How to Create Breakout Rooms in Zoom: A Step-by-Step Guide

Zoom has become an essential tool for many of us since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it’s for work, school, or socializing with friends and family, we’ve all used Zoom at some point in the last year. One of the most useful features of Zoom is the ability to create breakout rooms. Breakout rooms allow meeting hosts to split participants into smaller groups for discussions, activities, or teamwork. This feature can greatly enhance engagement and collaboration among participants. However, many people are not aware of how to use this feature or how to set it up. In this blog post, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to create breakout rooms in Zoom. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to use this essential feature to engage your participants and encourage collaboration in your Zoom meetings.

What are breakout rooms in Zoom?

Breakout rooms in Zoom are a powerful feature that allows you to divide a large meeting into smaller, more focused sessions. Simply put, breakout rooms allow you to create sub-meetings within your main Zoom meeting.

These rooms can be used for a variety of purposes, such as group work, brainstorming sessions, or team-building activities. They can also be useful for webinars or training sessions, where participants can be split into smaller groups for more personalized instruction.

During a Zoom meeting with breakout rooms enabled, the host can assign participants to different rooms manually or automatically. Once assigned, participants are moved into their designated room, where they can see and hear each other just like in the main meeting.

The host can also move freely between different breakout rooms to monitor progress, answer questions, and provide guidance as needed. When the time allotted for the breakout session is up, the host can bring everyone back to the main meeting with just a few clicks.

Overall, breakout rooms in Zoom are a flexible and dynamic way to engage your participants, encourage collaboration, and make the most out of your virtual meetings.

Why use breakout rooms in Zoom?

Breakout rooms are a powerful feature of Zoom that can greatly enhance collaboration, engagement, and teamwork during online meetings. Here are some reasons why you should consider using breakout rooms in your next Zoom meeting:


Breakout rooms allow participants to work together in small groups, which can be particularly useful for collaborative activities such as brainstorming sessions, group projects, or problem-solving exercises. By working in smaller teams, participants have the opportunity to share their ideas and expertise with one another, leading to more creative and innovative solutions.


One of the biggest challenges of online meetings is keeping participants engaged and focused throughout the session. Breakout rooms can help to overcome this challenge by providing a change of pace and creating a more interactive and participatory environment. When participants are actively engaged in discussions and activities, they are more likely to retain information and stay invested in the meeting.


Breakout rooms are also an effective way to build teamwork and foster a sense of community among participants. By working together towards a common goal, participants can bond and develop stronger connections with one another, even in a virtual setting. This can lead to increased motivation, better communication, and ultimately, improved performance.

In summary, breakout rooms are a valuable tool for any Zoom meeting, whether it’s a team building exercise, a brainstorming session, or a training workshop. By leveraging the power of collaboration, engagement, and teamwork, breakout rooms can help to take your online meetings to the next level.

How to set up breakout rooms in Zoom

Step 1: Enable breakout rooms in your Zoom account settings

Enabling breakout rooms in your Zoom account settings is the first step towards hosting engaging and interactive virtual meetings. These rooms allow you to divide your participants into smaller groups, facilitating collaboration and teamwork. By default, breakout rooms are disabled in Zoom, so you will need to enable them in your account settings before you can use them in your meetings.

To enable breakout rooms in your Zoom account settings, start by signing in to your Zoom account on the web. Then, navigate to your account settings and select the “In Meeting (Advanced)” tab. Scroll down until you see the “Breakout Room” option and toggle it on. Once enabled, you can choose to allow hosts to pre-assign participants to breakout rooms before or during the meeting.

Enabling breakout rooms in your Zoom account settings allows you to take advantage of this powerful feature and make your meetings more dynamic and collaborative. With breakout rooms, you can increase engagement and encourage participation, leading to more productive and successful meetings.

Overall, breaking up your meetings into smaller groups can prove beneficial for everyone involved. Not only does it allow for greater interaction and collaboration, but it also ensures that every team member has an opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas. By enabling breakout rooms in your Zoom account settings, you can transform your virtual meetings into highly effective and collaborative sessions.

Step 2: Schedule or start a Zoom meeting

Step 2: Schedule or start a Zoom meeting

Now that you have enabled breakout rooms in your account settings, it’s time to schedule or start a Zoom meeting. Whether you’re hosting a business meeting, an online class, or a virtual event, scheduling or starting a Zoom meeting is easy and straightforward.

To schedule a meeting on Zoom, log in to your account and click on “Schedule a Meeting” on the home screen. You can then enter the details of your meeting, such as the date, time, duration, topic, and description. You can also choose whether to require a password, enable waiting room, or allow participants to join before the host.

If you prefer to start a meeting instantly, simply click on “New Meeting” on the home screen and select “Start with Video”. This will immediately launch a new meeting with your camera and microphone enabled.

Once you have scheduled or started your meeting, you can invite participants by copying the meeting link or sending them an email invitation through Zoom. Participants can then join the meeting by clicking on the link or entering the meeting ID and password.

It’s important to note that you should always test your audio and video settings before starting a Zoom meeting to ensure smooth communication. You can do this by clicking on the gear icon on the top right corner of your meeting window and selecting “Audio” or “Video” from the left sidebar.

By following these simple steps, you can easily schedule or start a Zoom meeting and begin using breakout rooms to promote collaboration and engagement among your participants.

Step 3: Assign participants to breakout rooms

Step 3: Assign Participants to Breakout Rooms

Now that you have enabled and set up breakout rooms in your Zoom meeting, it’s time to assign participants to their respective rooms. This step is essential for ensuring a smooth and efficient meeting with maximum collaboration.

To assign participants, click on the “Breakout Rooms” button on your Zoom meeting toolbar. You can choose to either “Automatically” or “Manually” assign them to breakout rooms.

If you choose the “Automatic” option, Zoom will randomly assign participants to rooms based on your pre-defined number of rooms and the number of participants. However, if you prefer to assign participants manually, you can do so by selecting the “Manually” option and dragging and dropping participants into the desired room.

One important thing to keep in mind when assigning participants to breakout rooms is to ensure that each room has an equal or balanced number of participants. This will help prevent any imbalance during discussions or activities and ensures that all participants are actively engaged.

Another factor to consider when assigning participants is their expertise or skill level. For example, if you’re hosting a training session, you may want to place participants with similar skill levels in the same room to ensure effective learning.

Lastly, it’s crucial to provide clear instructions on how to join breakout rooms to avoid confusion or delays. You can do this by sending participants a message with the name or number of their assigned room and how to join it.

Overall, properly assigning participants to breakout rooms can significantly improve collaboration, engagement, and productivity in your Zoom meetings. Take the time to consider the factors mentioned above, and you’ll be on your way to a successful breakout session!

Step 4: Manage breakout rooms during the meeting

Step 4: Manage Breakout Rooms During the Meeting

Once you’ve assigned participants to their respective breakout rooms, it’s time to manage those rooms during the meeting. This step is crucial to ensure that participants are staying on task and making progress towards their objectives.

Here are some tips on how to manage breakout rooms effectively during a meeting:

1. Join each breakout room

As the host of the meeting, it’s important to join each breakout room at least once during the meeting. By doing so, you can gauge the progress of each group and provide support or guidance as needed. You can also answer any questions participants may have and offer feedback on their work.

2. Broadcast messages to all breakout rooms

Zoom allows you to send broadcast messages to all breakout rooms simultaneously. This feature is especially useful if you need to make an announcement or provide clarification on instructions. To do this, simply click on the “Broadcast a message to all” button in the breakout rooms panel.

3. Shuffle participants between breakout rooms

Sometimes, you may need to shuffle participants between breakout rooms to balance workload or mix up group dynamics. Zoom makes it easy to move participants between breakout rooms during the meeting. Simply click on the “Recreate” button in the breakout rooms panel and choose the option to “Manually move participants into another room.”

4. End breakout rooms early

If a group finishes their task early or needs additional guidance, you can end their breakout room session early. To do this, simply click on the “Close all rooms” button in the breakout rooms panel. Participants will automatically be returned to the main meeting room.

By following these tips, you can effectively manage breakout rooms during your Zoom meetings. Doing so will ensure that participants stay engaged and productive throughout the session.

Best practices for using breakout rooms in Zoom

Provide clear instructions for breakout room activities

One of the most important aspects of using breakout rooms in Zoom is providing clear instructions for the activities that will take place. Without proper guidance, participants may become confused or disengaged, which can hinder the success of the breakout session.

To ensure that your breakout room activity runs smoothly, it’s essential to provide clear and concise instructions. This means taking the time to explain the purpose of the activity, what participants are expected to do, and how they should do it. Use simple language and avoid technical jargon or complex instructions that could confuse participants.

It’s also important to consider the type of activity you’re assigning to the breakout rooms. For example, if you’re asking participants to brainstorm ideas, consider providing a specific prompt to guide their thinking. If you’re assigning a group project, make sure everyone knows their role and responsibilities within the group.

Another helpful tip is to provide examples or models of what you’re looking for from participants. This can help clarify any confusion and give participants a better understanding of your expectations. Additionally, be available to answer any questions or concerns that participants may have before they begin the activity.

By providing clear instructions for breakout room activities, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards a common goal. This can lead to increased engagement and collaboration among participants, ultimately resulting in a more successful and productive breakout session.

Set time limits for breakout room activities

Set Time Limits for Breakout Room Activities

One of the keys to successful breakout room activities in Zoom is setting time limits. By establishing clear and reasonable time constraints, participants can stay focused on the task at hand and accomplish their goals within the given timeframe.

But how do you determine the appropriate amount of time for each activity? It depends on a variety of factors, such as the complexity of the task, the number of participants, and the overall length of the meeting. As a general rule of thumb, however, it’s best to aim for activities that last between 5-15 minutes.

Shorter activities tend to work well for icebreakers or quick brainstorming sessions, while longer activities can be used for more in-depth discussions or group projects. In either case, it’s important to communicate the time limit clearly to all participants and provide reminders as needed.

Another benefit of setting time limits is that it encourages participants to prioritize their tasks and use their time wisely. When faced with a tight deadline, people are often forced to think creatively and make decisions quickly, which can lead to more effective collaboration and problem-solving.

Overall, incorporating time limits into your breakout room activities can help keep participants engaged, productive, and on track. Just remember to be flexible and adjust your approach as needed based on the unique needs of your team.

Designate a host or facilitator for each breakout room

Assigning a host or facilitator for each breakout room is a crucial step in ensuring the success of your Zoom meeting. A host or facilitator is responsible for managing the activities that take place within their assigned breakout room and helping participants collaborate effectively.

The role of the host or facilitator can vary depending on the type of meeting and the desired outcomes. For example, in a brainstorming session, the host may be responsible for guiding participants through a structured ideation process, while in a team-building exercise, the facilitator may focus on creating an environment that fosters trust and collaboration.

Having a designated host or facilitator also helps to ensure that each participant has a voice and a chance to contribute to the discussion. The host can facilitate communication and encourage participation from everyone in the group, making sure that no one is left out or silenced.

To successfully designate a host or facilitator for each breakout room, consider assigning roles based on each person’s strengths. For instance, if someone is particularly skilled at leading group discussions, they might make an excellent facilitator, while someone with strong organizational skills could make a great host.

Overall, designating a host or facilitator for each breakout room is an essential step in creating a collaborative and effective Zoom meeting. By empowering participants to take on specific roles, you can ensure that everyone is engaged and working towards common goals.
As we’ve learned throughout this guide, breakout rooms are a valuable feature in Zoom that can help enhance collaboration and engagement among participants. By following the steps outlined above, you can easily create and manage breakout rooms during your next Zoom meeting. Remember to provide clear instructions for the activities and designate a host or facilitator for each room. With these best practices in mind, you can make the most of breakout rooms and encourage meaningful interactions that will benefit everyone involved. So go ahead, give breakout rooms a try and see how they transform your next Zoom meeting!

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