Zoom Breakout Rooms: How to Utilize this Important Tool

Last week, I helped a client setup a conference where she needed to host participants privately for a portion of the conference. She needed to move in and out of these private meetings while also being able to have all participants in the meeting at once. It was important that the private meetings stayed private as there was sensitive information being shared. 

My client was supposed to have her meeting room on Zoom and so we knew we needed to create some kind of system on this platform. Zoom Breakout rooms allow you to do just this. Breakout rooms allow you to split your Zoom meeting into up to 50 different sessions while also allowing you, as the host, to hop between these sessions. They are extremely handy and super user friendly too! Below I’ll share a few tips on how to make the most out of this important Zoom feature. 

Step 1: Enable Breakout Rooms

Before you can start using this feature, you’ll need to enable it in your settings. Follow these steps to enable breakout rooms. 

Photo by visuals on Unsplash

Step 2: Decide If You Want to Pre-assign Breakout Rooms or Assign During Your Meeting

For my client, pre-assigning breakout rooms didn’t make sense. She wanted to be able to move different participants in and out of rooms and create new rooms if she needed them. While creating your event, decide if pre-assigning rooms makes sense for you. Are you planning on having the same individuals in the same rooms for most of the conference/Zoom call? If so, pre-assigning might be a more effective option. If you are planning on moving people in and out  and potentially creating new groups as you need them, I would suggest making them in the meeting. Alternatively, you could hop on to the meeting early and create the rooms you need, plus a few backup rooms. 


Need help with pre-assigning breakout rooms? Read this.

Step 3: “Open All Rooms”

Once breakout rooms have been established and you are ready to start your breakout sessions, click “Open all rooms.” This will move all of your participants into the rooms you have assigned them to. If you haven’t assigned a participant to a room, they will remain in the main meeting room until you move them to an active Breakout Room. You can move participants by opening the Breakout Rooms tab and hovering over their name. Once you’ve hovered over their name, you’ll see a move icon show up on the right side. From there, you’ll be able to move them into any breakout room you need.

Step 4: Close Breakout Rooms and Return to Main Meeting

When you are done with your breakout rooms and want to return to the main meeting, you should click on the Breakout Room tab and click “Close all rooms.” Say you aren’t ready to close all rooms but you want to broadcast a message to your participants notifying them that you will soon return to the main meeting room. You can do this by clicking the “broadcast a message to all” button in the breakout room tab. 


For more info on how to manage breakout rooms when you are in them or navigating between them, Zoom has step by step instructions on how you can do this here

I hope this article was helpful! I’m curious, do you think we could replace brick and mortar business locations by utilizing Zoom and, in particular, this feature? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Cheers! 

Caitlin 

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