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How To Make The Most out of Breakout Sessions

March 29 | 8 min read

breakout session cover photo

A breakout session is a great way to facilitate brainstorms, create intimacy between attendees, and in general, breed solidarity. Some call it the most relaxed part of the process, and such a thing will imbue everyone with confidence. But how can we make the most out of a breakout session? This article will guide you through some of the best ways to do so.

There are many positive effects of a breakout session. In this environment, participants are able to share skills that they might not share in a larger setting, talk over common issues, and learn to feel more comfortable in smaller virtual breakout rooms. This can result in them coming up with solid solutions to issues, and exploring new ideas in a more relaxed environment.

There are other benefits too. Smaller ones contribute to the overall good nature of a working group. Participants will feel like they are a part of “the solution,” get the sense that they are being heard. Due to this, they will feel calmer and more relaxed and will overcome the fear of talking in front of large crowds. So with that, how does one plan the meeting so that this optimal result is achieved?

breakout session planning

1. Setting The Right Tone

A breakout session with the right tone gives attendees the ability to create engagement and interactivity, which creates an active engagement with the event as a whole. As a result, there is a high level of engagement as the audience moves from session to session, which keeps up momentum and productivity.

Another important factor in setting the tone right is that it gives attendees a voice, allowing them to share their ideas and energize their faculties, not to mention providing them with the opportunity to share passionate topics with their virtual meeting attendees. This gives them the ability to explore relevant topics in greater depth.

Having breakout sessions allows you to dig deeper into your given topic and go around the virtual room, getting feedback and ideas from each person. This will also give attendees a real sense of the business in question, which is always valuable, especially for the purpose of teaching.

One more important part of setting the tone is making sure that the breakout session has a content level that is for learners at all levels. Because with group sessions like these, you will find that learners of all kinds will attend. Take advantage of the virtual format and allow your participants to use their time most effectively by encouraging them to choose the topics they find most interesting or beneficial.

2. Choosing The Right Platform

A big step to a successful interactive session is choosing the right virtual platform. First of all, you will want one that offers the right tools for optimal audience engagement. But also the right one for the business in question. Certain platforms present certain expectations. For instance, businesses of a certain kind are more likely to use Teams and Zoom, while organizations of other kinds are more inclined to use Discord or Slack. Moreover, it is also worth knowing that each platform has varying features. Figure out what your particular session needs and plan it from there.

3: Starting With The End In Mind

The best way to plan and manage engaging break-out sessions for virtual events is to start with the end in mind. This is because it helps you to run the session. If you have an end goal for your meeting, your session will always be heading in a direction, which keeps momentum up, while ensuring that the setting stays low key and calm. Further to this, you should strategize the session so that you always have a plan to fall back on and work off of.

4: Picking Talented Presenters

The next step is to select talented presenters who know their stuff and can communicate the value of the session with charisma without intimidating the audience. Industry professionals, if possible. This will create a magnetic environment for the audience, and casts the net wide. Because if you want to engage, you have to find people who are engaging for the topic and/or business in question.

Another part of this is presenting an accurate portrayal so that attendees don’t get misled. There is, of course, always the risk that not everyone is going to be engaged. It is an inevitability, really. But the ones who are suited are the target, and you can target them effectively by casting that net wide with some inspiring speakers.

Different Kinds of Breakout Sessions

different kinds of breakout sessions

Those are the basics in terms of setting the right tone for a productive level of engagement, but what kind of breakout session do you want to create? There are a great many options in this regard and it is worth considering the best for your business. Also, make sure that you create the kind of environment that excites you. That way, your enthusiasm becomes infectious. With that said, here are a few suggestions of how you might construct a breakout session.

Interactive Breakouts

Interactive sessions encourage participation – largely because they are built on it. They are highly effective for getting people to work together and are a timeless classic in the breakout realm.

Fun and Games Sessions

You could even consider fun and play-based events that can include games, trivia, competitions, scavenger hunts, and more. You can create teams for a more competitive edge, especially if this suits your niche, and particularly when part of your objective is to exemplify the competitive nature of certain businesses.

Educational Workshops

Educational breakout events can go a long way. By creating smaller breakout classes, mini-niche seminars, training, continuing education and more, people will feel that they have learned something new by the end, which is valuable for their future endeavors.

Outdoor Sessions

If the weather permits it, consider running an event in the great outdoors. Group participation events work particularly well in this environment, as well as allowing everyone to enjoy a change of scenery and breathe the fresh air.

Mind Mapping Breakouts

Mind Mapping is a popular team-building activity used in seminars. It’s a collaborative and written form of brainstorming where individuals write down anything linked to a particular topic. This is specific to group activities and is wonderful for team building.

Speed Networking

Networking is a vital part of business management, so it is a highly valuable thing to include/ With a few rounds of speedy networking, attendees meet an enormous number of individuals fast. This is an excellent breakout session concept if you’re bringing people together who have never met before, and one that can bear fruit for people down the line, when building business relationships, and even personal ones.

Goal-Setting Sessions

This is great business practice, and a great way to supplement the real sense of how business works. Because goal-setting sessions happen all the time. To give attendees a sense of this in a casual and fun environment is to teach them a thing or two about working life.. It may also help them establish clear targets and track their progress over time and allow them to plan their next move in a productive environment.

Q&A Sessions

Similar to one-on-one sessions, Q&A sessions give attendees the opportunity to ask their questions and interact with presenters.

You are well-advised not to leave the Q&A segment until the end of the conference, as you will want to make enough time for it. Remember that many individuals will have questions ready, and will be doing so for the betterment of their careers, and this is especially likely if you have an industry professional involved.

One-on-one Mentoring Sessions

In a group setting, it is difficult to get concentrated advice and tips. This is largely because you are competing with a number of others, who often beat you to the punch. This can be frustrating, and that is why a one-on-one session is a great thing. It might be difficult pragmatically, due to how many will want to partake, but this can be sorted out with a booking system. Ultimately, this allows attendees to ask any burning questions and get some great advice.

Lightning Round Discussions

These little presentations run for about five minutes each. They’re a clever method to get people thinking rather than the more common bullet points and data. The goal of a lightning round talk or discussion is to convey information quickly, compellingly. They tend to focus on one single subject or theme rather than a broad and generic statement. The session host usually delivers the presentation, and the speaker focuses on holding the audience’s attention with their story.

So, What’s The Verdict?

verdict

Breakout sessions are the first point of contact for individuals entering a new working or learning environment. Do it right, and you will create a productive environment that will be memorable for many. You can use any combination of the tips above to make your initial breakout session as good as it can be.

The bottom line – no matter what style or kind of breakout sessions you choose, breakout sessions encourage people to participate and disconnect from everything else that is going on across the event. Whether indoors or outdoors, virtual or in person, breakout team building is perfect for getting people to focus, unplug and unwind, even if it is just for a short time. We all need some chill time these days, and that alleviation is better than ever when done right.

Written by:The Everytale Team
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