Many virtual platforms enable you to use breakouts including Web Ex, Zoom, Maestro Conferencing and others.
Key things to keep in mind when using breakouts:
- Make them 3-4 group members. When breakouts are too small, one person may be left hanging if the other person has technological issues. When breakouts are too big – i.e more than 4-5 it’s natural for people to feel disconnected.
- Consider similar pairings over time so people get to know each other and develop continuity
- Think through how people can view the reminder of what they are supposed to do. They may not have caught your instructions the first time round and if they can’t see your screen when they go to breakout, how will they know what to do.
- Consider assigning roles before you have people more off into rooms. One role might be note taker, one time keeper, one facilitator of the dialogue (who writes the question(s) down before you go!). What roles will support your group best?
- One or two questions are usually enough to get people into sharing and dialogue. Make sur eyou provide enough time for people to connect, figure out their plan or process, and then move into dialogue
- If you can, drop in the first couple of times people are doing virtual breakouts to check nd see if they have any questions or challenges
- Walk through instructions a couple of times before you send people off and pause to see if they have questions
- And most of all- have fun! If you are stressed, likely your group will be too! As facilitators we set the tone, so if you are not comfortable with breakouts, practice these with friends, colleagues and even loved ones!
Have a great Wednesday
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