Breakouts: Facilitate teamwork

Breakouts: Facilitate teamwork

A well-run workshop is about collaboration.

And to facilitate good collaboration, we often need our participants in smaller groups so they can work on a task.

But managing multiple groups is hard.

So in Butter, you can prepare your breakout session in advance and, once your session is running, you can observe, help, and manage your groups from one single dashboard.

Here's what you need to know to master the Butter breakouts.


Preparing your Breakout session

You can prepare a breakout from the room setup in your dashboard.

The first thing you need to decide is what type of breakout session you needβ€”do you want participants to move freely between rooms? Or do you want them to be locked into groups of a fixed size?

Well, that's the main difference between Rooms and Groups in Butter.

Let's go through it.


Rooms are the simple version in Butter. You just decide how many rooms you want, and you can manually assign participants.

Rooms are OPEN, which means participants can move between them freely. You can choose to assign participants to specific rooms or simply let them decide where to go themselves! This is great for more conference-like settings.

Here's what the setup looks like πŸ‘‡


Pro tip: Because Rooms lets participants move freely, they are great for facilitation methods like Open Space, networking, or socializing sessions.


The Groups are a bit more advanced than Rooms. As a facilitator, you have more control over the participants.

They are fast to createβ€”you decide the number of participants you want per Group, and they will be assigned automatically.

Groups are CLOSED, which means that the participants cannot move between them.


Pro tip: Groups are great for facilitation methods like World Cafe because you can quickly re-allocate the participants in new groups during the session.

The Groups also have something else that the Rooms don't. You can assign tasks for the Group to complete that they can see in their breakout group.

Assigning tasks to the groups

It's pretty simple to set up. You just type in the instructions for the groups and save each instruction as a task. Like this πŸ‘‡


When the breakout session starts, the Group can see their tasks and mark them as complete from inside their session.


Simple as that. No need to broadcast the goals via chat anymore!

Assigning tools and apps

Want the groups to brainstorm on a Miro board? Want them to watch a Youtube video? Or fill out a Google Doc?

Easy peasy, just assign the tool to the groups beforehand, and it will open automagically when they enter the room.

The Tool assigner works for both Rooms and Groups ✨


Pro tip: You can assign different tools to different rooms! To do so, drag the tool you want to the room you need it!

Running your Breakout session

Alright, let's talk about managing the breakout session while it is running.

First of all, you can start and manage the setup of your breakout sessions from the facilitator panel on the right.


Once you've started a breakout session, you will spend your time mostly in the Main Overview.


Here you can monitor all the groups, manage help requests, coordinate with your co-facilitators, and keep things moving.

Let's go through each of them.

Observing rooms without joining

In a workshop, there's nothing that breaks a good discussion like a facilitator walking up to your table and asking: "So, how is it going?"

The same thing is true with facilitators joining a breakout room in a virtual session.

That's why, in Butter, you can observe your groups without joining their room.

This makes it easy to listen in and see if the Group needs help without disturbing the discussion and only join them if help is needed.


When you are observing a room, the participants will have a visual cue that you are observing them, so they can quickly click on your avatar to ask for your help.


Help requests: Let participants easily request assistance!

During breakout sessions, participants have the option to ask for help from a facilitator (quite similar to how you would request help from flight staff when you're on a plane!).

But what happens when they request help?

As a facilitator, you will get notified when a group or a room requests your assistance. Participants can request help from a specific facilitator or send a general help request. Once a facilitator attends to the Group, the help request is automatically removed.

If you are in the main overview, you will see the help requests come up like this πŸ‘‡ and you quickly jump to the room requesting help.


If you are in a breakout group, the help-request notification will pop up in a little menu in the right-hand corner so you always know who needs help and can quickly move around!


Pro tip: When you click on a help request, it will take you directly to the room or Group that has requested your help!

Monitoring task completion

As your groups work through the assigned tasks, they will mark them complete in their task list, as seen below.


From the main overview, you can follow each group's progress with the Tasks done indicator.

This way, you can quickly see if some groups are falling behind and needs some guidance.


Broadcasting messages to rooms

When you need to share instructions with everyone, you want to use the Broadcast option. You can either find the All Rooms channel in the chat, but the quickest way is to use the Broadcast option available in the top right from the Breakout overview.


When sending a message in All Rooms, everyone will get a notification about the broadcast which they can open to see in the chat.


Editing groups on the fly

It would be great if breakout sessions always worked out as we expected.

But it's just not the case, and as facilitators, we need to take action and re-arrange things.

There are two ways you can move participants around:

  • Edit breakout lets you can edit everything: tools, tasks, and participants.
  • Reshuffle groups let you quickly re-arrange people in the groups.

When you Reshuffle groups, you can see all the participants and run the raffle multiple times.

If you need to make some small tweaks, you can just drag and drop people around.