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What Is A Breakout Session?

Business Meeting ResourcesBusiness ResourcesEvents

April 18, 2023

What Is A Breakout Session?

Attending a conference can be an enriching and educational experience. Still, the breakout sessions are sometimes the most valuable part of the event. These sessions are designed to get you more detailed information on topics you are interested in, provide a space to network with attendees, and allow more participation than the larger speaker engagement. Today, we want to help you understand breakout sessions and how you can plan one for your next event

What Is A Breakout Session, Exactly? 

A breakout session is a smaller, more focused discussion or workshop during a larger conference or event. These sessions allow attendees to delve deeper into specific topics, share ideas and experiences, and connect with others in their field. They give you a break from the larger conference topics to get into more detail on specialized topics. For instance, a California Marketing Conference might have a theme of Marketing to Gen Z. At the same time, breakout sessions might focus on specific disciplines like TikTok, SEO for Gen Z, or copywriting tips. Below are some great ideas to host your breakout session.

Breakout Session Ideas

Breakout sessions can take many forms, depending on the goals of the conference and the attendees’ interests. Some common types of breakout sessions include:


These sessions are often interactive and involve hands-on learning. Attendees may learn a new skill, practice a technique, or work on a project together. In workshops, you often attain a new skill or a deeper understanding of a tool or skill.

Roundtable Discussions

These sessions are usually more informal and involve a group of attendees sitting around a table and discussing a particular topic. Participants can share ideas and experiences, ask questions, and learn from one another.

Panel Discussions

A panel discussion usually features several experts in a particular field who share their knowledge and insights on a specific topic. Attendees can listen to different perspectives and ask questions.

Q&A Sessions

A Q&A session can take many forms, but the idea is to give attendees a chance to ask questions and get answers from an expert in the field. You can mix a Q&A with any of the above sessions or host one independently for a complete time frame designated to answer audience questions.

Tips For A Successful Breakout Session

If you’re planning a breakout session or attending one, there are a few things you can do to ensure it’s a success:

Set A Time

It’s vital to ensure your breakout session has a set time frame. The set time will help keep the discussion focused and ensure everyone has a chance to participate. You will want to ensure the time doesn’t contradict other important sessions or meal times. Thus, creating an organized schedule is one of the essential pieces of planning a conference. 

Have Defined Goals

Before your session, think about what you want to achieve. Are you hoping to teach a new skill? Foster a discussion on a particular topic? Setting clear goals will allow you to better structure your session and ensure it meets the needs of your attendees.

Make Sure The Content Resonates 

Before you start planning your session, think about who will be attending. What are their interests and needs? Make sure the content you’re presenting is relevant and valuable to them. Also, make sure your speakers know which topics are already covered so you don’t end up in a situation where the same subject is being covered ad nauseam. 

Think About Technical Needs

If your breakout session involves any technology, make sure you have all the equipment you need and that it’s working correctly. There’s nothing worse than having technical difficulties during a session, so doing a test run beforehand is important. And, if you are hosting a hybrid session, ensure your AV is set up properly before you begin your conversation.

Breakout sessions are a valuable part of any conference or event. They allow attendees to learn, connect with others, and share ideas. By setting clear goals, ensuring the content applies to the audience and taking care of any technical needs, you can make sure your breakout session is a success. So the next time you attend a conference, check out the breakout sessions – you never know what you might learn! Contact us today if you are looking for an event space that can accommodate your business conference. With 13 event spaces and ample parking, The Centre Escondido is the perfect venue for your next conference in San Diego County.