In a pre-pandemic world, many of us spent a lot of time gathered in large groups around whiteboards, before splitting into smaller groups to scribble on post-it notes. Fuelled by tasty coffee and delicious snacks, naturally.
Nowadays, things tend to look a little different. But just because you spend less time meeting in person, it doesn’t mean you can’t use the same techniques to get your best work done. (Although you’ll need to provide your own snacks.)
Splitting into smaller groups can help to boost collaboration. And with our latest feature, Breakout Groups, it’s super easy to break out of big meetings into smaller groups for an in-depth discussion or quick chat. Just like real life.
Plus, with our nifty Miro integration, you can use all of Miro’s online collaborative whiteboard tools – right inside of Whereby. Which will help to make your breakout sessions more productive than ever.
Golden rules for successful breakout sessions
Create a detailed agenda. And distribute it before the meeting. If participants know how long breakouts last, and which task or exercise is coming next, they’re more likely to stay engaged.
Stick to 6 people maximum in each breakout. If groups get any bigger, you’ll find that some people start observing and not contributing. Smaller groups lend themselves to everyone taking part.
Keep breakouts to 5 minutes. Want to go longer? Make sure you give the group another problem to solve. If you don’t keep up the expectation of meaningful involvement, people will retreat into observing.
Have plenty of breaks. After an hour or so, people start to switch off (or need the toilet). Scheduling regular breaks helps to keep everyone refreshed and ready to work.
Practise! Coordinating a meeting with multiple breakouts can be pretty tricky if you haven’t done it before. Try it out with people ahead of time, and make sure you’ve got notes to follow.
Three breakout formats to get creative juices flowing
For regular meetings: ice breaker template
Keeping everyone engaged in remote meetings is always a challenge, but Miro’s remote meeting templates are a huge help. There are templates for all kinds of scenarios, like daily standups, one-on-one meetings, or event planning sessions.
If you’re hosting a large meeting with people who don’t know each other, try splitting into Breakout Groups and using any of Miro’s ice breaker templates to help people get acquainted. It’s one of our personal faves at Whereby, and always helps people to loosen up.
For workshops: design sprint kit template
Running a great workshop is an art form. Thankfully, Miro’s got a ton of handy templates for workshops. Want to make a mind map? Sorted. Prefer the kanban framework vibe? Miro’s got you.
At Whereby, we’re big fans of Miro’s design sprint kit template. It’s especially powerful when you pair it with Breakout Groups, helping you to get things done with a smaller group of people.
For brainstorms: crazy eights template
Miro has a range of brainstorming templates that are guaranteed to get cogs whirring in brainstorming sessions. At Whereby, we love using the Crazy Eights template to get loads of ideas on the page, fast.
Try splitting your meeting participants into Breakout Groups, with 2-4 people in each. Then see how many ideas they can cook up in 10 minutes (using Miro’s handy timer).