Bet you have caught people saying that they become weary of going to specific corporate events since they have to sit and tune in to a similar idea over and over again, all while feeling alone in a crowd of people. Whether it is conferences, seminars, or training, today's professional events will often slip in breakout sessions on the agenda making it a staple of many corporate events.
So what is breakout session? Participants are being divided into smaller discussion groups or presentations to learn about distinct topics that fills in as a portion of the main stage presentation. All of these topics will be discussed later and revolving around a focal theme. Like never before, we are seeing breakout sessions used to make a more personal feel that feeds off participation and involvement from the crowd.
In case you're planning to organize a conference, probably you could try to feature in some breakouts into your event and observe the differences in result of the event. Continue reading this post as we will cover everything you need to know about breakout sessions.
How Breakout Sessions Work
It comes in many shapes and forms, but generally small groups of attendees gather and discuss or learn about relevant topics and connect it with problem solving of some matters mentioned. Later, all of the groups will rejoin the main conference with one representer of each group stepping forward and presenting different outputs to be later discussed for a better solution or idea.
To make it more happening and engaging, adjoin with some ice-breaking session in the form of games to make the group members know each other before they start working on brainstorming the topic. Also, interactivity in seminars creates important learning encounters. Game formats, for example, Q&A, puzzles, Kahoot!, B.I.N.G.O or any other team-building activities can have a place in breakouts mechanism.
Perks of Breakout Sessions
Adding breakouts to your event will provide your audience the decision to pick what subjects they need to get familiar with while adhering to the overall topic. With these sessions, it may gain back the interests of the participants to not just go through the motions but actually engage with each other. Enabling decision results in more support and more elevated amounts of audience engagement since the crowd is really inspired by the subject.
A breakout session offers the chance to impart thoughts and network to those around them. Each session has an alternate set of participants which equals to a bigger opportunity to meet new people and spark new ideas among them.
Usually the topic given is broad in which you can break into different levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced - Staircase Learning. The attendees can continuously learn the theme step-by-step. This gives a more profound comprehension of the point for beginners and a fast-track alternative for the advanced. Not everyone at your event will be at a similar spot in their voyage, this enables everybody an opportunity to get exactly what they need.
Not to mention, this could indirectly help out everyone to loosen up and reduce stress. It is not necessarily to evolve around the focal subject of the conference, by adding in a couple of other sessions with a pinch of work-life balance would lead to an efficient and memorable experience. Incorporating some of the more relaxed sessions enables individuals to have a go at something new or learn about well-being. Always ensure your breakouts are in line with the objective behind the event, though they don't need to go with the exact same topic.
With all due respect, your event will be the talk of the town and a memorable one! It will be adding value to the event itself with its unique offering of the agenda. Once they leave the event, at least they won't be feeling like they wasted their time and money, perhaps, you'll be surprised that your event is trending across social medias. Generally speaking, empower your audience by providing them alternatives on what exactly they would love to see and learn.
Avoid Common Breakout Session Mistakes
While well-planned breakouts can significantly benefit the entire event, sometimes, breakout sessions will suffer from a common mistake - an unclear objective. An objective sets you to a destination, while a crystal clear one directs you to the steep of a goal.
How to Plan for a Productive Breakout Session
As mentioned, achieve the aimless discussion by determining clear objectives. So that people won't be wasting time chatting or networking. Plan what type of session that is engaging and productive. In fact, to make it more attractive to all involved, organizers may allow participants to set session objectives - consider using a live polling tool. Crowdsourcing the objectives is best done before the session begins as people are in energy and in full excitement.
Take note on the event timeline and segregate the time nicely with some extra 5 to 10 minutes for each session break. Roughly, allocate at least 30 minutes to 1 hour maximum for each breakout. Be sure it won't be too long, otherwise it will lose attraction, interests, and eagerness of the attendees.
To keep individuals actively involved throughout the sessions organizers might wish to add a layer of incentives into the sessions such as lucky draw or something along the line. Who doesn't love free things right? Plus, your name will be called upon the stage, so it could be part of publicity within the event. Good for your business though.
Definitely, it is a daunting job to get the session right, so be sure to search and assign qualified speakers or group leader to facilitate the session. Find the ones who are engaging, innovative, and knowledgeable on the topic, perhaps influencers. Also, team members are the best spinal cord in executing the group ideas, thus once all thoughts in line, make sure to jot down everything accordingly.
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Providing handouts would be great, so that participants stay informed on the details of the big topic.
During the planning phase, consider the design of the event venue. Be sure to not only choose a functional presentation space, but also wisely select a space that will ease the logistics of transition of people from larger space to smaller ones for a thoughtful collaboration in ideas. A right location plays a role here. Convenience, connectivity, parking space and others are also part of the decision for people to either attend or not.
Now, get yourself inspired with our 101 of the Breakout Sessions and put forth extra effort in creating a memorable breakout experience for your guests.
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