Plan Event

TIP: Here you will find the answers to many Frequently Asked Questions about ShopTalk. Follow the colored arrow bar above to move through the process step-by-step.

How it works:

Step 1:

Pick Your talk – Work is a big subject! Choose a talk that fits the interests of your audience. The talks have been sorted into three themes to make choosing a talk easier!

Step 2:

Contact the ShopTalk presenter – On each page, below the ShopTalk description, you’ll find Next Steps. From here you can email the presenter to invite them to come to your community. In addition to discussing the date, time, and the format of the event, be sure to share anything special about your audience or your community. 

Step 3:

Book your event – Wisconsin groups* may host up to two free talks per calendar year. Once you have agreed on date and time with the presenter, fill out an application so that the WHC can pay the presenter and help you with promotion. Bookings must be received six weeks in advance of your event.  Your application will be reviewed within two weeks and we’ll confirm everything with you via email.

Step 4:

Promote your event – Check out these great resources we have to help you make your event a success.  Your event will also be on the WHC’s Calendar of Events. We expect you to attract at least 20 people, but aim for more!

Step 5:

ShopTalk Event – The time has come!  At the event, don’t forget to pass out Audience Evaluation forms and have fun connecting with others as you talk about work.

Step 6:

Evaluate – Tell us how it went. Please use the Host Evaluation Form for your own comments. Send us all the Evaluation Forms within four weeks and we will do our best to make ShopTalk the best it can be.


We are happy to help. Email us at


* Four-year colleges are not eligible to host.  Applications from two-year campuses or community colleges will be considered if events are certain to attract a significant public audience.

Think Creatively

What works for you? Here are a few ‘alternative formats’ to consider as you plan your event. Talk through your ideas with your ShopTalk presenter. 

Lunch Break 

Just like it sounds! Invite people to bring their lunch for a more casual but stimulating mid-day conversation. You may want to sit around a table. Be sure to have trash and recycling available and to wrap things up on time.

Town Hall Discussion

You know your community. Is there a topic that would bring people out for a conversation? Perhaps related to your community’s history, a relevant issue, or an ongoing discussion? Consider collaborating with other organizations to draw different audiences, and perspectives, together.

Happy Hour ShopTalk

Just like it sounds! For this one, think about who is likely to attend an event in the early evening. Be sure to direct your marketing and publicity to reach those folks. You may want to work with a local caterer to offer munchies, or even go off-site to hold the event at a cafe or tavern. 

The Standard

There is nothing wrong with what works. If your audience expects a certain format, it is a good idea to keep them happy. All ShopTalk presenters are prepared to talk and facilitate conversations.