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How to create breakout rooms in Zoom and give callers their own groups to talk privately in

How to create breakout rooms in Zoom and give callers their own groups to talk privately in
How to create breakout rooms in Zoom and give callers their own groups to talk privately in

Before you can create breakout rooms in Zoom, you'll need to enable the feature in your account settings.

  • You can create a breakout room in any Zoom meeting, as long as you're the host.
  • Before you can create breakout rooms, you'll also need to enable the feature in your account settings.
  • Breakout rooms in Zoom let you split call participants into virtual "rooms," where they can have separate group discussions and then join back together later.
  • This story is a part Business Insider's Guide to Zoom.

Zoom has become a household name lately, and it's not hard to understand why — it's one of the best ways for professionals to meet with colleagues digitally.

A big part of this comes from how many features Zoom offers that allow you to recreate the experience of meeting with people in real life. From waiting rooms to raising hands, Zoom is designed to help your meetings run as smoothly as possible.

One of Zoom's lesser known features is the breakout room. Breakout rooms let you separate people in a meeting into smaller groups, where they can have their own private conversations, and then come back to the larger meeting later.

To create a breakout room in Zoom, you'll need to enable the setting. But once you do, you can create up to 50 breakout rooms in a single call.

However, note that you can only create breakout rooms if you're using the desktop version of Zoom. Mobile users can still join the breakout rooms, but can't create or manage them.

Here's how to set up a breakout room, using the Zoom desktop app for Mac and PC.

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How to enable breakout rooms in Zoom

First, you'll need to log onto zoom.us's website, not the app itself, to enable breakout room functionality. 

1. Sign in with your username and password on zoom.us.

2. Go to your account by clicking "My Account" in the top-right corner. 

3. Under the "Personal" heading in the left sidebar, click "Settings."

Screen Shot 2020 04 01 at 2.21.23 PM
Depending on what version of Zoom you have, this may also be called "Account Settings." William Antonelli/Business Insider

4. Under the Meetings tab (which is selected by default), scroll down to the "In Meeting (Advanced)" category. 

5. From here, click the switch to enable breakout rooms. You can also pre-schedule breakout rooms by selecting the checkbox below this toggle — this will let you manually assign who should go to what breakout room before the meeting starts.

Screen Shot 2020 04 01 at 2.21.52 PM
You have to flip the switch to the right to turn it on. William Antonelli/Business Insider

How to create breakout rooms in your Zoom call

1. Open up the Zoom application on your Mac or PC and log in. 

2. Select either "New Meeting" or "Schedule" to schedule an upcoming meeting. Either way, you must be the host to create breakout rooms.

3. When the meeting begins, in the bottom toolbar you'll now see a "Breakout Rooms" icon that wasn't there previously. Click it.

Screen Shot 2020 04 01 at 2.28.22 PM
Click the "Breakout Rooms" option. William Antonelli/Business Insider

4. From here, you can either allow Zoom to automatically sort your participants into the number of rooms you select, or sort out each room manually. 

5. Once you've decided on your setting, click the "Create Breakout Rooms" button.

Screen Shot 2020 04 01 at 2.28.32 PM
You can sort the rooms in two ways. William Antonelli/Business Insider

How to manage a breakout room in Zoom

A dialogue box will show the rooms you've created.

1. Click a room to see who's in it, or hover over to move, rename, delete, or reassign people from various rooms. 

2. Select the "Options" button to enable your various breakout room settings. 

Breakout Rooms overview
You can also rename the rooms from this page. Christopher Curley/Business Insider

3. Here you can set breakout rooms to close after a set amount of time, decide how much control you want participants to have over their time in these sessions, and set a countdown timer to let participants know how long they have left in a particular breakout session once time expires or the host decides to close it. 

4. Select "Open All Rooms" to officially start your breakout sessions. Selecting "Recreate Rooms" will shuffle the participants in any order you choose for future breakouts.

 

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