Happy (Learning) Hour

Turn cocktail hour into an educational opportunity

Happy hours are a great way to bring people together—but they should be about more than cocktails. For Educate events, happy hours are also a great opportunity to share information and add value by turning it into a learning experience. Here are three ways to leverage cocktail hours as a productive learning opportunity:

1. Invite presenters—but keep it short.

Like in a classroom, the simplest way to share information is often through a lecture-style presentation. So, invite speakers to showcase their work or message through short, digestible presentations. (Think TED Talk length, about 18 minutes or less.) Reining in the length of speeches ensures that attendees stay engaged, while also keeping cocktail hour celebratory in nature—the bar isn’t a classroom, after all! 

2. Host a workshop.

Unlike presentations where speakers are talking at attendees, workshops allow guests to participate and get their hands dirty, so to speak. For happy hours intended to teach a new skill or offer training, try a hands-on workshop or developmental session where guests can jump in and interact with the material themselves. Keeping an audience focused on learning is simple when they’re involved—and engagement is often easier when they’re relaxed with a drink in hand. 

3. Organize a trivia night.

Another happy hour staple: trivia. Have attendees divide into teams and test their knowledge with thought-provoking questions. Each team will write its answers on a piece of paper, which it will then submit to the trivia host to be graded. Teams are awarded points for every correct response, and the winning group will win a prize (perhaps a free drink or special meeting swag). Not only will trivia up your happy hour’s fun factor, but it will also encourage team collaboration.