7 Creative Virtual Lunch and Learn Ideas for Your Client Events

Thomas Paris
February 24, 2021
7 Creative Virtual Lunch and Learn Ideas for Your Client Events

Virtual lunch and learns are a popular way for companies, consultants, and non-for-profit organizations to reach and engage their clients. As a marketing or sales professional, you invest a significant amount of time creating educational content to drive product onboarding, adoption and boost customer retention.

Virtual lunch and learns offers a more personalized approach to customer education, often leading to better learning outcomes. They involve smaller groups of people, allowing you to personalize the content to individual learning styles.

What Is a Lunch and Learn?

Lunch and learns are informal training meetings scheduled during lunch. Conventionally, companies organized these sessions for internal training, but marketing, sales, and customer success teams have been using them to interact and share knowledge with clients. Lunch and learn sessions usually run for 45 minutes to one hour, but depending on the topic and attendee dynamics, some sessions might run longer. We recommend to keep them short, sweet, and to challenge your team to include only useful content.

Client-facing lunch and learn programs usually cover topics like new product features, hacks, basic troubleshooting, FAQs, and industry topics.

7 Creative Virtual Lunch and Learn Ideas for Your Client Events

You can make your virtual lunch and learn sessions more engaging for your clients and attendees with these seven ideas:

1. Lead With a Live Virtual Performance

Notice how a sound engineer plays live music before the band comes on stage?

Similarly, you can lead with a 5-minute virtual live performance featuring standup comedy or an acoustic set to entertain the attendees as you wait for all attendees to arrive and get ready. You can also go with a TED Talk or play a Spotify “soundcheck” playlist to keep things simple.

A YouTube screenshot of a virtual live performance for a Christmas hockey match
A YouTube screenshot of a virtual live performance for a Christmas hockey match

Since B2B virtual sessions can get monotonous, starting with a live performance sets a positive tone for the rest of the session. Live performance also creates an incentive to join early so that you can start the session on time.

2. Make Your Own Meme (MYOM)

A fun way to kick-off the session is to run a make your meme contest (we hope the acronym catches on). There’s a meme for everyone - even for people who don’t like memes. 

You can have each participant create one meme that describes them better than anything. There’s a ton of entertaining content that they can “borrow” from meme generator websites like Imgflip.

Attendees can then share their memes on your dedicated chat channel saying - “this is me.” This can end up being a very entertaining activity that can also give you valuable information about your clients’ knowledge gaps. For instance, software can be particularly challenging for some people. MYOM allows attendees to share their challenge with you in a relaxed, low-pressure environment, leading to better learning outcomes. 

A meme of Jim Carrey from Dumb and Dumber peeking out of a balck car. The meme reads "when I hear someone struggling with Salesforce."
A make your own meme contest can help you understand your customer's pain-points better

The only thing you need to ensure is that the session is fun for everyone, so set up some rules around the content - be respectful and considerate of other attendees’ sensibilities (SFW). 

3. Assemble Your Entourage

Having two or more presenters on board will make the session more exciting and engaging. Whether you are explaining new product features, hacks, or troubleshooting techniques, having multiple experts share tools and tactics of the trade is always helpful.

A session moderator/MC and tech support can help make your virtual lunch and learn more seamless. The moderator can facilitate the session by taking care of the polls, quizzes, and feedback. Your tech support can help resolve technical difficulties while you keep the show rolling!

4. Encourage Active Participation

“Are you alive? How does it feel to be alive?” -  James Hetfield

James Hetfield of Metallica always asks this question before the main solo to the song Battery kicks in. It is intended to get the audience’s adrenaline pumping and incite a reaction.

Similarly, encouraging active audience participation keeps the session fun and yawn-free. Here are two simple ways to get started:

  • Break down the session into chunks: Since virtual lunch and learn sessions are quite casual, break it down into multiple chunks of 15-20 minutes. After each session, conduct a live poll or ask questions to improve retention.
  • Create breakout groups: You can create groups of attendees and engage them in solving a problem or discussing the concept after a long session. Most video conferencing and virtual event platforms offer this feature.

5. Invite a Customer For Social Proof

A popular marketing hack - social proof, can be a powerful way to get your clients excited about your value proposition. Inviting a customer to join your virtual lunch and learn session can help you sell your product or service more effectively. Let your special guest know that you may call on them to ask about their experience with your product or service. This will create social proof and help attendees build trust. 

Several studies conducted on social proof or conformity show that people are more likely to place their trust in you if you’ve already won over other people. 

After all, our buying decisions are largely driven by emotion rather than cold logic. Couple that with our social roots and what do you get? Social proof. In his book, Behind the Cloud, Marc Benioff mentions how inviting a customer for sales lunches and asking them to share their experience with Salesforce helped the company increase sales. 

A picture of Elvis' Gold Records Vol. 2 with the famous 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong Jacket
Social proof is one of the most powerful ways to drum up sales

6. Share More Case Studies

Show, don’t tell is one of the best used storytelling techniques in writing. Instead of explaining the concept, you let the audience experience it through actions and examples.

Case studies help you condense key learnings into memorable takeaways. Instead of describing how your product works, show them how users solved critical business problems with your solution.

Case studies are particularly useful if you’re helping clients deploy software or drive adoption. It gives them a better context of overcoming deployment barriers by learning from other organizations’ success.  

7. Gamify the Session

A YouTube screenshot of a virtual live performance for a Christmas hockey match Virtual live music performances can be a great way to begin your lunch and learn sessions
Source: Medium

Gamification can allow you to gather more information with quizzes and interactive sessions. Gamification works because participants are rewarded for behaviors you’d like them to exhibit. This creates a feedback loop that can be incredibly useful to understand if and how you can help your clients.

While you can experiment with gamification tech, you don’t need any fancy tools to gamify the experience. You can introduce contests and leader boards to make the quiz sessions more competitive. Competing in groups allows attendees to engage with each other and introduces an element of socialization to your virtual lunch and learn program. As a reward, you can send a gift to the winners.

Over to You

Virtual lunch and learn sessions are still new for most organizations, making them ideal for experimentation.

As we mentioned earlier, avoid making the session too knowledge dense and keep it interactive to ensure your attendees remain engaged.

Before we wrap up, here are three bonus tips for you to get the most out of your virtual lunch and learn sessions:

  • While many people may want to use pre-recorded videos, they aren’t interactive or engaging. Too many videos can make attendees feel disconnected. We recommend hosting a live session.
  • When using slides, ensure the designs are minimal, so clients focus on your words rather than fixating on the screen. Follow the 3 bullet point rule and include images instead if you can.
  • Reduce distractions. Attention is a scarce commodity these days. Maintain eye contact and turn off all notifications during the session. If you are sharing your screen make sure to close any unrelated programs and tabs. 

Here’s to an effective virtual lunch and learn session with your clients!

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