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How to Plan a Seminar or a "Lunch and Learn"

A seminar is typically a half-hour to two-hour event at which one or more speakers present information on a particular topic or related topics. A "Lunch and Learn" seminar is an event at which people bring their lunches and listen to the speakers during a lunch break. A seminar may be large or small, or formal or informal. This document will give you planning tips on how to plan a seminar  or "Lunch and Learn" in your community or at your workplace.

Ten Planning Steps

1. Form a committee of sponsors and planners to discuss logistics of the meeting (i.e. theme, place, date, time, and speakers).

2. Ask speakers to present on a selected topic and ask what type of audio visual equipment they will need.

3. Reserve a room, audio visual equipment, and any broadcast equipment you may want to use, if available.

4. After getting appropriate clearances, publicize the event at least 2 weeks before and the day before (i.e. through email announcements, listservs, flyers, and newsletters).

5. Request speaker biographies and handouts. Prepare speaker introductions and make copies of handouts.

6. Obtain your give-aways if you want these as part of your event (i.e. for a nutrition seminar you might want to give away a healthy snack or product).

7. Arrive at least 30 minutes early for the event to ensure room set-up and equipment is appropriate.

8. Display handouts on each chair for participants and place a "lucky winner" tag under 2 chairs for the give-aways.

9. Introduce speakers and facilitate a question-and-answer session and a give-away at the end.

10. Send speakers thank you notes.

Helpful Hints

Case Example

Below is an example of a "Lunch and Learn" seminar that took place at a work setting to give you an idea of how you might want to organize one in your community, including a faith-based setting, workplace, school, or civic group.

Name of event: Obesity: A Weighty Matter

Target audience: Male and female employees

Purpose: Two departments and the fitness center/ health promotion program office at the worksite planned this event together to gather employees without taking much time out of their schedules to discuss obesity trends in the United States and specific ways to maintain a healthy body weight.

Outcome: Twenty people came to learn facts about obesity and tips to keeping themselves and their families healthy. The seminar was also broadcasted to various other sites throughout the organization.

Description: During their one-hour lunch break, employees came with their lunches to participate in a seminar featuring two speakers who presented for 20 minutes each. The first speaker discussed obesity in the United States, and the second speaker discussed specific ways participants could improve their eating and exercise habits. A 20-minute question and answer session followed. There was a surprise give-away at the end to two members of the audience who had a "lucky winner" tag under their chairs. They won a tasty box of whole grain cereal rich in fiber and folic acid.

Publicity:

Planning Time: Four to six weeks, though you may need more or less time depending on your setting.

*Source: Adapted from "How to Plan a 'Lunch and Learn' or Health Seminar," on CDC's web site.

 


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