Maximising Knowledge: Learning Lunches and Effective Speaker Selection

6th Jul 2023

Jane Farnham, Director of Great British Speakers writes about the benefits of booking a Learning Lunch Speaker.

Learning lunches have emerged as an innovative way to combine professional development and networking while enjoying a meal. These informal gatherings allow individuals or teams to gather during lunch breaks to learn from expert speakers and engage in meaningful discussions.

In this article, we will explore the concept of learning lunches, their benefits to organisations and colleagues, and provide valuable tips on finding the right speakers to make these events a success.

Understanding the Hosting a Learning Lunch Concept:

Learning lunches are informal gatherings where participants come together over a meal to listen to a speaker who shares insights, expertise, or experiences on a specific topic. These events provide an opportunity for personal and professional growth while fostering networking and collaboration among attendees. Learning lunches can be organised within companies, professional associations, or community groups.

James Peach - Solo Round the World Cyclist Adventurer Motivational Keynote Speaker at Great British Speakers
James Peach – Innocent, Uber, Vinted brand director, Solo Round The World Cyclist, sustainability and social purpose business entrepreneur

The location for Learning Lunches doesn’t matter any longer!

Since lockdown and more working from home, here at Great British Speakers we find most learning lunches are either delivered totally online or as a hybrid, where those in an office environment can meet the speaker in person and those working remotely can join virtually.

Andrew Pain, domestic violence speaker at Great British Speakers
Andrew Pain, mental health, domestic violence speaker at Great British Speakers

Benefits of Learning Lunches:

a. Continuous Learning: Learning lunches offer a convenient and time-efficient way to engage in ongoing professional development. They allow participants to expand their knowledge, learn new skills, and stay updated with industry trends without disrupting their regular work schedule.

b. Networking Opportunities: These events provide an informal setting for individuals to connect and build relationships with like-minded professionals. The shared learning experience fosters networking, collaboration, and the exchange of ideas, which can lead to valuable connections and potential collaborations.

c. Employee Engagement: Incorporating learning lunches in the workplace promotes a culture of continuous learning and demonstrates a commitment to employee development. It can boost employee morale, motivation, and engagement by providing opportunities for growth and skill enhancement.

In the days of ‘The Great Resignation’, it’s an ideal platform to engage and retain hard-to-recruit staff.

David Gillespie Hire Keynote Storytelling Speaker Storyteller communicator book at agent Great British Speakers
David Gillespie, professional actor – EastEnders, Red Dwarf, presentation skills, storytelling skills, communications speaker

Finding the Best Speakers for Learning Lunches:

a. Define the Topic and Audience: Determine the specific topic or theme for the learning lunch based on the interests and needs of the participants. Consider the knowledge gaps or areas of interest within the group to ensure the speaker’s content is relevant and valuable.

Here are some Great Topics (and speakers) for Learning Lunches:

  • Leadership and Management: Effective leadership strategies, team building, and communication skills.
  • Personal Development: Time management, goal setting, and stress management techniques.
  • Industry Trends and Innovations: Insights into emerging technologies, market developments, and best practices.
  • Career Growth and Advancement: Tips for career progression, networking, and personal branding.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: Building inclusive workplaces, cultural awareness, and unconscious bias.
  • Work-Life Balance: Strategies for maintaining well-being, mental health, work-life integration, and self-care.
  • The Cost of Living Crisis: Fallout from lockdown, military conflict and raging inflation has impacted most of us.
  • Living more Sustainably: We’re all under obligation within organisations and as individuals to take more care of the planet.

b. Utilise Online Platforms: Online platforms like Google and Reddit can be valuable resources for finding potential speakers. Use relevant search terms, explore industry-specific forums, and join professional communities to discover experts who are knowledgeable and passionate about the chosen topic. You can also use the Great British Speakers talent search HERE

c. Tap into Personal and Professional Networks: Leverage your personal and professional networks for example on Linkedin to identify speakers who have expertise in the subject matter. Seek recommendations from colleagues, industry associations, or professional contacts who may know suitable speakers or have attended engaging presentations in the past.

d. Speaker Directories and Agencies: Explore speaker directories and agencies that specialise in connecting event organisers with speakers. These platforms provide access to a diverse pool of experienced speakers who can deliver engaging presentations for learning lunches. Great British Speakers, TED Talks, and similar professional speaker agencies are examples of such resources.

e. Research and Evaluate Speakers: Once you have a list of potential speakers, conduct thorough research on their background, expertise, and speaking experience. Watch their previous talks or presentations, review their online presence, and seek testimonials or recommendations from past engagements to gauge their ability to engage and educate an audience. We have spent literally years doing all the groundwork for you, all our talent at Great British Speakers have full profiles, CVs, noted speaking topics and videos so you can check them out.

If you contact us with a brief outline of your needs, we can create a suitable shortlist for you attainable within your budget.

f. Reach out and Confirm: Confirm the selected speakers to discuss the event details, including date, time, format, and compensation. Ensure that the speaker’s availability aligns with your preferred date and that the financial arrangements are agreed upon, using something such as our Great British Speakers booking form.

G. The all-important briefing session: Many bureaus and agents treat this as a nuisance. At Great British Speakers, we think it’s essential. We always organise a briefing session where the speaker can really get to grips first-hand with your needs in a way a simple set of written notes doesn’t.

It makes for a really successful event no matter what size, in person or online.

Luke Tyburski Ultra athlete high performance coach mentor motivational speaker host book at Great British Speakers
Luke Tyburski, high performance coach, personal development, mental health speaker

Finding and Booking a Learning Lunch Speaker with Great British Speakers

Learning lunches offer a unique opportunity for professionals to expand their knowledge and build meaningful connections in a relaxed setting. By carefully selecting speakers who are experts in their field and possess engaging presentation skills, you can create memorable and impactful learning experiences. Utilise online platforms, personal networks, and speaker directories to identify potential speakers, and thoroughly evaluate their expertise before finalising your choice. By organising learning lunches with insightful speakers, you can foster continuous learning, networking, and professional growth within your organisation or community.

Jane Farnham – Director Great British Speakers

About the author:

Jane Farnham – Founder of Great British Talent

Jane Farnham is perfectly placed to offer guidance on booking the ideal public speaker. After working as a presenter for the BBC, numerous independent production companies and Blue Chip commercial corporate organisations globally she founded Great British PresentersGreat British Voices followed by Great British Speakers, the latest incarnation of the Great British Talent brand.


To book a speaker contact us at Great British Speakers on 01753 439289 or email bookings@greatbritishtalent.com

Take a look at our broad range of talent available as learning lunch speakers assignments on the searchable talent app HERE

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