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Education is an amazing opportunity for the chambers. Being able to package up what your members need to know to be successful in business in bite size chunks is invaluable.
A member of the Chamber Professionals Group on Facebook asked:
We are working to develop an educational program at lunch time. If you have similar programs, what do you call yours? What topics have you covered?
Creating a Valuable Chamber Lunch and Learn Program
There are many variables in hosting a lunch and learn. Some of the things you’ll need to figure out for your sessions are:
Cost & Location
These probably go hand in hand. If you’re paying for a location, there will probably be a cost associated and your chamber will need to decide who will pick that up — the chamber, members or a sponsor.
When it comes to lunch you’ll need to decide:
- Are your members paying for it?
- Will you get a sponsor?
- Will they bring their own lunch?
There isn’t a right or wrong answer to these questions just logistics you need to figure out.
As Beth Bridges said, “I learned that you give the people what they want, not what you think they need.” If your members want to know about social media, do it. If they are interested in discussing every minute detail of the tax code, painful, but offer that. Figure out what they want and find the expertice to provide it.
Some chambers keep their meetings to an hour, some do ninety minutes. You can save some time by eating while the speaker is talking. Offer networking ahead of time so that those with a strict lunch hour can skip the networking and go just for the education.
One chamber I know offers the speaker role as a sponsorship, where the speaker’s business pays the chamber to speak. They don’t speak directly about their business. It’s not a hard sell, They address a trend involving their business such as video usage in business (for a video production company).
But you can arrange with a local school, Toastmaster’s chapter, elected officials and many more to speak to your group. Many times the speaker will agree to do it for free for exposure.
I’m always thinking about content. If you’re going to go to the
trouble hard work of hosting a lunch and learn, why not repurpose that content?
Use quotes from the talk in your social media postings throughout the week proceeding the lunch and learn. Attribute those quotes to the session, that way people will think about all of the good information they received (if they were there) or will want to attend next time.
Record it and make it available on your YouTube channel or other chamber social media pages. Ask your community a question that came up at the session. Don’t look at a lunch and learn as an individual program. The content uses are endless.
Education is something people struggle with in this quickly changing world. Add in the fact that what they need to know may make them uncomfortable — as is the case with social media and technology — and many people would love to be spoon fed. The chamber can add some real value to their membership if it’s willing to take on this onus for their members.
Learning new skills is something every business person intends to do but it falls by the wayside as they go about their day-to-day work. You can become an invaluable resources for them.
Guest post by Christina Green
Image via Flickr by Alan Levine
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