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How To Get More Out Of Conference Breakouts


If you’re in the business of organizing conferences you’ll know all about the value of concurrent sessions. Known as breakouts, these sessions are vitally important in achieving success in conferences but unless really well managed they can be so much hot air. This post gives you some ideas to improve your conference breakouts.

Do it better

A recent survey of conference organizers, published by Dave Lutz over at the Jeff Hurt blog raised some really interesting points about the areas that tend to be lacking at conference breaks outs. The general themes were, that while conferences tend to impart knowledge very well when centrally delivered, there is definite room for improvement in the quality of breakouts. They would benefit from some adult learning orientated practices and should focus on doing less but doing it better.

Many conferences will attempt a ‘something for everyone’ shotgun-approach when it comes to conference breakouts. Trying to do too much could come at the expense of quality and value delivered to attendees. How will you know if this is the case? Simply see how many people turn up for your sessions, if attendance drops below a 50% of you best attended breakout session, it is probably time to drop it.

Knowledge transfer

Most conference organizers know that attendees are really looking for valuable knowledge that they could not get anywhere else, when they attend breakout sessions. This means that these sessions really need to embrace knowledge transfer methods to ensure that attendees are:

  • Engaged
  • Interactive
  • Relevant

Dealing with each in turn, to be engaging you need to ensure that the room layout is conducive to keeping and maintaining people’s attention. You also need to balance engaging media, with personality driven and inspirational panel members. Try to keep panel numbers down or you could run the risk of having a college style dry academic monologue.

As a conference organizer, you can be sure that when you attendees are interacting, they are gaining value and feel engaged. This can be facilitated by short sessions that allow frequent questions and time for debate. Remember that not all interaction happens in the breakout sessions; some occurs in the margins. So build in time for it.

Being relevant is all about finding people with the right experience and the right manner to deliver what it is that attendees want. You can find out what they need by asking them – with social media this could not be easier. ‘Just in time’ should be your watchword when it comes to timeliness. You don’t need to gaze into the distant future in your sessions but you do need to make time for the most pressing issues of the day.

Exclusive Sedan is a company that has an immensely high regard for conference organizers; we know you perform multiple tasks with dedication and commitment. We’re proud of our relationships with you, not just here in L.A. but throughout the world. We hope that this short summary has proved useful and would offer you the suggestion that the next time you need quality ground transportation in the L.A. area you consider a company that understands that long term success is built on working with partners in the travel industry to build fruitful and enduring relationships. Call our team today to see what we can offer.



Posted on Mar 13 2014

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