Conference Breakout Sessions: What is it and Real-World Examples of Conference Breakout Sessions

Written by Resurchify | Updated on: August 19, 2022

Conference Breakout Sessions: What is it and Real-World Examples of Conference Breakout Sessions

Breakout sessions, also known as breakout meetings, are short, pre-planned portions of bigger topics that enable participants to interact with one another and unwind. These sessions are less regimented than normal discussion sessions, and attendees are generally motivated to participate instead of simply sitting at the table and observing. While these sessions may be relevant to the primary meeting material, they may also be unrelated.

Breakout sessions can take place both in-person and remotely. The former often guides participants to various locations of a convention venue, whilst the second takes advantage of breakout room functions intrinsic to virtual conferencing solutions. Such sessions are extremely crucial during virtual meetings, which already have an element of detachment built-in because participants are in their separate places.

These sessions are beneficial for a variety of reasons. They can assist you in segmenting sessions based on expertise or career level. They increase the types of face-to-face contacts that delegates value much more than anything they can accomplish remotely. By incorporating some creativity into your breakout sessions, you can adjust information to different learning types. And, because they are frequently focused significantly on attendance, they help guarantee that your attendees have a more customised event experience. Furthermore, a pause beyond lecture-style passive learning may be just what individuals require after a morning of rigorous oral presentations.

What Makes an Excellent Event Breakout Session?

Event breakout sessions that are useful and pleasant are frequently tied to the event subject. Attendees will be more engaged if the topic subject is pertinent to them. The greatest event breakout sessions feature a participation element that increases participation and differentiates the breakout from more inactive convention instances, like the lecture and board discussions. 

They also have moderators that know how to govern sessions and bring out participants without being overwhelming. The brilliance of a breakout is the flexibility to customise it to your event's and audience's demands. Workshops are available for audiences of all sorts, whether you're organising a major convention or a small seminar.

Real-life Breakout Session Samples that might Provide Additional Insight for your Planning

  • Nonprofit Leadership Centre

The NLC is a non-profit that supports other non-profits. It provides an annual leadership convention with varied breakout sessions conducted by industry luminaries from which visitors can pick.

 A breakout session of their 2020 conference highlighted how to establish work cultures that were welcoming and positive for everybody to be a part of. The breakout session was relevant to the conference's overarching subject, which was fearless leadership.

  • Cyber-Physical Systems

"Exploitable Bugs in hardware designs"

More security-critical vulnerabilities have emerged as hardware designs have grown larger and more sophisticated due to inadequate and incorrect specifications, buggy designs, and hidden and unanticipated interactions between components.  This session examined the science of anticipating, measuring, and mitigating the effects of vulnerabilities caused by hardware design and specification flaws. 

In addressing inadvertent errors—as opposed to adversarial implanted Trojans—in hardware designs, there are three significant challenges. This breakout concentrated on architecture, design, and basic authentication methodology for finding and resolving potential vulnerabilities in hardware. The breakout session outlined the significant obstacles and promising future prospects in this field.

  • Continuing Our Success (BOOM)

Building On Our Momentum is Mount Holyoke College's annual diversity conference. Community members are encouraged to attend activities and learn about diversity, equity, and inclusion through live speakers and recorded content. The 2021 BOOM conference includes a variety of breakout sessions to let guests engage with information in smaller groups and unwind from potentially difficult issues. Tuesday Crafternoon: Zines, for example, allows visitors to get creative and produce a zine while also learning about their history and use in underrepresented populations.

  • The Walk-and-Learn Excursions in Nuclear Cardiology

A breakout session for on-the-go small-group learning.

Breakout periods are a great way to sneak in some stress-relieving activities, such as taking the learning outside. At their conference in San Francisco, the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology implemented Walk and Learn breakout sessions to guarantee delegates saw the sights and toured the host city while gaining knowledge on the go.

These walking excursions allowed participants to participate in knowledgeable talks about topical subjects in the field while also experiencing San Francisco's sweet and savoury charms. The talk in each session was adapted to the group's interests. Attendees also had dim food and saw fortune cookies being created while enjoying the collegial atmosphere of a small conversation.


INBOUND is HubSpot's annual marketing conference, which includes various options, such as breakout sessions. Attendees can decompress, interact with the subject deeper, and network with other participants during these sessions.

Meetup: Black at INBOUND, a breakout session at INBOUND 2020, provided a safe venue for Black guests to meet other professionals, network, and discuss issues of interest.

  • Dragons' Den for Cancer Research

"A seminar intended to present research ideas to a lay audience"

Breakout sessions are an excellent opportunity to bring in people from outside of research to share their firsthand knowledge with the specialists in the room. This is what the National Cancer Research Institute does in its Dragons' Den sessions at its annual conference. In these sessions, the "dragons" are knowledgeable patients and caregivers who are already participating in research, and delegates get the opportunity to pitch their research concepts to them and receive their feedback.

The advantages of these hands-on workshops are twofold. Delegates receive assistance and advice on everything from the design of their study to its delivery. Furthermore, patients and caregivers will be able to contribute more effectively to cancer research.

  • The Market for Paediatrics

"A session that puts the learners in command"

Different participants respond to different teaching approaches, and the most effective learning occurs when we get information specifically tailored to our requirements. As a result, breakout sessions are an excellent opportunity to hand over control of the learning to attendees. This is what the Paediatric Marketplace breakout sessions of the Emergency Medicine Society of South Africa conferences do. A dozen or more market stalls are set up with resources such as posters, interactive cases, and quizzes on conference topics.

Delegates are able to wander at their leisure and speak with stallholders who are specialists in their respective fields.

  • The Archaeology Lecture Slam

"A breakout session to generate ideas for new teaching approaches"

Sessions with an audience passively listening can be effective for conveying knowledge, but, just like in a classroom of learners, an audience that is given the opportunity to engage is often better equipped to retain and apply knowledge. The Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting features a Teaching Slam to assist and motivate novice professors and provide fresh ideas to seasoned presenters.

Presenters in this breakout session provide a three-minute explanation of one archaeological idea using one slide and one prop. It is modelled after the popular Three-Minute Thesis competitions, and the emphasis is squarely on audience engagement. As a result, the session is fast-paced and inspiring.


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Resurchify is an information portal for the people pursuing research. We bring to you a varied list of research gatherings like conferences, journals, meetings, symposiums, etc across multiple areas. Along with that, we also share a huge chunk of details of these events.

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