13 min read

How Breakout Rooms Can Take Your Virtual Event to the Next Level

An empty break room in an office

Breakout rooms are essential for any virtual event.

When you’ve got a large audience who are joining from their mobile or computer device, keeping them engaged throughout your event is key.

Breaking people up into smaller groups allows them to engage on a much deeper level and explore topics in depth. It can be difficult for people to voice their opinion or get involved in different activities when there are lots of people in the same place (albeit virtually).

Some of your delegates might be more shy and reluctant to ask questions or participate. For example, perhaps you’ve just hired a new employee and you’re introducing them to the rest of the company.

Without breakout rooms, they might be sat in front of hundreds of people which can be quite intimidating. However, by using breakout rooms they can meet people on a more personal level and will feel a lot more comfortable. You will be able to introduce them to their team which will be very useful, as these are the colleagues they’re working with daily.

This is just one of the many reasons how breakout rooms can take your virtual event to the next level.

In this post, we’ll be exploring exactly what breakout rooms are and how they can transform your next virtual event.

What Are Breakout Rooms?

Essentially, break out rooms are smaller rooms within your virtual event, that allow people to engage in a different programme or activity.

The easiest way to understand breakout rooms is to think about a physical event.

There will be the main hall or conference room where the keynote speaker will present, and then there’ll be smaller rooms off to the side where people can attend seminars and hands-on workshops.

By doing so, delegates can expand their knowledge further and network on a deeper level – perhaps with people they’ve not yet had a chance to talk to. As we touched on, forming meaningful connections in a large group can be more challenging.

By choosing the right virtual event platform, there should be functionality to set up breakout sessions that facilitate this deep level of engagement. At iVent, we know how important it is to not only attract your delegates to your sessions but to also sustain their attention throughout the day.

When you partner with us, you can be confident that you will deliver an experience they won’t forget. Whether that’s setting up smaller interactive discussions through breakout rooms, or creating a fully customised booth that represents your brand, give your delegates a day that they will remember.

Enhancing virtual events guide book

What Are the Advantages of Breakout Rooms in Virtual Events?

So far we’ve touched on a few of the advantages of break out rooms, such as increased engagement and enhanced networking opportunities.

But, there’s lots more!

So, without further ado, let’s explore some of the further benefits of using breakout rooms in your next virtual event…

Connects like-minded people

At in-person events, you’ll often find yourself chatting one-on-one with other delegates or standing in a small group. This makes it much easier to find people in your industry or to reach out to customers to make a sale.

However, in the online space, this can be more difficult.

If there are 100+ people all looking at the same screen, imagine how overwhelming that is. And even more importantly, how can you reach potential customers or clients?

Also, what you’ll find happens in this scenario is that people will talk on top of other people which doesn’t lead to anything valuable. Whilst interaction is key, and it’s great to see people from different industries interactive, there needs to be some relevance. Your delegates need to get something valuable out of your virtuall event, otherwise they won’t have a reason to come back.

Therefore, by setting up breakout rooms, you can divide your audience up into smaller groups depending on their interests and/or industry. This enables them to make more valuable connections instead of sitting back listening to other people talk.

And we’ve all been in a virtual meeting where that’s happened before, and it’s not a worthwhile use of anyone’s time.

One idea would be dividing delegates by sector, then assigning prospects and customers from the same industry to that breakout room. This means you’re essentially match-making people so that they can get as much out of the experience as possible.

iVent virtual treasure hunt

Facilitates better gamification

People are spending more time looking at a computer screen than ever before.

Regardless of whether they’re working from home or working in the office, keyboard fatigue is getting worse. This gives rise to gamification, which involves adding a gaming element into your virtual event to keep your audience engaged.

Injecting a little bit of healthy competition can go a long way when it comes to sustaining attention. After all, we all have a competitive streak somewhere in us!

Setting up break out rooms can help make your games more sophisticated.

For example, you could set your audience away on a virtual treasure hunt but split them up into teams first. The team who finds the most treasure wins, which is where the competitive element comes into play. However, in order to find the solution, the delegates would have to work together in their small group which enables teamwork and collaboration.

This concept also works great for online training. You could give your audience a quiz about a new product to make sure they have retained key pieces of information. Again, you could use breakout rooms in this scenario to split your audience up into smaller teams. This facilitates better networking and enables smaller groups to work together.

Increase event scalability

If you’re hosting a virtual event then you want it to be as accessible as possible for as many people as possible.

Especially in the B2B market, scalability is huge.

But what if you’re connecting with businesses across the globe?

After all, that’s part of the beauty of virtual events as they remove any geographical and time restrictions. Due to the fact people don’t have to physically attend, it means they can log on from anywhere they like, whether that’s from the office or from their own home.

However, if you’ve got international attendees tuning into your virtual event, then you also need to cater for different languages. For example, if you’re hosting an event for an audience in the EMEA, there are so many local languages to take into account.

So how do you solve this issue?

By hosting a virtual event with breakout sessions, you can create a centralised program with important speakers and presentations in one place, and then later divert into regional breakout sessions.

This allows people from the same region to easily communicate and also means you can create one event for territories such as EMEA in which all the countries can participate. This saves you time and effort instead of having to set up a virtual event for each country.

Draw important insights

Another reason to use breakout rooms in your virtual event is that it allows you to gain important insights about your audience.

Knowing what topics are of interest to your audience is essential when planning a successful virtual event as you want to create content that they will enjoy. As a result, you need to pay attention to the numbers and use this data to drive forward your future decision making.

By using breakout rooms, you can see how many people have attended each session. This gives you an insight into what type of activities your audience enjoys the most. For instance, let’s say you work in Tech and IT. You have decided to create two breakout rooms – one is all about cybersecurity, and the other is about artificial intelligence.

If your breakout room on cybersecurity went overcapacity, but your breakout room on AI was struggling for attendees, focus more of your content around cybersecurity and less on the latter.

This important data allows you to tweak your content in the future, to make sure you are maximising participation and engagement.

At iVent, we understand how important this information is. Without knowing what does and doesn’t work for your audience, you are unable to properly plan for the future. That’s why we offer an advanced data and analytics feature where you can access invaluable information 24/7, 365 days a year.

From website clicks to video activity, all of this data lives in an easy-to-use dashboard, allowing you to measure the success of your event before, during, or after it has taken place.

man in blue shirt making a list

Create targeted content

By breaking your audience up into smaller groups, you can create targeted content based on the needs of the specific audience.

As such, this also increases audience engagement as it’s pointless listening to material that has no relevance to you. I’m sure we’ve all been in a meeting simply listening to other people talk.

Your attendees are busy people, and you want them to get real value out of attending your event. For this to happen, the content needs to mean something to them.

This is what makes breakout rooms so useful. Let’s say you have a range of attendees, all differing in terms of experience, industry and skillset. Some of your audience might be entering the industry at a beginners level whereas others might be more senior.

You might also have a mix of new leads and existing customers, both of which will require different types of content. For example, new customers will need to be educated about your product and services from the ground up, especially if they’ve never used it before, whereas existing customers might only need to know about a new product range.

As such, it’s silly just to present the same content for everyone and assume that they will find it useful. To create quality content, you could send out a survey before your event to ask your audience about which topics they’d like to discuss in the breakout sessions. In terms of event planning, you can then design your agenda to suit.

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What Different Types of Breakout Rooms Can I Create?

Cocktail breaks

We say this time and time again, but virtual events shouldn’t be boring!

There’s no reason why an event should lack the same opportunities as an in-person event.
Therefore, consider using a breakout session as a cocktail break, as this is a great way for everyone to unwind in an informal setting.

This also facilitates good networking opportunities as people will feel more relaxed and at ease when reaching out to new people.

To keep it fun, you could assign a different theme to each break out room, along with its own design, background, and playlist! At iVent, our platform is fully customisable which gives you total flexibility when it comes to virtual event design.

Top tip: Use your cocktail break as a sponsorship engagement opportunity and get your sponsors in front of your audience.

Yoga sessions

What better way of making sure your audience stays tuned than hosting a yoga session?

It’s easy for attendees to slump off in the afternoon once keyboard fatigue really takes over. Yoga is a great way of keeping your attendees engaged, and also helps to improve memory, energy levels, and mood – all important factors during a virtual event!

You could even pre-record a session with a professional fitness instructor and then roll it out to your attendees on the day. This reduces the likelihood of any issues or technical delays which could hinder audience engagement.

Speed networking

Speed networking enables attendees to meet one-to-one for a short 5 minute discussion about their business goals.

These conversations are designed to give attendees enough time to learn about one another, and then to arrange a further in-depth discussion at a later date.

Because they are short and snappy, attendees often feel more comfortable as there is less pressure to speak for long periods.

people on video call on a laptop

Onboarding and troubleshooting

Breakout rooms are a great option for businesses who are training new or existing employees about a new product.

Due to the fact they involve smaller groups, it allows people to get more familiar with the product and to understand different processes.

For example, if you’re selling a SaaS product, you could use breakout rooms to help your customers master the software on their own. They could meet with a customer support rep and show them their browser. This allows the rep to identify issues and answer questions more quickly.

You could also screen record this session and reuse it in the future as training content for new employees, so that anyone coming into contact with your product can view the video and learn for themselves.

To repurpose your content even further, you could create resources and FAQs in response to the most frequently asked questions. At iVent, this is all made possible through our 365 virtual environment. You can upload an unlimited number of resources which your audience can view at any time that is convenient for them.

How Breakout Rooms Can Take Your Virtual Event to the Next Level

Breakout rooms can maximise engagement at your next virtual event, as they divide your audience into smaller groups.

As such, this allows them to interact on a deeper level and also connects like-minded people. There are so many options when it comes to creating your breakout room, some of which we have explored above.

The very nature of virtual events can make it too difficult to truly connect with people and engage in conversation – especially if there are hundreds of people on the screen at once!

However, by using breakout rooms, you can segment your audience, create targeted content and enhance the value that attendees will gain from each session.

At iVent, we deliver a fully bespoke platform that is flexible to your individual needs. Whether you’re wanting to create several breakout rooms, each complete with their own unique design and theme, it can all be achieved by partnering with iVent. With our advanced data and analytics feature, you can also track the success of each breakout session to help you plan future events based on the needs of your audience.

For more information, get in touch with our team of experts. With 12 years of experience, delivering virtual events across a range of sectors, you can be confident that you’re in safe hands.

Written by:

Ros - Director at Virtual iVentRos Oxley

See more by Ros Oxley

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