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Planning Ahead: Lunch-n-Learn

In a previous post, we discussed a spring lecture series that MGEVs often organize for the public (read more here). These series, referred to as “Lunch-n-Learns” because they are offered frequently at the noon hour so that people can attend on their lunch break, provide a great opportunity to showcase MGEV expertise in many areas. They also are a fantastic addition to Extension programming because people will attend the series regularly.

2018 lecture series schedule for Floyd County MGEVs.

If you are considering a lecture series for your 2020 project line-up, here are some suggestions and tips:

  • Choose a theme for your series. If your MGEV program offers this series each year, a theme offers and easy way to keep the series interesting. New themes offer great advertising and PR angles to improve promotion in your community. A variety of themes may also attract new attendees.
  • Create a catchy name. Find that MGEV in your group who is good at creating catchy names! This will really help when promoting the series to the public.
  • Brainstorm supporting topics. Once you have your theme or focus for this year’s series, create a list of topics that can be addressed by a session.
  • Outline the presentations. When the topics are finalized, they can be outlined. Identify 3 main points per topic or session. Remember, these lecture series are short and sweet, so we can’t share everything we know about the topic in one session!
  • Delegate! Think about who in your group is knowledgeable about these topics. Ask them to be the speaker for the session. If they are not comfortable with public speaking, then ask them if they will coach someone who is willing to speak or even be on hand during the presentation to answer questions.
  • Engage the Marketing Team. Do you have a team of MGEVs who specialize in promoting Extension events? You’ll want to enlist their help with the lecture series. It is so much fun to speak to a large group of enthusiastic people, so you’ll want help filling the room!
  • Measure your success. Use one of our evaluation tools to ask questions of the audience to determine how much their knowledge increased as a result of each session. This makes for a terrific story! You’ll be so proud of your accomplishments!
  • Share your story! Be sure to use sign-in sheets to track who attends the series (you’ll want their email address to let them know of future events) and complete an Educational Activity Report after each session.
  • Check out this Thoughtful Thursday archive to hear from Floyd County MGEV, Ginny Word, on coordinating a lecture series.

As you plan the series, consider the calendar. We suggest a time frame of four months to plan a lecture series. Think about how many lectures or sessions you’d like to offer in a year. You may not want to offer a session in months when many people in your community travel or when other major community events are planned.

Lastly, once your series is planned, let us know about them! We will be happy to add them to our Facebook and Instagram pages. With help from the Extension office, the series can also be added to Extension’s main calendar.

PS: If you are interested in our “Planning a Lecture Series” worksheet, send me an email message! I’ll be glad to send a copy to you.

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sdorn

About sdorn

Sheri is the State Coordinator for the Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Program and Extension Specialist for Consumer Ornamentals. When she is not traveling about the state of Georgia admiring the work of Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteers, she spends time in her own (real and virtual) gardens.