Together, your group will build and decorate kids’ bikes before creating an advertising campaign for their bicycles and presenting them to the group. Finally, all bikes will be donated to a local children’s charity of your choice.
- Cardboard Boat Building Challenge: Split into teams and create a cardboard boat made out of just the materials provided — cardboard and tape. Team members will have to work together to engineer a functional boat that will float and sail across water without sinking. Once teams have finished making their boats, they will create a presentation to explain why their boat is the best, before putting their boats to the test. The final challenge will have teams racing their boats to test their durability!
- The Amazing Chase: Inspired by the popular reality TV show The Amazing Race — on which teams race around the world, with each leg of the competition requiring the groups to solve puzzles, interact with locals, and complete challenges — this interactive scavenger hunt has teams following clues around their city and taking on physical and mental challenges to move on to the next destination. With more teams in play, the stakes are even higher, and the competition is even more fierce.
- Random Acts of Kindness: Random Acts of Kindness fuses the scavenger hunt concept with a philanthropic twist. This large group team building activity gets teams racing against one another to try and complete as many good deeds as possible before time runs out. Again, more people equal more positivity spread throughout your city.
5 Life Skills Lunch and Learn Topics
Work-life balance is more than just a buzzword. It’s something that’s becoming increasingly important to modern employees. That’s because the reality is that there’s a direct correlation between work and life-in order to be productive at work, you need to be satisfied in life, and vice versa. So, picking lunch and learn topics that help employees develop life skills can also have benefits in their professional lives.
Check out these ideas for some inspiration.
Nutritious food has been proven to support productivity, creativity, and happiness at work. So, consider hosting a lunch and learn focused on teaching your employees the benefits and how-to of healthy eating. This could be things like a healthy dinner cooking glass or tips for how to meal prep and pack lunches that fuel their brains. You can even bring in a healthy lunch for everyone to enjoy as a way to back it all up.
Just like eating well, fitness has also been shown to raise energy levels, combat stress, battle fatigue, and make you more efficient and productive. That makes it a perfect lunch and learn topic for your team. Whether it’s a how-to tutorial or an instructor-led physical workout, helping people understand fitness fundamentals will have positive outcomes in their personal and professional lives. If you opt to do an actual workout, just make sure it’s something everyone will feel comfortable participating in, regardless of their fitness level.
There’s nothing quite as challenging as financial stress. And if your employees are financially stressed, it can resonate back into their professional lives. So, finding ways to support your employees’ financial wellness is an important responsibility-and also an incredible lunch and learn topic. Consider bringing in a financial planner or accountant who can help provide actionable financial insights your team can use in their daily lives and in the long-term.
Mindfulness is defined as the ability to be fully present in and engaged with the current moment-our thoughts, feelings, sensations-without distraction or judgment. It also helps us manage our emotions and channel them in a positive way, and it makes for a great way to take a mental break during stressful points in the workday. If this sounds interesting to you, there are many people out there who specialize in teaching mindfulness and many of them do lunch and learns.
At work and in life, setting realistic goals gives us something to strive for and keeps us motivated. But it’s not always as simple as you might intuitively think. That’s why it makes a great lunch and learn topic: you can help your team understand how to set short-term and long-term goals as well as “stretch” goals, if they so desire.
2 Company Expertise and Knowledge Lunch and Learn Topics
For many organizations, lunch and learns present a perfect opportunity to share internal knowledge with employees.
If you’re launching a new product or service, that’s a perfect lunch and learn topic to dive into with your team. Order in some food, put together a presentation, and take everyone through what’s new and what they need to know.
If you’re unfamiliar with cross-training, it refers to the concept of coworkers teaching each other the ins and outs of their respective roles. This is important because it helps employees to appreciate each other’s jobs and recognize all of the duties that each person does-even those they may have overlooked before. This can create more empathy between team members as well as help to refines processes. It also gives you a significant supply of lunch and learn topics to work with. Consider doing a monthly lunch and learn where one employee from a particular department or role develops a presentation to train the rest of the team on exactly what it is they do. After a few months, your entire organization will have an even better understanding of each facet of the business.
Lunch and learns don’t have to be boring or cringeworthy. On the contrary, with the right topics, lunch and learns can be an engaging and enjoyable experience for your entire team.
Have you used any lunch and learn topics we might’ve missed? If so, let us know in the comments section below!
Want to learn more about group skills training programs for your next lunch and learn?
If you’ve got questions about the right team building activities for big groups of employees, reach out to an Employee Engagement Consultant.