Breakout Rooms: Divide & Conquer
So, you’ve heard of the mystical “Breakout Room” function in Zoom, but don’t quite know how to use it or what it can be used for. That’s okay! We’re here to offer some clarity.
Whether you're hosting an event or having a weekly meeting, Zoom breakout rooms can help increase team productivity, allow small groups to have private conversations, or simulate a large party with grouped tables. With up to 50 separate rooms, breakout rooms can help increase the interactivity of any virtual experience.
You may be asking yourself: Should I use breakout rooms? Do I really need them? While they aren't a requirement, they are a great way to liven up your meeting or event and add an aspect your attendees won't forget.
We have seen breakout rooms used in a variety of ways, and folks are always coming up with new ways to engage their audience with them. We've seen an 80's bingo room, team trivia, and even a sponsor meet and greet, but no matter the activity, they are always most successful when there is a moderator working to engage participants.
If your event can support it, we always recommend automatically assigning breakout rooms because it creates a smoother event flow and mitigates any potential tech problems on the back-end.
These individual rooms can be pre-assigned, assigned randomly, or users can select their own rooms. However, there are a few things to know. If you're pre-assigning breakout rooms, you'll need to download the CSV file, and fill it out accordingly. Additionally, it's important to require registration for all attendees (which can be selected when creating the event) otherwise the pre-assignment function won't work. This will allow Zoom to automatically match attendees to their rooms via the emails they register with.
Anyone who is missed in this process can be manually assigned to a room, but this could be a lot of attendees (especially if they register with a different name or email than you included in the pre-assignment file). Keep in mind that Zoom only allows for 200 participants to be pre-assigned, so you'll have to manually assign anyone over 200.
If breakout rooms are incorporated into your program, it's best if you do not start a meeting or event with the breakout rooms. This way you'll have ample time to manually assign your participants to rooms if something goes wrong with the assignments.
Opening, closing, and managing the rooms can only be done by the meeting Host. The Host is also able to join and leave breakout rooms as they please. To close the breakout rooms, open the breakout rooms control panel and click the red button that says "Close all Rooms." This will end the rooms and call everyone back to the main session.
Looking for tech support for your upcoming virtual event? Nonprofit Learning Lab is here to help! Learn more here.