Are you gearing up to host your next breakout session?
Whether you’re an experienced meeting host, or a beginner looking for an edge, implementing these tips, tricks, and best practices will help you take your breakout sessions to the next level!
What is a breakout session?
Breakout sessions or breakout rooms are small, planned micro meetings that occur during a larger meeting. Breakout sessions tend to be less structured than the overarching meeting and allow teammates to collaborate or interact on a more personal level. Where the meeting may host a larger group, breakout sessions are designed to divide a larger group into smaller, more curated groups, making it possible for everyone to get involved in the conversation. Those participating in the breakout session are completely isolated from the main meeting and proceed with their own unique audio and video.
Why do teams use breakout sessions?
Breakout sessions are used to get granular and improve attendee engagement. Where the overarching meeting may be more obscure, the breakout session makes it possible for teams to dive into the details. Breakout sessions provide teams with the space needed to dive into relevant topics while simultaneously providing them with the tools necessary to curate the ideal group. These more granular meetings allow stakeholders to create a space where a curated group of people can come together to ask meaningful questions, host in-depth conversations, or get to know each other on a more personal level.
Supercharge your breakouts with these 5 simple steps:
- Lightning Talks
Lightning talks are an excellent way to liven up a breakout session. Lightning talks are short, impactful conversations delivered by an industry expert or a passionate employee. These talks aim to educate meeting attendees on a specific subject matter while prompting meaningful conversation. These talks are kept short and sweet so attendees can attend more than one; however, the meeting facilitator will usually set the parameters including designating a speaker and choosing how long the talk will last prior to the breakout session.
- Speed Networking
Speed networking is a great way to get breakout session attendees out of their comfort zones. This is an excellent tool to use if your attendees may be unfamiliar with each other or even if they simply have not gotten the chance to get to know each other on a personal level. As the breakout facilitator, you may consider planning a series of questions that networkers can use to kick off their speed networking. This way, attendees can hit the ground running and begin getting to know each other.
Sample questions include:
1. What department do you work in?
2. What is your favorite project that you’ve worked on?
3. What is your favorite way to unwind after a long week at work?
4. Did you always know that you wanted to work in your current role?
5. What is something that you’re currently working on that excites you?
Breakout sessions can be tense, especially if there’s no game plan. Introducing games into the mix is a great way to engage your audience while breaking the ice. After attendees let loose and feel a little more comfortable, you can transition the breakout to focus on more serious topics. If your group is particularly quiet or reserved, this is a great way to get them engaged and out of their comfort zones!
If you’re meeting virtually, there are a number of online resources you can use to host entertaining games or even games that you can play within your regular meeting software. Simple games that can be done with little to no prep include – Never Have I Ever, Two Truths and a Lie, or even a classic book club or happy hour. What’s most important is choosing a game you believe will resonate with your audience.
- Ask Me Anything or AMA Sessions
AMA sessions pose a great opportunity to engage your audience and are excellent if you didn’t have the chance to answer everyone’s questions during the initial breakout. During the ask me anything sessions, you can assign attendees to specific rooms and pair them with industry experts or leaders that can answer their questions. It's best to let everyone know prior to the breakout that you will be hosting an AMA session so they can take the time to craft meaningful questions.
- Goal Setting sessions
Goal Setting sessions are both practical and fun! These sessions encourage participants to look into the future and be mindful of how they wish to proceed. Sometimes goal setting alone can be daunting or even overwhelming but hosting a goal setting session or workshop in a group environment provides attendees with both inspiration and support.
Goal setting sessions also provide attendees with the opportunity to dive into goals that are specific to the initial meeting. For example, if the initial meeting spoke to marketing goals and objectives for the upcoming year, you could use the breakout session to dive into department and role specific goals that help move the needle closer to the larger, more long-term goals.
Best practices for supercharging your breakouts
The success of your breakout sessions depends on your prep-work. In addition to finding new and exciting ways to engage attendees, it’s also important to create a framework that makes hosting successful, energetic breakouts a breeze. Remembering to allocate time frames to your breakouts, entering your breakouts with a plan and end goals in mind, and leveraging immersive software are all things that you can do to supercharge your breakouts.
Transform your breakout sessions with Remo
Remo makes it possible for you to connect with others in real-time. For the first time ever, you can immerse yourself in an event, host round table discussions, create a workshop, or brainstorm with a group of your peers in one easy-to-use platform. Transform your virtual experience and supercharge your breakouts with Remo today.