How to Host and Join Breakout Room Sessions in Zoom Meetings

Breakout rooms are a popular feature in Zoom that allow meeting hosts to split participants into separate, smaller sessions for focused discussions or activities. As a meeting host, understanding how to properly set up and manage breakout rooms is key to running an organized and productive meeting.

Enabling Breakout Rooms

Before creating breakout rooms, you first need to enable the feature in your Zoom account settings:

  1. Sign in to the Zoom web portal.
  2. Click on “Settings”.
  3. Navigate to the “In Meeting (Advanced)” section.
  4. Find the “Breakout Room” option and toggle it on.

Creating Breakout Rooms

There are two ways to create breakout rooms – you can do it pre-meeting or ad-hoc during a meeting:

Pre-Meeting

  1. Schedule a meeting in Zoom.
  2. Under “Meeting Options”, toggle on “Breakout Room Pre-Assign”.
  3. Enter the number of rooms you want to create.
  4. Assign participants to rooms or allow them to self-select once rooms open.

Ad-Hoc

  1. Start an instant meeting.
  2. Click “Breakout Rooms” in the meeting controls.
  3. Select the number of rooms you want and how to assign participants.
  4. Click “Create Rooms” then “Open All Rooms” to start the breakouts.

Managing Breakout Rooms

As the host, you have full control over managing opened breakout rooms:

  • Broadcast messages to all rooms to share information.
  • Join any room to interact with participants.
  • Set a timer for the breakout duration.
  • Recreate or delete rooms as needed.
  • Move participants between different rooms.

Joining Breakout Rooms (Participants)

Participants can easily join their assigned breakout room in a few clicks:

Desktop

  • You’ll be prompted automatically once rooms open. Just click “Join”.
  • If you select “Later”, click “Join Breakout Room” in the meeting controls.

Mobile Devices

  • Tap the “Breakout Rooms” icon and select the room to join.

Best Practices

Here are some tips for effectively using breakout rooms:

  • Provide clear goals and expectations before rooms open.
  • Visit each room to assist and answer questions.
  • Use timers to keep groups on track.
  • Reconvene intermittently for whole group discussions.
  • Ask participants to share a summary after rejoining the main room.

Conclusion

Breakout rooms are a versatile feature that facilitate meaningful small group collaboration. As a host, take time to properly plan your breakout activities and test the feature. As a participant, come prepared to actively engage in your breakout room discussions. With some practice, Zoom breakout rooms can greatly enhance your remote meetings!

Let me know if you have any other specific questions! I have over 5 years of experience using Zoom for online teaching and corporate training.