Breakout Sessions are a great way to enhance your event experience and give your attendees a chance to chat and share their ideas in a more intimate space. There’s no doubt that breakout sessions can be valuable but without proper planning and clear objectives, they can be a waste of time and leave your attendees feeling frustrated. We asked our event and tech experts here at Bluewater for their best tips on how to plan breakout sessions your attendees will appreciate and enjoy:
Plan your Breakout Sessions in Advance
Most attendees will appreciate knowing the schedule, session topics, and goals of the session ahead of time. This will give them a chance to collect their thoughts and be prepared to contribute during the breakout session. No one likes to be put on the spot and feel unprepared. Provide agendas and answer frequently asked questions in advance. The more information about the breakout sessions you can provide before the event, the better.
Always Account for Buffer Time
An extra five or ten minutes before the breakout session actually begins can help attendees say their hellos and introductions before the session starts. This is especially important in a scenario where your breakout meeting attendees may not already know each other. In any case, there is usually some amount of chit chat that happens before the session begins… make sure you are accounting for that time so your attendees can get the most value out of their session.
Use Tech to Enhance the Experience
Encourage participating and make it easier to share with the right tech:
- Use cloud based digital whiteboard technology to display group notes on a large screen
- Offer a variety of analog inputs and input sources in your breakout session spaces, including VGA, HDMI, and DVI. This will allow your attendees to plug into a number of AV presentation system sources.
- A strong, reliable wi-fi connection is a must! Make sure you have a strong bandwidth in place that allows attendees to use the internet easily.
- If you have larger breakout sessions planned, consider using a wireless microphone to pass back and forth among attendees. Nothing is worse than not being able to hear someone speaking across the room.
Tips for Virtual Breakout Sessions
More businesses than ever are embracing video conferencing as the new normal. Here are a few tips on creating a more productive virtual breakout room.
- Don’t make the breakout groups too large. This is especially important in a virtual environment, where it can be easy for attendees to talk over each other. Smaller groups allow each attendee a better chance to engage and feel included.
- Assign a moderator to watch the clock, keep the conversation on track, make sure all objectives are met, and step in if needed.
- Test technology ahead of time and give attendees clear instructions on how it works.
For more tips on how to make virtual breakout rooms more efficient click here
Listen to Feedback and Adjust
Consider sending out a post-event survey to your attendees and include questions about their experience, comfort, and the overall impact of the breakout session. Here a few ideas of questions you can include on your post-event survey:
- Did you have an opportunity to participate?
- Did the breakout session meet your expectations?
- What could we improve on?
- What was your biggest takeaway?
- Please share any additional comments or suggestions
Use the valuable feedback you receive to make your next event or breakout session even better! Asking for feedback is a great way to end any event or meeting and an efficient way to measure success.
Let us Take Care of You
Looking for events and experiential AV for your upcoming conference or general session? Bluewater knows events. Let us help you take yours to the next level — reach out today to learn what we can do!