Create focused discussions using breakout rooms

Sometimes you need to pull someone aside for a quick chat, or bring a select group together for a more focused discussion. This goes for both in-person and virtual meetings, especially as today’s workforce oscillates between the two. With Zoom’s breakout rooms feature, you can bring this dynamic meeting structure to the digital space.

Create focused discussions using breakout rooms
What is a breakout room?

What is a breakout room?

Breakout rooms allow the host of a Zoom meeting to create separate, smaller groups within a larger meeting or training session. This feature allows everyone to work in smaller teams, where hosts can pull the groups back into the collective session when needed. A participant can alert the host when they need help, and you can visit any of the breakout groups to assist and answer questions.

You can use video, audio, chat, whiteboards, and screen sharing during a breakout room session.

How do I set up breakout rooms in Zoom?

Whether you’re running a large training session, trying to shake up your virtual classroom, or hoping to make a team bonding experience more engaging, breakout rooms are a key ingredient for building meaningful connections. They offer a few benefits, including:

Easy delegation

Easy delegation

When you need support during a session, co-hosts come in handy —- they can help you organize and lead a meeting and its corresponding breakout rooms. Co-hosts have full host privileges in breakout rooms, including the ability to assign, start, and end breakout rooms, as well as the ability to move between breakout rooms and broadcast messages to all members of a breakout room.

Communicate with back-office experts

Organized, yet focused discussions

Though participants are in separate rooms, hosts can send a message to every breakout room when they need to get the word out about something. This feature is useful if you want to let your participants know it’s time to wrap up their discussions or finish an assignment, for example.

Support effective agency communication

Break up long, continuous meetings

Once you close a breakout session, you can always decide to break your participants up again. This is useful for longer classes or events, as you can split your participants up as many times as you would like.

Get people the help they need, when they need it

Get people the help they need, when they need it

Just because you’re not in a room with someone doesn’t mean you can’t help them out. Breakout participants can click the “Ask for Help” icon to invite the host to join your breakout for assistance. The host will get a notification and can jump into that session.

Share multiple screens

Assess participant engagement

In your participant tab, you as the host can see who is in each breakout room, and if they’re speaking, sharing their screen, have video on, and more. This helps you get a better sense of breakout room engagement, and identify any areas that need extra attention.

Create consistent security

Create consistent security

End-to-end encryption (E2EE) for Zoom Meetings has expanded to breakout rooms. It will be the same experience as a standard E2EE meeting, except each breakout room gets its own unique meeting encryption key. You can use this feature when you need to add an extra layer of security to important, private conversations, or just want to get certain people together during an E2EE meeting.

How do breakout rooms work?

  • Creating breakout rooms
  • Ending breakout rooms
  • Deleting breakout rooms
  • Using breakout rooms with Zoom Rooms
Creating breakout rooms

Creating breakout rooms

  • Breakout rooms allow you to split your meeting in up to 50 separate sessions.

  • As the meeting host, you can choose to split the participants of the meeting into these separate sessions automatically or manually, and you can join any one of these separate rooms at any time.

  • If you need to move participants, you can simply select the participant’s name and assign them to a different room.

  • You can also allow participants to control the experience by enabling them to select their preferred room from the start.

Ending breakout rooms

Ending breakout rooms

  • When you’re ready to conclude a breakout session, you can click “Close Rooms,” which will send the participants a notification to rejoin the main session.

  • Hosts can make it so the breakout rooms will automatically end after the configured time and even set a countdown timer for participants that automatically returns them to the main session when the time is up.

  • Participants can choose to return to the main session at any time.

Deleting breakout rooms

Deleting breakout rooms

  • You have the option to delete a selected breakout room. However, it does not remove the participants in that room from the meeting.

  • Once a room is deleted, participants will be placed back into the queue to be placed into another breakout room.

  • If a breakout room is accidentally deleted and you want to recreate the scenario, you’ll have to start from scratch by recreating your breakout rooms either by placing participants into rooms automatically or by manually placing the same participant groups into new breakout rooms.

Using breakout rooms with Zoom Rooms

Using breakout rooms with Zoom Rooms

  • If you want to enable these smaller conversations in a hybrid work environment, you can join breakout rooms from a Zoom Rooms Appliance.

  • While Zoom Rooms cannot initiate breakout room sessions, they can be added as breakout room participants when a host starts a breakout session.

  • Zoom Rooms participants can also join and leave the session and see who else is in their breakout.

Get started with Zoom breakout rooms

Get started with Zoom breakout rooms

Even virtual meetings need a way to connect certain individuals or create dedicated groups. With Zoom breakout rooms, you get the ability to engage your participants as needed while still enjoying the flexibility that comes with a digital environment.

Download Zoom Meetings today to experience breakout rooms in action!


To enable the breakout room feature for your own use, start by signing in to the Zoom web portal and heading to “Settings.” Click the “Meeting” tab — under “In Meeting (Advanced),” toggle on the breakout room option. A verification dialog may appear, so just click “Enable” to verify the change if it does. If, for some reason, the breakout room option is grayed out, it’s likely locked by your account admin — so make sure to connect with them to get set up.

To give yourself more flexibility during the breakout rooms experience, we suggest selecting the following boxes during set-up:

  • Allow meeting hosts to pre-assign participants to breakout rooms.
  • Allow host to broadcast message to participants, which lets you broadcast a text-based message to all participants in breakout rooms.
  • Allow host to broadcast voice to breakout rooms, which lets you broadcast your microphone audio to all participants in breakout rooms.
  • Allow host to create, rename, and delete breakout rooms when rooms are open.
  • Allow host to view activity statuses of participants in breakout rooms (e.g. share screen, reactions). This allows hosts and co-hosts to quickly view participants’ audio and video status, if they are sharing their screen, and any active reactions or nonverbal feedback.

Then click Save, and you should be good to go.

To create a breakout room, just start an instant or scheduled meeting and click “Breakout Rooms.” Select the number of rooms you would like to create and how you would like to assign your participants to those rooms, either choosing which participants you’d like in each room or assigning participants automatically. You can also let participants choose the room they’d like to be in. Click Create, and then let the sessions run as you see fit.