Whether you use Zoom, WebEx, Teams or any other platform, learning to set up breakout rooms is more than clicking buttons. Yes, you need to know how to manage your tech, but it’s just as important to manage your attendees’ expectations. Sending a group of confused professionals to a breakout room with unclear instructions defeats the purpose of this great virtual tool.


If you’d like a PowerPoint template outlining the six steps above, email [email protected] and request the template.

Successfully Set Up Virtual Breakout Rooms

1. Outline your activity and timeframe:

First, take the time to set expectations, explain the activity or topic of conversation. Give timeframes for the discussion and state how many will be in each room. Then, perhaps most importantly, check for understanding or questions.

2. Select a leader:

Next, you can help your attendees save time in their breakouts from trying to decide who is going to do what. State up front who is responsible for sharing their screen and/or taking notes. If appropriate, grant that person the right to delegate roles to others as well.

3. Explain and/or show what they’ll see:

Help ease their fear about what comes next. You’re about to teleport them into a new environment and they don’t know what to expect. Use screen shots to set their expectations and increase efficiency.

4. Explain or show what they should do:

How do they share their screen? Is there a document they need to access? Where do they get it?

5. Ensure they understand your role and how to ask for help:

Where will you, the facilitator, be? How can they contact you if they need help or have questions?

6. Set expectations for when they’re done:

Lastly, clarify what will happen when everyone returns to the main room. Will there be an open discussion? Will they paste information in chat? Does the room leader need to upload their document or email it to someone? Ensure they know what happens next.

Let’s Collaborate: Join our LinkedIn Group

If you are interested in more information and collaboration opportunities, join our LinkedIn Group, Put Virtual Learners in the Driver’s Seat. Here you’ll find a lists of gamification tools and breakout room activity ideas we generated during our presentation with Training Magazine’s Virtual Conference.

Contact us to learn more about our customized training options to solve your unique communication-related challenges.

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