When hosting a webinar, it is imperative that you make it as engaging and immersive an experience as possible. To that end, there are a variety of interactive elements that you can incorporate. These elements ensure that your attendees retain their interest and get maximum value out of the session.

Webinar breakout rooms are one such interactive tool that can really spice up the webinar experience. Most major webinar hosting platforms have a breakout room feature. This is for webinar hosts who can then divide a large audience into smaller groups. These breakout sessions promote interaction among the attendees and their relatively less formal nature creates a friendlier, livelier atmosphere.

Webinar breakout rooms allow for free discussion, problem-solving, and collaboration by providing a smaller collaborative environment. This new environment can then serve several purposes. You can use breakout rooms for cooldown sessions between or after intense training or branch out into specialized sessions. With that said, breakout rooms also facilitate easier interactions with one-on-one or small team sessions.

With webinar breakout rooms, you can create separate, tailored content experiences for people divided by skill levels or responsibilities. They also enable you to get focused responses from smaller groups on future ideas, reduce fatigue, and improve participation.

Here are some important pointers regarding making the most of webinar breakout rooms.

1. Choose a Suitable Breakout Format

Depending on the overall agenda of your webinar, audience expectations may vary greatly. Therefore, for each breakout room, you need to choose a suitable format. The format you choose will be instrumental in achieving defined goals.

Organize breakout formats depending on the availability of your key speakers and the style of content they deliver. For instance, a rigorous presentation can be followed up with a workshop-style breakout session.

Similarly, a post-lunch session can benefit from a slower pace with less call for active participation. A presentation session is the thought here.

2. Conduct Pre-Registration for Breakout Sessions

Asking guests to pre-register for breakout sessions can drive interest and motivate people to register early and quickly. It also ensures that guests can dedicate their time to topics that matter the most to them. This can also help you gauge interest in specific topics and assign moderators effectively. Furthermore, pre-registrations can also enable you to devise a plan for drop-in sessions. This would help you better tackle unregistered guests who show up at the last moment.

Conducting pre-registration can also help you focus on popular ideas and formats. Leveraging the feedback that you receive, you can cut back on those ideas that generate minimal response.

3. Run Pre-Webinar Polls and Surveys for Breakout Session Topics

Breakout rooms can be the most successful when guests get to listen and talk about topics that matter. For this reason, it is a great idea to organize pre-webinar polls and surveys. Through these, organizers can take the pulse of the intended audience and formulate the topics of breakout sessions accordingly. Feedback acquired through surveys and polls can also be useful in determining the format of breakout sessions. In this manner, you can maximize engagement.

Social media and email invites can aid in polling your guests on the topics that they care about. You can then design your webinar breakout rooms around those topics that generate the most interest. This also gives guests a sense of ownership in the event and increases positive attitude and participation.

From there on, design breakout rooms assigned to particular topics or themes, engage speakers and facilitators, and assign moderators.

4. Assign Moderators for Each Breakout Room to Facilitate Conversation

Assigning the right moderators to the right breakout rooms is crucial. The moderators serve an important purpose—that of initiating and driving the overall conversation towards productive territory. Moderators, apart from being subject matter experts, should also be good at breaking the ice. They would also mitigate any awkwardness, and encourage open participation and communication.

5. Utilize Breakout Rooms for Troubleshooting or Product Onboarding

If you are using your webinar to market a product, you can use webinar breakout rooms to your advantage. Especially for products that involve customer participation and education. Breakout rooms present you with the opportunity to onboard interested people. 

Carrying out troubleshooting also becomes significantly easier with breakout rooms. You can get customers face-to-face with a product expert. This expert can convey basic usage guidelines and troubleshooting steps through screen sharing.

5. Leverage Breakout Room Data and Performance for Future Content

With data from your current breakout rooms, you get a concrete idea about the direction of your audience’s interests. Armed with this knowledge, you can better shape your strategies going forward. Review performance metrics for past webinars for specific topics or interest areas to see where the most interest was generated.

Key Advantages

Webinar breakout rooms can be veritable assets if executed properly. With these tips, you gain the ability to extract the maximum utility that they have to offer.