Hungry for Lunch and Career Development?

Looking to spice up your lunchtime? Many crave both sustenance and knowledge, yet time and budget constraints often limit attendance at in-person or distant events. These gatherings are crucial for career growth. The task for organizations, such as the Georgia Continuing Education Association (GCEA), is to cater to member needs by cultivating opportunities in a hybrid setting.

During the 2023 face-to-face conference held in Savannah, Georgia, none of us were surprised by the warm interactions that met us for the opening keynote and stayed with us through the very last break-out session. Afterall, it’s difficult to put a price on connections made during a face-to-face event. We look forward to hallway get-togethers and the feeling of reconnecting with others. To replicate this feeling and provide content that professional development educators and attendees crave, GCEA will be hosting monthly Lunch & Learn events leading up to our 2024 conference in Jekyll Island, Georgia. Each Lunch & Learn event will be free, so please share this information with others in your area, even if they are not currently a member. The first event is scheduled virtually during our scheduled monthly meeting on Wednesday, October 18, 2023, at 12:00 Noon and was titled, “Brick by Brick: Building Pathways Between Non-Credit to Credit Programs.”

Here are tips to help you get the most out of a Lunch & Learn experience so that it doesn’t feel like an all-you-can-eat buffet:

  • Treat the virtual Lunch & Learn event like a face-to-face meeting. Add it to your work  calendar, set an out-of-office message, and dedicate your full attention to the content. Even if a virtual meeting is not your favorite method, attend the event with the same state of mind that you would attend a face-to-face event. Make sure your technology is in working order, log in at least five minutes early, and come prepared to learn.
  • Resist the temptation to check email or complete work tasks while logged in. Even if you think you are great at multi-tasking, you will naturally tone down one thing while you focus on the other. Either you will tone down the work task while listening to the Lunch & Learn meeting, or you will tone down the meeting content and focus on the work task. As a result, neither task will have your full attention.
  • Gather work associates to join you in a conference room or to join virtually. Building a learning community will inspire conversations and opportunities to interact with others during and following the event.
  • Turn your camera ON and your audio OFF during the Lunch & Learn event. It is possible to turn the audio on if you need to make a comment or respond to a question but when your camera is on, you’ll be less likely to complete other tasks. Be aware of your surroundings and consider what attendees will see when they look your screen shot.
  • Post a screen name that includes your company name or purpose for attending. Attendees will see your screen name and that might spark a connection which could lead to a conversation. It will also show them how to contact you.
  • Familiarize yourself with the topic and write a short list of questions. Going into the session with an understanding of the topic will allow you to think of questions that you might have.  During the event, the speaker may address your existing questions, but there should also be a Q&A for questions that weren’t covered.
  • Network with other attendees during appropriate intervals. Usually, people greet each other as they sign-in or as the meeting ends. While this type of visiting isn’t as effective as visiting over a cup of coffee, it is a chance to socialize with others. The face-to-face coffee or lunch meeting can always be scheduled at a later date.
  • Share ideas and best practices during designated portions of the Lunch & Learn. Event planners will organize the session into segments including content they wish to share and opportunities for Q&A. Jot down questions or comments you might have during their presentation so that you do not break the flow of content that is being shared. When asked if anyone want to ask questions or share their thoughts, then it will be appropriate to cover some of the questions or concerns you had during the session.

So, what are you doing for lunch on October 18th at 12:00 Noon?  We hope you will be joining us.  Here is the link to register: Lunch & Learn Registration

Let’s Do Lunch!