An event breakout session can be defined as a group activity designed for problem-solving usually around the event theme in a workshop style method. The participants frequently rejoin the group to present or discuss the results. A breakout session allows the participants at the event to express their points of view comfortably with a solid objective. Ways to conduct breakout sessions at workspaces are that the employees learn and polish their skills, discuss common issues, brainstorm solutions and explore new ideas. Often the breakout sessions are based on a theme, which becomes relevant to the participants. A successful breakout session is one that builds engagement and improves skills.
Here are the top 5 ways of conducting breakout sessions at workplaces
Conduct a survey with employees
Poll attendees ahead of time to see what experiences they’re looking for, and then design the event’s breakout options to fit that wish list. After you gauge interest, find speakers, leaders, and facilitators to meet those needs. Use the attendee data you collect to create your breakout programs. Sessions can be track-specific, theme-specific, or unrelated to any specific theme. What matters is that your attendees feel the sessions add value to the event.
Time your sessions strategically
Timing is about more than staying on schedule, though that’s important as well. If your breakout sessions are scheduled too late in the day, attendees may be more focused on going home and engagement may suffer. Scheduling breakout groups too early may earn fewer registrants. Don’t overdo it, either: Too many sessions can leave you with burnt-out attendees. Consider whether networking opportunities or an additional break is the better option, and recognize when a session isn’t ideal for a breakout-style format.
Choose the right guide for your breakout session
Guides should provide support relevant to the topic at hand and drive activities, all without disrupting the process. While the session facilitator is in a leadership role, the purpose is to encourage independent problem-solving and idea generation. Rather than telling participants what to think, the facilitator should encourage them to think. The guide can’t do it all alone. Provide session moderators for each breakout group. The moderator can introduce the breakout speaker, keep an eye on the clock, hand out necessary materials, and monitor the process. These sessions will involve engaging participants, monitoring their team discussions, and recording group discussions.
Promote well for good participation
Interactive games and activities help improve attendance and engagement during event breakout sessions. Some possibilities to consider here are conducting it like games by sorting participants into teams and awarding points for participation. Reward attendees for reaching goals with stickers, branded pens, app download codes, gift cards, or carnival-style prizes. Create ‘secret,’ invite-only workshops to encourage participation. Allow participants to unlock invitations by visiting a specific number of booths, finishing a scavenger hunt, or attending a pre-set session schedule.
Conduct easy and short breakout sessions
Encourage participants to use the “Yes, and…” technique: Suggestions from others should be met with acceptance and then followed by a communication-extending “…and” to improve communication and reduce the judgment. Create space for a goal-setting workshop. Host a discussion, then encourage participants to create a list of top personal or professional goals for the next month, six months, year—and what success looks like. Defining specific objectives improves chances of success versus vague goals.