Have you ever imagined sitting through a 4 hours marathon lecture with different lecturers coming in to teach about various topics without a break? You will realize that your brain becomes saturated due to information overload. As a result, you may not remember important information taught during the lecture. This is also what happens during events without breakout sessions.
Reasons Why You Should Include Breakout Sessions in Your Event
Event breakout sessions involve activities that are a part of the larger event where the event participants temporarily break into a smaller group from a larger group. The smaller group will have the opportunity to discuss ideas from the events, interact with each other and solve a problem or handle a challenge. The inclusion of breakout sessions in your event program will add color to it.
An Opportunity for Attendees to Discuss the Event Themes
A conference program or any event at all usually has a theme with a lineup of speakers offloading a lot of information on the attendees. Event Breakout Sessions allow attendees to discuss these ideas in a more relaxed or intimate setting. This will enable them to absorb better the information they have been consuming in the event.
Offers an Avenue for Participants to Be Active
Breakout sessions encourage engagement among event attendees. Most of these events involve people being passive participants, mostly sitting and listening to the event speakers. But when they are broken down into a smaller audience, they will have the opportunity to engage actively and interact with the theme, improving their understanding of the subject.
Exchange of Knowledge
When people interact in a smaller group, they get to exchange knowledge, ideas, and skills, and this could be a better way to make use of the event theme and apply it in their life or work.
10 Event Breakout Session Ideas
Here are 10 breakout sessions ideas your attendees would appreciate:
Lightning talks are short presentations that usually take about 5-10 minutes, where attendees in the smaller audience give a short presentation about a specific subject of their choice. This should be related to the event program.
It should be planned before the event so that they will be more prepared to talk about these subjects. You can group the attendees into a smaller audience of 5 depending on the number of attendees, with everyone knowing in advance the group they fall into.
One of the reasons people always attend some events is that it allows them to network and form a professional connection. Speed networking will help them accomplish this goal.
To plan this, arrange the venue so that the attendees can sit in groups of 2-3. They can get to talk about themselves, their professional life, and other interesting things.
At the end of the session, they can be encouraged to write down one interesting thing they have learned about one another during their short interactions.
Teach Me Something I Don’t Know
People have a lot of ideas that others are oblivious of. In these sessions, attendees would be encouraged to teach others one rare knowledge they know about. It must not be something serious.
Attendees should know in advance about these sessions. These could be immediately they enter the venue and are given the program materials. It will enable them to think deeply about the knowledge they would like to share.
Organize Roundtable Session
These sessions avail the attendees an avenue to share things about their profession, have a debate, or have an interactive session.
You can have multiple roundtables. Each roundtable should be about a specific topic, and each attendee would have to choose the one they would like to be a part of in advance. Do this when they are registering for the event.
Host an Open Mic Event
Depending on the event you are running, hosting an open mic event is another excellent idea. The attendees can participate in any creative activity like spoken word poetry, singing, or storytelling.
Tell them to pick an activity they would like to perform pre-registration.
Problem Solving Bingo
Problem-solving Bingo is a fun-based breakout session that will help your attendees relax better during the event.
Design one by getting bingo cards and getting the participants to fill them up with the problems they are experiencing in their personal or professional life related to the event.
When the cards are full, set up a breakout session where people will discuss the challenges and list out the solutions, after which they are placed in a box.
Book Club Discussion
Here, attendees will discuss a book and the insights they have gained from it. The book should be relevant to the event and should be announced in advance at the point of registration.
Play Trivia Sessions
According to a popular saying, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Thus, this idea will provide an opportunity for attendees to play, have fun, and not get bored.
In this session, attendees will ask random questions about random facts, and they answer among themselves.
Host a Ask Me Anything(Ama) Session
This is a Q & A format for a smaller audience where the attendees get to ask a speaker event-specific questions. That way, attendees who are not comfortable enough to ask these questions in the larger event may have an opportunity to do so in a smaller group.
There should be a facilitator who will help moderate it and keep it short.
Playing a Silent Disco
Listening to music always help people relax, and this will help your attendees relax as they take a break from the larger event. In addition, you can make use of sound off headphones.
Event breakout sessions are important in retaining the attention of your attendees. These are tested and trusted ideas. You can choose the one that works based on your event type, theme, budget, and venue.