That’s because we set aside this lunchtime for our agency Inspiration sessions. Someone hands out the team T-shirts, we hire a bus and sing the team song as we drive to big conference centre…. actually it’s nothing like that. But we do seem to have found a simple, pain-free and low cost way to learn, get a buzz around the office and freshen up our mental resources.
Keeping it successfully simple: one rule
There’s only one rule for these lunchtime sessions: ‘Talk about something that inspires you for about 30 minutes’. This leaves the topic wide open, and over the two years so far we’ve heard about everything from classic ads to personal longboarding heroes, Vegan cooking and Roman glassware. We’ve also learned hand-clapping routines and had a refresher on basic coding.
Sure, there is often Powerpoint, but quite often just for images, or no screens at all - and props so far have ranged from cupcakes to tankards, plastic beakers to old skateboards. Some of the people whose day-jobs definitely aren’t ‘creative’ have really shown us a creative side.
Enthusing your team
As you might imagine, the team comes out of these sessions feeling enthused. The presenter brings another side of themselves to the office and their colleagues think ‘well I never knew that about them…’. Even people who claim to hate presenting find it easy to talk about something they love, and their enthusiasm is infectious.
We try to encourage everyone to come. In a busy office I’m sure some people still find this painful, but people make the time because they feel they’re missing out if they don’t: maybe missing out on hearing something interesting, missing out on learning more about what really makes that new person tick, or I guess just missing a free lunch!
There seem to be unexpected benefits (beyond just winning more pub quizzes because we know handy trivia about 1830’s jade or mountain climbing). Running a session is not compulsory, but the post-Inspiration ‘buzz’ is tangible and people who said they would never do it have been inspired to give it a try, surprising both us and themselves.
How to get started
My advice to anyone thinking about this would be: just start! Keep it simple, don’t combine it with ‘the quarterly performance update’ or anything, and let people come to you with ideas. All that matters is that your speaker is enthusiastic.
Make sure senior leaders are there, but participate as equals. 30 minutes to an hour over a Friday lunch seems to work and we do buy in lunch which is the only cost.
You might have to ‘seed’ the first ones with people you know will like doing this, just to get started.
Small initiatives like this have added a lot to our agency culture, helping the team bond and keep our thinking fresh which has huge benefits when it comes to the work we do for our clients.