Leading a Successful, Interactive Digital Group Discussion

Collaborative Meeting

Group discussion sessions have been designed to integrate audience perspectives and dialogue through a structure that features an interview-style presentation format initiating the discussion before welcoming questions, comments, and dialogue from participants, who will be welcomed onto the stage and integrated into the discussion through video and text chat. With a focus on interaction, co-moderators use a variety of tools including polls, vote up’s, and whiteboard tools to engage participants and gather a wide range of voices into the conversation.


Each breakout session features two industry leaders participating as moderators for the discussion, who provide a level of structure and are the leaders of the discussion. As session moderators, the partners have a variety of options for how to structure the discussion depending on their preferences, level of experience with the topic, and the nature of each leader’s experience.


Frequently, one session leader will be nominated as the chair, with the session taking on a structure of a fireside chat, where the chairing moderators ask the second moderator questions and engage in a dialogue to begin the session. This format is of particular relevance in situations where one of the participants is either from an industry association or from a solution-providing organization. Nominating one individual as the moderator is also useful when engaging with audience members and taking questions, where the moderator can bring these individuals onto the stage, as well as filter questions into the discussion at the most appropriate tempo.


Ahead of the meeting, breakout session leaders will have a pre-arranged 15-minute introductory conversation, facilitated by the healthXchange, which will ensure questions and areas of discussion are defined ahead of the program. This preparatory call will also serve as a brief dress rehearsal, allowing for audio and visual checks to be undertaken together with the organizers, and any technical questions to be addressed.


With attendees having access to professional biographies of each presenter, very little time should be allocated during the presentation to conducting introductory, biographical commentary. We suggest spending around one minute per person providing contextual background on the role of the individuals as well as the companies they currently represent.


An important feature of the breakout sessions is having a smooth flowing conversation between two industry leaders which resonates with the audience and draws the audience into the conversation. Having several pre-arranged areas of discussion assists in ensuring the flow of the dialogue, along with discussion points that intrigue the audience.


The core feature of breakout sessions is interaction with the audience and moving away from a didactic presentation format to a more interactive and engaging discussion where participants add as much commentary to the discussion as the moderators themselves. In order to facilitate a high level of engagement, we recommend incorporating a variety of engagement options into the discussion, such as questions and polls, quizzes with leaderboards, whiteboards, text chat, and on-stage video Q&A. Using a blend of these tools will draw the audience into the discussion in a way that they feel most comfortable sharing their perspectives and will guide the conversation effectively.


Behind the scenes, each breakout discussion will have a dedicated stage manager assisting the presenters in cueing interactive features, relaying questions submitted by the audience, and generally handling all technical aspects of executing the session. With Hopin, our platform partner, together with StreamYard and Kahoot! integrations, the process of participating as a session moderator is simple and seamless. In our preparatory call, any polls or questions will be determined, which healthXchange staff will then load into the gaming system, reducing any burden on session facilitators.


Breakout sessions are designed to create a high level of engagement with participants, allowing as many voices and perspectives into the session as possible. With session co-moderators, there is less pressure, and a more flexible, authentic discussion format is achieved.

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