The two most powerful words – when combined – even more powerful.
Offering Lunch and Learns is a very common way of getting people to come to training. It is an incentive that few people can pass up. Most will come for the food, if not for the teaching.
The trouble is that many come only for the food. They get a free meal and don’t really pay much attention to the instruction. So it is a two edged sword. They come – but they pay little attention.
Here are a few ways to weed out the free loaders…
Don’t make lunch and learn easy to attend. Don’t send out reminders, if people forget, too bad for them.
Don’t let people just “drop in”. Make the sign up before hand and then sign in when they get there. No prior sign up – no food.
Make the food hard to get to. Place it far enough into the meeting area that late comers have to interrupt to get to it. Most people will not be late and if they are, they will not interrupt the flow of the class to get the food.
Stand guard over the event. Watch for those who are drifting off and interject some interactive time. Keep track of those that leave early and maybe have a chat with them about the reason they left. A little guilt may work wonders.
Make one of the events “bring your own” and see how it impacts attendance. If it drastically drops, then most people just want a free lunch. Think of another way to have training – without the “free” option.