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Jul 26
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Corporate Breakout Sessions

A breakout session can be defined as a small group of attendees drawn from a larger conference to discuss and learn about specific aspects of the central theme of the main event. Breakout sessions, also called workshop sessions, can allow for a more personalized experience for attendees with more audience participation and networking opportunities.


Adding breakout sessions to a corporate event gives attendees the chance to choose the topics they want to learn more about. When an event attendee has the option to choose what they can learn and participate in they will feel empowered and that your event has served their needs.

One way to provide choice through breakout sessions is to offer beginner, moderate and advanced levels of the same topic. Not every attendee is in the same place in their career, but everyone deserves a chance to learn and advance. Another method of choice would be designing sessions on the main event theme for different department’s perspectives. For instance, human resources, loss prevention and accounting are all interested in corporate security, but from different viewpoints.

Timing and Setting

One main characteristic of breakout sessions is that they are relatively short meetings at thirty to sixty minutes. Make the transition time between the main event to breakout sessions quick and smooth by allowing attendees to select their sessions in advance. Be sure to clearly label the rooms with the name of the session, so preassigned attendees can transition easily.

Most small group sessions begin with an ice breaker or interactive game. An icebreaker allows the more quiet attendees a chance to get comfortable. Any sort of active participation and information sharing will raise people’s retention of information and their enjoyment of the activity.

A workshop is a more casual session. Try not to have chairs and tables in a row. No sterile classroom environment allowed. The room should be well lit and hopefully with a large window. Add music to engage the senses. These smaller settings are a great way to get moving, so maybe a walk is in order.

Another idea to get attendees moving is to provide learning stations. A retailer could provide samples of new products coming to market. A food manufacturer could provide tastings or samples of new foods.

Add Fun

To keep people actively involved insert an element of fun. A raffle will inject a bit of excitement or provide each breakout room with its own hashtag and challenge attendees to a contest of which room shows more engagement. If the session involves any sort of sales team schedule role playing, so they can practice a new sales pitch. Allow for a longer question and answer period. A breakout setting is the perfect place to ask those questions that may not be as relevant in a large group setting.

Breakout sessions offer corporate event attendees extra opportunities to discuss and reflect in a more intimate setting and are a great option to offer event goers the ability to customize the event experience.

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