A farewell speech to Zoom’s Breakout Room

Dear Zoom,

I am an active user of you and I have sincerely enjoyed your company since the beginning of the pandemic, but I think it is time to say goodbye now. I am tired of overcoming my Zoom fatigue. As a matter of fact, I have just sat through 5 hours of Zoom meetings as I am writing this. Even though you have been a popular choice for video conferencing and online events, I and many people are getting tired of you: being on so many Zoom video conferences is exhausting and emotionally draining. The occasional breakout room sessions turned out to be the highlights of most of the Zoom events I attended as this is the only chance for us to network and engage in real conversations with each other, which is often the best part of in-person meetings and conferences in the pre-Covid world.

I am so worried about messing up the zoom's break out room
Run The World's Cocktail Party is so smooth

I recently got the chance to participate in an event on Run The World. The moment the event ended, I knew I had to leave you behind. I tried Run The World’s Cocktail Party and it is just so much better than your breakout rooms, especially for networking events. Yes. You are reading that correctly. Run The World is making Cocktail Party virtual. Basically, it's a 1-hour party using their cocktail party feature - kinda like speed matching for people to chat with another person every 5 min. When the party starts, each person will be matched with another attendee to chat with each other immediately and people can come and leave at any time. That way, within 1 hour, each attendee can meet 12 different people.

But why exactly am I leaving you for Run The World’s Cocktail Party - you may ask? Here are 2 reasons to begin with.

Build real and lasting relationships

While you allow me to meet a group of new people, it is very hard to have a 1-on-1 conversation with each person in the breakout rooms as only one person can speak at a time. It’s either two people continuously chatting and the rest of us just pretending to listen in, or in rare cases, all people in the breakout room manage to find a common topic to discuss. At the end of the breakout sessions, I might not even remember the names of all the people I have met! With Cocktail Party, however, I can actually engage in multiple 1-on-1 conversations. Before chatting, I get to see a short bio of my matches and that’s a great place for me to start a conversation! After the chat, I can also choose to stay in contact with my matches by connecting with them on LinkedIn.

No more awkward, long periods of silence

I and many people have all been there when attending events on Zoom and the notification comes up to join the breakout room. I click to join, intimidated because of not having a clue of who I will be in a group with. Then, it’s just the four or five of us there. The first few minutes are always awkward when I just join. Who are those people? Should I start speaking? What if I speak and someone else wants to speak and I will be talking over them? Those are some of the questions in my mind. Or worst case: no one wants to speak at all. None of those is an issue when using Run The World's Cocktail Party. It is so much easier to start a 1-on-1 conversation with just one stranger at a time, instead of a group of strangers.

All in all, I will always remember the days and nights I have spent with you and I will see you on the other side.


Jue Wang

A Zoom-turned-Run The World User