Besides learning from your content, potential attendees can get even more value from your brand if you learn how to use virtual breakout rooms well.
As educational institutes aim to captivate students, coaches strive to make lasting impacts, and digital agencies aim to connect with clients, the need for transformative webinar experiences has never been greater. Imagine a world where your attendees aren't just passive spectators, but active participants, where discussions flourish, and collaboration sparks.
And that's what the best webinar platforms with breakout room features can help you to achieve. Assuming this is something you have never tried, now might be the best time to put the innovative tool to work.
What are virtual breakout rooms?
Virtual breakout rooms are a fundamental feature of online communication tools, such as video conferencing platforms, designed to facilitate interactive and focused discussions in virtual meetings or classes.
They function as digital subspaces within the main virtual gathering, enabling participants to split into smaller groups. These smaller groups can then engage in separate discussions, brainstorming sessions, or collaborative activities, allowing for a deeper exploration of specific topics or tasks. This feature is particularly useful for larger virtual meetings, where dividing into smaller groups enhances participation and engagement.
To use virtual breakout rooms, the host or organizer typically assigns participants to different rooms, either manually or automatically. Participants can then interact within their designated breakout room, sharing ideas, working on projects, or addressing specific agenda items.
Breakout rooms are a valuable tool for replicating the dynamics of in-person meetings where small group discussions are essential for effective collaboration and problem-solving. They contribute to more efficient and interactive virtual gatherings, making online communication more engaging and productive.
According to a survey conducted by Zoom, webinars with breakout rooms reported a 53% higher attendee engagement rate compared to traditional webinars.
What are some benefits of a virtual breakout room
- Enhanced engagement: Encourages active participation and interaction among participants.
- Focused discussions: Allows for in-depth conversations on specific topics or tasks.
- Effective collaboration: Facilitates teamwork and group projects within smaller groups.
- Improved learning: Supports interactive and student-centered virtual education.
- Reduced distractions: Minimizes disruptions in large online meetings.
- Efficient meetings: Helps streamline discussions and manage time effectively.
- Versatile use: Suitable for various scenarios, from business meetings to virtual classrooms.
- Enhanced productivity: Promotes problem-solving and decision-making in smaller teams.
- Better networking: Enables participants to connect with others in a more intimate setting.
- Adaptability: Offers flexibility to meet the needs of different meeting or class formats.
Best practices for virtual breakout rooms
1. Preparation and planning
Define the clear objectives of your breakout session and determine the specific goals and outcomes you want to achieve. Assign roles and designate facilitators or group leaders to guide discussions. If you do this well, a proper plan will help to keep participants on track. Remember to communicate instructions to ensure all participants understand the purpose of breakout rooms and any tasks or questions they need to address.
2. Room configuration
As part of the best practices, you should determine the right number of rooms needed. Create enough rooms to accommodate smaller groups while avoiding overcrowding. Optimize room size and consider the number of participants in each room to encourage active participation.
3. Time management
To make it worthwhile for all participants, allocate sufficient time to help all participants have ample time to engage in meaningful discussions or complete tasks. It is also important to set clear time limits, communicate how long each breakout session will last, and use timers or alerts to keep participants informed.
4. Guidelines and expectations
Try to establish ground rules and share guidelines for respectful and productive communication, such as active listening and mutual respect. Clarify the responsibilities of facilitators, note-takers, and timekeepers within each breakout group.
5. Technical considerations
Set out time to test the chosen webinar platform in advance. Proper testing will help you troubleshoot any technical issues. Offer technical assistance or a helpdesk for participants who encounter problems during breakout sessions.
6. Reconvening and sharing
Allocate group time to reconvene in the main meeting and share their insights, solutions, or findings. Facilitate discussions that allow each group to contribute to the larger conversation.
7. Feedback and reflection
After hosting your breakout room session, seek input from participants about their breakout room experiences to make improvements. Reflect on outcomes and analyze the effectiveness of your breakout sessions in achieving the objectives.
How to setup a virtual breakout room
1. Start with a detailed plan
Begin by planning your breakout activities. Determine the number of breakout rooms needed and the specific goals for each group. These objectives could include brainstorming ideas, discussing a particular topic, or working on a group project. Ensure you have any necessary materials or resources for participants, such as documents, links, or guidelines.
2. Go to your virtual meeting platform
Start your virtual meeting as the host using your chosen video conferencing platform. Locate the "Breakout Rooms" feature, usually found in the meeting controls or settings. Click on it. A window will appear, allowing you to specify the number of breakout rooms you want to create and the number of participants to assign to each room. You can also choose to manually or randomly assign participants to rooms.
Once you've configured the settings, participants will be automatically or manually assigned to their rooms. Set a timer to determine the session duration.
3. Managing your meeting breakout rooms
Monitor the breakout rooms to ensure discussions are on track and address any questions or issues. Try to join specific breakout rooms to provide guidance. Broadcast announcements or reminders to all breakout rooms simultaneously. You can also use the timer to signal when it's time for participants to wrap up their discussions.
Best platforms with virtual breakout rooms
Cloudpresenter is a top-notch webinar platform renowned for its exceptional features. With Cloudpresenter, users can create engaging and interactive webinars. Its standout feature lies in its breakout room capabilities, allowing hosts to divide participants into smaller groups for focused discussions. This feature fosters collaboration, making it an ideal choice for educators and businesses. Cloudpresenter also enhances the breakout room experience with seamless participant assignment, real-time monitoring, and the ability to regroup participants into the main webinar.
Livestorm stands out as one of the premier webinar platforms, offering exceptional capabilities for hosting virtual events. The user-friendly interface makes creating engaging webinars a breeze for presenters and co-hosts. One key feature of the platform is the robust breakout room functionality, enabling hosts to offer breakout rooms for focused collaborative activities. With real-time monitoring and easy regrouping, Livestorm provides an interactive and seamless experience for all webinar attendees. The crisp audio and video features of the platform make attendee interactions more engaging.
Zoom is a popular platform for hosting webinars and various virtual events. One of its standout features is the robust breakout room functionality. You can split your Zoom meeting participants into smaller breakout rooms with Zoom, fostering focused discussions and group activities. With Zoom, you'll also have control over assigning participants to specific rooms. Zoom's breakout room feature enhances engagement and interactivity in all webinars.
LiveWebinar is another great platform designed for hosting webinars and virtual events. Like Zoom, the breakout room feature allows you to divide attendees into smaller groups for focused discussions or activities, enhancing interaction and collaboration. As the host, you can create, manage, and assign participants to breakout rooms to foster interactive networking. LiveWebinar's breakout room functionality is valuable for educators, businesses, and organizations looking to maximize engagement.
The potential benefits of hosting breakout sessions during a webinar often vary from one context to another. If you are some other people, you may have been hosting webinars without knowing what is possible with the breakout room features of a specific platform. If you have not tried it for the first time, the benefits might surprise you when you get feedback from attendees who gained value during your breakout session.
With the insights shared in this post, you can leverage the breakout room best practices to improve the attendee's experience in your next event. Choose the best webinar platform with breakout room features. To make the best purchase decision, you can sign up for a free trial on a platform to test the premium features you need to host a successful webinar.
Going for such a webinar platform like CloudPresenter, especially when you want to host 100 – 5,000 attendees, will help you get the most value as the host while improving the attendee experience.
What is a breakout room?
A breakout room is a virtual or physical space within a larger meeting or event where participants can separate into smaller groups to have discussions, collaborate on specific tasks, or engage in focused activities. Breakout rooms are commonly used in various settings, such as virtual meetings, webinars, workshops, and in-person conferences.
Can you do a breakout session during a webinar?
Certainly! Breakout sessions can indeed be incorporated into a webinar to enhance engagement and interactivity. Breakout sessions are essentially smaller, focused group discussions or activities that occur within the context of a larger webinar.
How do I make sure attendees feel comfortable in breakout rooms?
Start with icebreaker activities to help attendees get to know each other, creating a more comfortable and engaging environment.
How can I ensure that breakout room discussions remain on topic?
To maintain focus, provide clear instructions to participants and assign a moderator to each breakout room who can gently guide discussions back on track if needed.
What if participants encounter technical issues in their breakout rooms?
Incorporate technical troubleshooting tips into your pre-webinar instructions and have dedicated support staff available to assist attendees.