Breakout session (called also as a breakout meeting or workshop session) a workshop or short seminar that take place during large conference or symposium in which participants discuss particular topics related to the general theme of the conference. Sessions occur simultaneously with all participants gathered in a small group for a certain period of time before returning to the conference.
All attendees are interested in the same subject and want to deepen the chosen knowledge base. Breakout meetings allow attendees to take discussions to a more detailed level and reflect on those topics in more specialized and intimate setting (Build a Better Program Agenda With Breakout Sessions 2019).
Breakout session can be also used as a preparation for the entire conference. During the meeting participants create list of questions that will be used during the conference or they make a report.
Advantages of breaking sessions
Short sessions can give people many opportunities (Everything you need to know for killer conference breakout sessions 2018):
- By organizing sessions during an event, audience can choose topic related to the whole theme of conference which they find the most interesting and learn more about it. So that, audience is much more engaged.
- Meetings give people opportunities to share their knowledge and personal opinions with others and they can make new connections, which may be useful in the future.
- Sessions can involve disparate levels of knowledge of some topic. The audience can learn topic from initial to advanced level, step-by-step. After all they will understand the topic deeper and they will broaden their horizons.
- Sessions give audience add value to their experience and knowledge, they leave conference with positive feeling of learning something relevant to them.
- All participants can behave more actively and feel more comfortable in smaller group that in front of the entire audience. Dynamic exchange of knowledge can lead to a productive and fruitful meeting.
- Conference organizers have a possibility to meet needs and opinions of their attendees
The most popular mistake in planning breaking session is an unclear objective. Without clearly defined aim it is almost impossible to create an useful and well-organised discussion (Build a Better Program Agenda With Breakout Sessions 2019).
Ways how to enrich breakout workshops
There are many different ways for speakers to make session more interesting, engaging and interactive. Here are some tips to get more attention of the audience (5 ways to breathe new life into stale breakout sessions 2019):
- Collaborating with speakers, integrating with them
- Figuring out what audience really want
- Adapting meetings to the main target (establishing goals which will be clear to everyone
- Integrating new ways of dealing
- Preparing the room to facilitate attendees their conversations
- Using new technology such as social media to simplify and streamline a workshop
- Ferry J. (2005), 5 ways to breathe new life into stale breakout sessions, Northstar Travel Group.
- Hard R. (2019), Build a Better Program Agenda With Breakout Sessions, The Balance Small Business.
- Moreno J. (2018), Everything you need to know for killer conference breakout sessions, Endless events.
- What Is a Breakout Session?, Evenues (2019).
- Pizam A. (2010), Basics Site ManagInternational Encyclopedia of Hospitality Managementement, Butterworth-Heinemann.
Author: Agata Drabik