Having a large group on a Google Meet call is often confusing. When the group is too big, people struggle to hear each other, glitches happen more frequently, and meaningful interactions halt. Fortunately, breakout rooms have been developed to address these issues. In this article, we’ll show you how they work.
What is a breakout room?
Breakout rooms are small, private spaces within the larger room of the main meeting.
Conceptually, the idea resembles breaking an office team into smaller groups. Doing this can allow them to focus on intimate discussions or to work on specific tasks without being disturbed. When it’s time to reconvene, the moderator ends the breakout sessions, and everyone is transported back into the main meeting room.
Requirements to use a breakout room
If you’re looking to host a meeting with breakout sessions, you’ll need an account on Google’s paid Workspace collaboration platform. Participants attending a meeting with breakout rooms will need a google account, an invite from the meeting host, a compatible internet-connected device, and a built-in or external webcam.
What are the limits for a breakout room?
Google allows for the creation of up to 100 breakout rooms on each call, and each room can hold up to 100 participants.
The benefits of using a breakout room
Now that we have an idea of what a breakout room is, let's take a moment to examine a few of the key benefits of using them.
Breakout rooms allow participants to move freely between smaller groups and discuss specific topics in more detail.
They provide opportunities for people to get to know each other better, and build relationships that can benefit future collaboration.
Breakout sessions are often a great way for organizers to structure discussions to best suit the group’s needs.
Being able to move between rooms is a useful way of keeping people engaged.
What can a breakout room be used for?
Breakout rooms can be useful for team building exercises, brainstorming sessions, or informal networking.
If you have a large virtual classroom, breakout rooms can be a great way to facilitate small group work or discussions.
If you're facilitating training or workshop breakout rooms can be used for activities or exercises if you’re facilitating training or workshop.
In general, breakout rooms can be helpful anytime you want to break up a large group into smaller, more manageable pieces.
How to create breakout rooms in advance for a new meeting
Google Calendar is a great way to schedule breakout rooms. You can create an event and then invite people to join the room. Once they accept, they'll see the details of the room and be able to join when they're ready.
Here’s how to do it:
Navigate to your Google calendar and click anywhere in the timeline to add a new Google Meet event.
Click “Add guests” to send invites to the participants.
Click on the "Video Call Options" icon on the right-hand side of the screen.
A new control panel will display your options for the meeting. You will see the "Breakout rooms" option on the left side of the screen. Click it to enter the breakout room sub-menu.
Choose the number of breakout rooms you want to create, and decide how you want to assign participants to the rooms. You can drag their icon badges directly into the different rooms or type their names into a room.
Click "Shuffle" to randomly mix the participants into different groups, and click "Save" when you're finished.
How to create breakout rooms for an existing meeting
If you’re in an existing meeting, follow this procedure:
Click on the “Activities” button in the button bottom right corner. This action will bring up a sub-menu from which you can configure options to add breakout rooms to your meeting.
Click on “Breakout Rooms” on the sub-menu to begin configuring the options for your breakout rooms.
You now have several options to configure the breakout room to your requirements.
Configuring breakout room options
Once you have access to the “Breakout Rooms” panel, there are several options you can choose to configure the rooms to your choosing:
Click the “Setup Breakout Rooms” button to enter the main configuration panel.
The “Rooms” dialog allows you to specify the number of breakout rooms required for your meeting. To increase/decrease the number, use the up/down arrows— the maximum number of rooms you can create is 100.
You can also set a “Timer” to control the length of time breakout rooms are open (up to 1 hour.) Each room displays a 30-second countdown before the timer ends.
Use “Shuffle” to mix the participants randomly, and click “Clear” to reset everything back to defaults.
The “Main Call” panel shows who is active in the main room and allows you to move participants into specified rooms by dragging and dropping their name badges. You can move up to 100 people into each room, and each room can be named however you’d like. When you’ve set these options, click “Open rooms” to begin the breakout sessions.
Moderators can change the number of rooms by using the “Edit rooms” button. Once the changes are made, click “Save rooms” to update the changes.
To individual breakout room, click the “Join” button next to the room. Once inside, you can exit by clicking “Leave.”
Click the “End Breakout Rooms” button to end a breakout room session. A 30-second countdown will be displayed, after which the app will return all participants to the main room.
Using the Host controls panel
Clicking “Host controls” in the far bottom-right corner of the main screen will bring up the “Host controls” panel.
A slide-out panel will appear with options that allow the host to control the access and features available to participants during the meeting.
These “Host controls” options are as follows:
Meeting Moderation (1)
Allows the host to lock/unlock features for:
Sending chat messages.
Using the microphone.
Toggling these to “off” restricts access during the meeting. Breakout Room (2) Breakout room controls are configured within the main room using the “Activities” panel, located directly to the left of the “Host controls” panel at the bottom of the screen. Meeting Access Controls (3) Toggling “on/off” enables or disables the following features:
Quick Access: When toggled “off,” only invited guests can join.
Attendance tracking: When toggled “on,” an email is sent to the host to track attendance.
Meeting Activities (4) Toggles question and answer options in the meeting chat box. Toggle “Allow questions in Q& A” to provide participants with the opportunity to ask questions by using the chat functions. The control panel is in the main room control panel at the bottom of the screen.
If you’ve followed along with the information above, you should now be comfortable adding breakout rooms in Google Meet. Don’t forget that by using the Notta app, you can transcribe your Google Meet calls using a Notta Bot to automatically join the meeting and record and transcribe the call for you. For more information, visit this link. Thanks for reading!