Breakout Rooms improve collaboration in small groups using Microsoft Teams
The now familiar online meetings will be a staple of our working lives in the new year as well. Back in November, Microsoft announced new features for the Teams application. In large meetings, you now have the option to enrich the meeting experience with an additional feature, with attendees being able to exchange ideas more easily in smaller groups. The addition of various virtual rooms within a classic meeting setup provides space for discussions, brainstorming sessions and other things. In the groups, attendees can enjoy the familiar features of Microsoft Teams, but the virtual meetings become more exclusive and interactive at the same time. This is because it makes sense in many usage scenarios to move selected topics to other rooms and continue them in a smaller group. This applies for example to webinars or conferences as well as to events and project groups. But let’s now take a closer look at the new Breakout Room function.
Facts about the Breakout Rooms
Not everyone gets a chance to speak in a large group, let alone when the meeting takes place online. It is much more difficult to hear the opinions of the individual attendees and to share ideas actively. To alleviate this predicament, there is now a feature that allows you to divide meetings into group rooms. Breakout Rooms are virtual rooms in a classic Microsoft Teams meeting that can be used in addition to the main gathering. Attendees from the main room can be manually or automatically assigned to various Breakout Rooms. The organizer must be active in the meeting in order to create Breakout Rooms. Below are some facts about the new feature:
Up to 50 rooms can be created for each meeting.
The rooms are initially closed and must be actively opened by the organizer. Attendees automatically return to the main meeting if the room is closed by the organizer. The organizer can move people to other rooms at any time.
It is possible to give the rooms individual names and then to change this name again later on.
The organizer can send messages to the individual rooms (e.g. notifications about scheduling).
It is currently necessary to use the Teams desktop client to create Breakout Rooms. Support for other Teams clients will go live at a later date.
You can enter Breakout Rooms using the Teams web client. The Teams mobile app also supports participation in Breakout Rooms during meetings.
Breakout Rooms can be created for planned meetings or channel meetings.
If you already have meetings scheduled in your calendar, you do not need to create them from scratch in other to use the group room settings.
Each Breakout Room is a complete Teams meeting with recording, content sharing, chat function, whiteboard and Together mode.
Please note: You must use the new meeting experiences (e.g. Pop-Out meetings) to be able to create Breakout Rooms. Make sure beforehand that you have installed the latest Teams update.
Procedure for creating Breakout Rooms
1. The creation of Breakout Rooms is initially only possible with the Teams desktop app, not the mobile or web app. You must be the meeting organizer. Only the meeting organizer can create Breakout Rooms. The icon to do this is located in the top right-hand corner of the Teams navigation bar.
2. Select the number of group rooms you want to create and whether the attendees are assigned to the rooms automatically or manually. Pick automatic if time is of the essence and manual if you want to ensure a particular group composition. The default setting is “automatic”.
3. The meeting organizer uses the group room settings to determine that attendees can return to the main meeting at any time and that attendees can be automatically moved to open rooms.
4. The meeting organizer can create, rename and delete additional group rooms as needed.
5. You can start the Breakout Sessions as soon as you are satisfied with the room assignment.
6. When the room is opened, the session in the group rooms starts automatically and the attendees are moved there.
7. Only the presenter can switch between the rooms in order to participate in individual sessions themselves.
8. Meeting organizers have the ability to make simultaneous announcements in all group rooms and to bring attendees back to the main meeting at any time.
9. The rooms are closed by the presenter at the end of the Breakout Sessions. All attendees then automatically return to the main meeting.
With this feature, Microsoft has delivered yet another building block to continue to support the digital working world and virtual collaboration and to make the whole experience more pleasant, regardless of the location.
Users will soon get hooked on this feature, as the new group function enhances online meetings. The improved collaboration and networking in smaller groups makes the difference to ensure greater productivity