6 Zoom Breakout Room Features That Create Better Engagement & Connection
We recently announced the launch of twine for Zoom, a product that allows organizers and hosts to integrate the magic of twine right into Zoom. twine for Zoom is a virtual networking tool which uses matchmaking algorithms to automatically place participants into Zoom breakout rooms during virtual events and meetings. And the best part? It all happens in Zoom.
If you’ve ever run an event or meeting on Zoom using the breakout rooms feature and had to manually move participants between rooms, or try to recreate the flow of an in-person meeting, you know it can get your heart rate up - the experience can be a bit stressful for a meeting host or event planner. If done right though, Zoom Breakout Rooms can add a powerful level of engagement and connection to your event. As we’ve been preparing twine for Zoom for public launch, we’ve been diving deep into the Zoom ecosystem and the breakout functionality.
We’ve discovered some great features in Zoom that will enable you to run better Breakout Rooms, and more impactful meetings and events.
Let attendees move around. Last fall, Zoom quietly released a feature that allowed attendees to self-select their own breakout rooms. This enabled participants to “flow” more easily between breakout rooms opening up use cases like cocktail networking receptions, table topic discussions, and more free flowing events where people could move back and forth between different rooms or stations. This feature can be enabled or disabled in your breakout room option to put more control into attendees’ hands.
Breakout room timers. We all know that virtual networking can feel a bit contrived and awkward, and we know it will never feel exactly like having a conversation in person. By adding some structure, hosts can help move the conversations along, making it feel more facilitated, and making the environment less intimidating (especially for introverts). In Zoom, one way you can add some structure to your breakout conversations is by enabling the timer function. Once enabled, the timer appears in the breakout room and lets participants know exactly how much time is left. The room automatically closes after a certain period of time. Adding a countdown timer to the Zoom Breakout Room can be used for speed networking, speed dating, games, virtual trivia, or timed small group discussions. Adding facilitation through a simple tool like a timer can turn an awkward virtual setting into a more intentional experience.
Pre-configure breakout rooms. Any meeting or event host knows that the more you can do before the event, the less you have to worry about when everything goes live. By logging into the Zoom web client, you can pre-assign your breakout rooms with labels and names so you don’t have to worry about quickly trying to set them up in the meeting. As a host, you already have enough to worry about from letting people in, managing audio & video settings, making sure everyone is muted, etc. and this feature makes setting up your breakout rooms a little bit easier.
Naming breakout rooms. If you don’t have the opportunity to pre-configure your breakout rooms, you can still rename the rooms once a meeting has started. Similar to pre-configuring your rooms, adding names and labels to the rooms allows you to categorize attendees based on certain attributes that you set. Want people to move to rooms based on their roles? Label the rooms with specific job titles and (paired with feature from #1) let people move themselves. They can also see who else is discussing certain topics and find colleagues or contacts they want to connect with.
Broadcast & share. The ability to send a text message to all your attendees in breakout rooms has been a long time feature of Zoom Breakout Rooms. This allowed hosts to communicate reminders, messages, and details to attendees. Think a Zoom version of a session host or room moderator. However, the small text pop up is easily missed. Recently, Zoom released a feature where a host can now share their screen to all the breakout rooms. This makes it much easier to put reminders on a slide or screen and share that to all your breakout rooms. When a host initiates screen sharing to breakout rooms, it overrides whatever is being shared in the breakout rooms. This feature opens the door for better facilitation, shared content, and a more guided experience in Zoom Breakout rooms and puts more control back in the hands of the host.
Enable Zoom Apps & Discover New Tools to Engage Participants. The Zoom App Marketplace allows you to add some of your favourite productivity and engagement tools right into your Zoom meeting or event. Explore the Zoom App Marketplace and find things like Ellen DeGeneres’ famous Heads Up game, Bingo for Zoom!, or a tool like Miro to help with collaboration. Look for our very own Zoom app, twine for Zoom, which will allow you to reimagine Zoom Breakout Rooms, coming soon!
Learning how to utilize these basic features in Zoom Breakout Rooms will open doors for hosts to get creative with meeting styles, session design, and event formats. At twine, we’re working hard on twine for Zoom, a product that builds even more functionality on top of Zoom Breakout Rooms so you can elevate your event or meeting. If you found these tips helpful and want to supercharge your Zoom Breakout Rooms even more with matchmaking, spatial views, and speed networking, check out twine for Zoom and how it can reimagine breakout rooms here.