The key to conference success?

Try these boredom-busting breakout sessions.

Beat the conference blues by implementing these winning breakout session ideas

Think conferences are all about people in suits sitting in a drab room watching PowerPoint presentations? Think again. Experienced conference organisers know that well-planned and executed breakout sessions keep delegates engaged, interested and switched-on. These tips from the RACV Conferences and Events team will take your conference from boring to buzzing in no time.

Change up the scenery

Spending all day locked up in a conference room is one way to ensure your delegates lose interest. While conference rooms serve an important purpose, be clever and break up the day by utilising other spaces for breakout sessions and breaks. RACV Clubs and Resorts have many different outdoor spaces for delegates to explore and utilise. From setting up a brainstorming session on an outdoor terrace with water views, to enjoying a casual barbecue lunch in a gazebo, there are plenty of ways to give delegates a much-needed break from the conference room.

RACV Goldfields 19th hole

Load up on loot

Hungry conference attendees won’t be able to concentrate on the task at hand, so ensure they have all the fuel they need to keep going (especially in the home stretch when enthusiasm tends to fade). A stash of lollies at each place setting (opt for trail mix, nuts or fruit for a healthier option) will provide a quick boost, while a self-serve snacking station set up in the corner of the room enables guests to treat themselves whenever they feel peckish.

Juice bar set up for meeting at RACV Royal Pines Resort

Prioritise fun

While there’s plenty of important content to get through during a conference, don’t fall into the trap of making the whole day about business. Back-to-back speeches and presentation will grow tiring, so break up the day by allocating parts of the schedule to the pursuit of fun. If the aim is to get everyone interacting and laughing, then something as simple as a dress-up box or silly hat stand can inspire people to loosen up and have some fun.

Keep everyone entertained

Injecting an element of surprise into your breakout sessions will spark the curiosity of your delegates and give them a mental break from the conference content. A notable guest, pop-up entertainer, surprise musical interlude or mural artist in action are all great circuit breakers that will stoke the creativity of attendees. 

Get physical

There’s no need to set a physical challenge when a simple, brief walk in nature prior to a session will do the job. The mood-boosting benefits of being exposed to sunlight, fresh air, greenery and birdsong will set up conference delegates for a productive afternoon. Studies have shown that spending time in greenspaces can lower blood pressure and boost mental health, so try a scavenger hunt, orienteering challenge, or barefoot games session on the lawn to give attendees a break in nature. Afterwards, you’ll be rewarded with engaged, lively delegates who will power through the afternoon conference session.

People playing a game of lawn bowls at RACV Healesville
Yoga session at RACV Healesville
People playing yard games at RACV Healesville

Create a multisensory world

Engage the senses by decorating the conference space with art installations, indoor plants and greenery, and eye-catching decor suited to your conference theme. For example, if you work for a travel company, a huge wall of vintage postcards or oversized map of the world gives guests something else to focus on apart from the projector and provides a good conversation starter to get everyone talking.

Keep it informal

Strict rules, formal presentations and dry content really suck the joy out of the conference experience. Instead, aim to keep breakout sessions casual so that delegates remain engaged. People are generally more receptive to participating in group activities when they feel welcome and relaxed. Encourage attendees to wear casual clothing, drop business jargon from their vocabularies, and experiment with different ideas by deviating from the typical conference playbook. As a rule, any task that feels like an exam or homework should be removed from the schedule.

Looking for a conference venue with a difference? These leading venues have all the ingredients for conference success.  

Casually set up meeting room at RACV Torquay Resort

©Kiah Lucey Photography