Breaking for Lunch

Lunch c/o HSA (all rights reserved)
Breaking for lunch seems trivial, but seldom is.  No, lunch is not what we are here for, but the people participating are seldom quite as active and engaged as you are.  They need a break.  Not just for a feed, but to stand up and move around, to relate to each other in a more informal way, to catch up on 'the other world out there' (through phone messages, email and maybe a quick run back to work).  They may even need to use the toilet.

Yes, you can go over-time if you are in the middle of something, but be careful.  Only do this with concern for other people - not just the ones who have been participating, but everyone in the room.

Before you 'let them go', secure agreement for a time to restart.  (Try to keep lunch short - the longer people have, the further they are likely to drift.  If you secure a short lunch in exchange for an early finish, make sure you do everything in your power to meet the new end time.)

There are many things you can do during the break too (as well as eating and going to the toilet).  They include:
  • Reflecting on what you have seen and heard so far.
  • Looking forwards through your notes to see what's next (and maybe changing it a little).
  • Asking an over-enthusiastic participant to hold back a bit.
  • Talking with quiet observers and checking whether they are comfortable observing and not participating.
  • Catching up with your 'client' to see how they feel.
  • Listening for the 'vibe' during the break - are people energised or exhausted, eager or reluctant to return after the break?
  • Deciding whether you need to backtrack over ground you have already covered.
  • Re-visiting your objectives, the remaining activities and the available time.
  • Perhaps reshuffling some afternoon activities, and maybe the relevant slides if you are using them.
And don't forget, this is a good time for you to stop and sit still (or run away) for a while to re-charge your batteries!