How To Build Better Meeting Agendas With Breakout Sessions

How To Build Better Meeting Agendas With Breakout Sessions

Lila Cailles

What are the benefits of breakout sessions for your meeting agendas?

  1. Promote engagement
  2. Tackle specific subject matters
  3. Encourage communication
  4. Allow participants to take breaks
  5. Give opportunities for networking

If you’ve ever attended a conference or a convention, you may have noticed that there are a large number of people who share the same interests as you. More often than not, these conferences involve a keynote speaker and several guests who provide their input on the central conference theme.

Finding yourself in this kind of situation might lead you to look for ways to share your opinions with fellow attendees at the conference. This goal may prove to be difficult considering the sheer number of people and the vastness of the event space. Thankfully, breakout sessions make idea-sharing possible by creating better meeting agendas.

Through breakout sessions, conventions and conferences have become more productive. Continue reading to learn more about how meeting agendas largely benefit from organized breakout sessions.

Promote Engagement



The trouble with some conferences is that many people leave the event feeling like they’re missing something – leaving much room to be desired.

As mentioned before, they might want to be given an opportunity to engage in activities that are relevant to what they had just learned. Compounded with a well-organized meeting agenda, breakout sessions are a great way for people to engage with others who have similar interests. Attendees would most likely speak to one another when divided into breakout groups. In this way, they’re no longer just passive listeners, but active participants discussing relevant information.

Tackle Specific Subject Matters

Members of a breakout session conceptualizing

If you’ve ever worked for a company, you would understand potential time wasted on relatively irrelevant meetings. Usually, these meetings end up not having any resolution to present issues or with anything useful for the company.

Though some factors may have contributed to this undesirable situation, this can also be largely attributed to the way by which the agenda has been poorly organized. Participants have no clue on what they should be discussing. Instead, they’re jumping from one topic to another because they don’t know where to begin.

The typical setting for a breakout session involves smaller groups. This helps mince the entire meeting agenda into more manageable and relevant points of discussion. People who specialize in relatively the same fields can be grouped together in order to make the discussions more fruitful. Through breakout sessions, topic coverage is maximized and becomes more relevant.

Encourage Communication

A small breakout group talking


Larger meeting agendas can prove to be quite intimidating for people who are not used to sharing their thoughts with large groups of people. These types of situations may even hamper them altogether from providing their opinion, simply because they find speaking up to be such a daunting task.

On the other hand, breakout sessions are structured in such a way that allows individuals in smaller groups to communicate more freely with one another. More people would feel encouraged to speak up and share their opinions without the pressure and expectation of being in a larger group.

Allow Participants To Take Breaks

Breakout participants taking a coffee break


Another undesirable feature of unorganized meeting agendas is that they have the tendency to drag out in what seems like forever. This quality does not serve anyone in a meeting, and only wastes everyone’s time and effort.

Breakout sessions are a break away from the monotony that is perpetuated and prolonged in long and drawn-out meeting agendas. From time to time, people need to take breaks so that they feel more re-energized for the next task they’re set to accomplish. Long agendas will only lead to a collective loss of interest in the entire group. There would also be a higher tendency for them to lose interest and forget the reason why they were ever in the meeting or conference in the first place.

There are simple ways to make a breakout session feel more relaxing, such as providing simple refreshments that people can access at any point during the event.

Give Opportunities For Networking

Silhouttes of business people networking


As mentioned before, breakout sessions involve the division of a larger meeting or a conference into smaller groups. Each of these groups will discuss a particular topic that is related to the overarching theme of the entire meeting. This kind of structuring opens up opportunities for people to engage in networking.

When they have finished items on the agenda, they can head over to another group to start anew. Through the sharing of knowledge and skills, they can potentially find a future partner or important investor for their future business or other endeavors.

Key Takeaway

You might be familiar with the saying “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result each time”. You might begin to think to yourself that this can be applied to how your company or conference meeting agenda is structured, or the lack thereof.

Sometimes, the key to better meeting agendas is the adoption of more efficient and productive methods of discussion, such as breakout sessions. The guide above has hopefully provided you with some advantages that you may consider incorporating breakout sessions in your next meeting agenda.

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