What is a 'Brown Bag Meeting'

A brown-bag meeting, or a brown-bag seminar, is an informal meeting that occurs around lunchtime. This type of meeting is referred to as a brown bag meeting because participants typically bring their lunches often packed in brown paper bags. The meeting usually occurs in office training or conference rooms.

BREAKING DOWN 'Brown Bag Meeting'

Brown bag meetings are efficient and straightforward ways for corporations to save money while training or informing staff. Formal meetings are usually catered or held offsite, with the company assuming all dining costs.  Depending on the number of attendees, these costs can be significant.  

Other organizations, such as nonprofits and academic institutions, also offer brown bag meetings. These meetings are usually informative, range from 1-4 hours, and have a small number of participants.

Brown Bag Benefits

Brown bag meetings promote dialog and information sharing among participants. Sharing among participants enhances training and ensures consistent dissemination of information. The sessions can be structured or unstructured and are often used to transfer knowledge, solve problems, brainstorm, and build trust among attendees. Brown bag meetings promote teamwork, reinforce company values and missions, and increase employee morale.

Meetings may include presentations or are led by speakers who discuss innovative products and services, policy changes or provide expert advice on a topic. Brown bag meetings are useful for cross-training, project management initiatives, and cross-functional team meetings.

Brown Bag Meeting Types

There are four primary types of brown bag meetings. These types include the seminar, small group, combination, and the social meeting.

  1. A seminar meeting is the most common and usually include a guest speaker or expert who transfers their knowledge and experience about a specific topic to the gathering. Often this format will include a short question and answer period at the end of the session.
  2. In the small group meeting, each participant answers a single question or a set of pre-defined questions. Other attendees may comment, ask for more information or clarity, and discuss the responses. The process continues until all participants answer all available topic questions. This format allows for the maximum transfer of knowledge and experience and reinforces group dynamics. Small group meetings are frequently referred to as workshops.
  3. A combination meeting is a hybrid of a seminar and a small group meeting. The meeting starts with a speaker presenting a key topic for the meeting. The remaining time is spent operating in a small group format. Small group format is useful for problem-solving and brainstorming and team-building. Frequently the attendees will reconvene and each small group will present their findings to the group-at-large. 
  4. The social meeting type allows participants the opportunity to get to know each other in a relaxed setting. Participants may learn each person’s role and career objectives. This format builds trust and promotes cohesiveness.
  1. Bag Holder

    Bag holder is an informal investment term used to describe an ...
  2. Analyst Meeting

    An analyst meeting is an annual event hosted by public companies ...
  3. Permanent Portfolio

    The permanent portfolio is an investment portfolio designed to ...
  4. Annual

    The term "annual" refers to an event that occurs once a year.
  5. Information Circular

    An information circular is a document for a company’s shareholders, ...
  6. Extraordinary General Meeting - ...

    An extraordinary general meeting (EGM) is a meeting other than ...
Related Articles
  1. Small Business

    10 Tips for Conducting Effective Meetings

    Sometimes meetings are necessary, but they're often a waste of time. These ten tips can help you conduct effective, productive meetings.
  2. Personal Finance

    Airline Baggage Policies: What's New, How to Save

    The cheapest flight may not be so cheap if you add in baggage fees.
  3. Managing Wealth

    Designer Luggage: Is It Worth the Money?

    You can spend anywhere from $35 to $3,500 on luggage. Is an expensive suitcase necessarily a better suitcase?
  4. Investing

    How to Attend Berkshire Hathaway's Annual Meeting (BRK.A, BRK.B)

    An overview of what is required to go to the Berkshire Hathaway Annual General Meeting.
  5. Personal Finance

    How To Spot Knockoff Labels And Fake Products

    Not every counterfeit item is as obvious as Adidos sneakers or Dolce & Banana handbags, so make sure you know these tips on how to tell fakes from the real deal.
  6. Financial Advisor

    How Advisors Should Prep for an Initial Meeting

    First impressions count, so prepare well for your first meeting with a client. Get to know as much as you can about the person and be ready to answer questions.
  7. Investing

    This McD's Franchise Owner Wasn't Lovin' It (MCD)

    A McDonald’s franchisee in Indianapolis files for bankruptcy.
  8. Personal Finance

    Top New Trends In Airline Travel

    Learn more about the newest policies and procedures of America's airlines, and find out how these changes are affecting profit margins.
  9. Insights

    Amazon Changes Gift Wrap This Holiday Season (AMZN, GOOG)

    In a bid to reduce packaging waste, the Seattle e-commerce giant will use velvet bags, instead of wrapping paper, to deliver gifts from its site.
  10. Personal Finance

    How To Pick Valuable Online Classes

    Gurus all over the place are setting up online classes and seminars. How do you know which online classes are worth paying for?
  1. What is a permanent portfolio?

    A permanent portfolio is a portfolio construction theory devised by free-market investment analyst Harry Browne in the 198 ... Read Answer >>
  2. What is an e-meeting?

    An e-meeting is any meeting that takes place over an electronic medium, as opposed to the traditional face-to-face form. ... Read Answer >>
  3. What is the difference between portfolio management and financial planning?

    Understand the difference between financial planning and portfolio management, and learn which financial professionals can ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Diversification

    Diversification is the strategy of investing in a variety of securities in order to lower the risk involved with putting ...
  2. Intrinsic Value

    Intrinsic value is the perceived or calculated value of a company, including tangible and intangible factors, and may differ ...
  3. Current Assets

    Current assets is a balance sheet item that represents the value of all assets that can reasonably expected to be converted ...
  4. Volatility

    Volatility measures how much the price of a security, derivative, or index fluctuates.
  5. Money Market

    The money market is a segment of the financial market in which financial instruments with high liquidity and very short maturities ...
  6. Cost of Debt

    Cost of debt is the effective rate that a company pays on its current debt as part of its capital structure.
Trading Center