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How to create breakout rooms in Samba Live

Bryan Smith
Aug 7, 2020 9:00:00 AM

Have you ever had the misfortune of being in a meeting and there’s really more than one conversation going on at once? That’s the problem that breakout rooms solve.

It’s an intuitive way of pulling groups of people aside to have more private discussions, separate from the main meeting that’s going on. It’s excellent for virtual classrooms, webinars, and remote collaboration in teams.

In the breakout rooms in Samba Live, the experience is just like a normal meeting, but it’s a meeting within another meeting.

How you can use breakout rooms

When creating a new meeting in Samba Live, under Advanced options, you can find the Access tab. Under these options you can enable breakout rooms. Just schedule the meeting to keep the changes and you will have the breakout rooms enabled for your meeting, classroom or webinar.

Once you have breakout rooms available for your use, you have to create the actual rooms. When starting the meeting, you will find a button on the right to create the rooms and name them. You can choose how many breakout rooms you need (up to 10 rooms are available) and decide whether to assign the participants manually or automatically.

After you have created breakout rooms and assigned users to them, you can start the breakout session at any time by clicking on the Start breakout-button. This divides your participants into the groups that you just set up.

Create breakout rooms

What happens during the breakout session

You can broadcast messages across all breakout rooms in order to make announcements. This is a great way to announce that the time for a group task is over, for example.

Also, you can join any breakout room while they are in session by using the Join breakout room-button next to the breakout room name. Similarly, you can leave your breakout room by clicking the Leave-button.

If a participant requires your assistance during the breakout session, you will receive a notification of that in the form of a red dot next to the breakout room icon of the room that wants your help. When you click on that room, the meeting host can choose to reject or join the breakout room invitation.

Assistance in breakout rooms

When someone new joins the meeting during a breakout session, they land on the main room. If you, as the host and organizer, are in one of the breakout rooms when this happens, you will receive a notification to head up to the main room where you can assign the new user to a breakout room.

Ending the breakout rooms

The breakout session ends all at once when you click the red Stop breakout-button. This pulls all the participants back into the main room under the normal meeting settings that you had before. 

Because this happens abruptly, it’s recommended to give advance notice to your participants in the form of an announcement when the breakout session is about to end.

The difference between breakout rooms and chat channels in instant messaging

Separate chat channels in instant messaging software may seem similar to breakout rooms, but there are a few important key differences. The breakout sessions with Samba Live are built to be a more seamless experience for the host and the participants.

Dedicated chat channels are great, but they have to be manually managed, where the event organizer has to drag each participant into separate channels by hand, and then do that again when the breakout session is over.

With Samba Live, breakout sessions automatically start and stop seamlessly with the click of one button.

Another problem that instant messaging software has, is that the software doesn’t always have distinct, separate channels for voice and chat. Users can be in one voice and video channel, but doing text chat in a completely other one.

Samba Live, by comparison, has clean, distinct rooms that include everything that the participants will use to communicate with each other. No more having to round every aspect of your user base up into separate rooms. The users are pre-assigned to breakout rooms, so all the work of manually dragging participants into rooms is done for you.

In other software clients that have multiple channels to tackle the same problem, getting cross-channel communication going is usually pretty sketchy. If someone needs help from the moderator while they’re in a room, they usually have to send a private message to the moderator, or hop in their channel to ask for help.

By integrating announcements and a clear and simple "ask for help"-function, Samba Live doesn’t have this problem, because separate sessions are automatically notified of any announcements.

Final thoughts

Virtual breakout rooms satisfy a natural urge that we have when we’re engaging in group conversations. In any group conversation, whether it’s a meeting, or a seminar, or just a party, you’ll notice this natural pattern of the group organizing into a group of groups.

The breakout room is a concept to make that natural tendency that we have to flow into the digital space.

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