Breakout Discussion Instructions « 2018 Quantified Self Conference

Quantified Self Conference 2018

Breakout Instructions


All of the Quantified Self breakout discussions are led by attendees like yourself. We are an enthusiastic group of experimenters, toolmakers and learners. The breakout discussions are a great alternative to the Show&Tell talks and present a unique opportunity to participate in collaborative learning and knowledge exchange with conference attendees.

This document will inform you on how to run a breakout and addresses common questions that people have.


Breakout sessions at the QS Conference are usually lead by one or two individuals who give a short (~10min) introduction to the topic and their work if it is relevant. The rest of the session should be centered around a discussion between group members about the topic. These sessions are not meant to be a one-way lecture on a topic, idea, or project. Rather, we encourage you to think of this as an exercise in collaborative learning and information exchange.


Keep your introduction short.

We prefer that you keep your introduction to the topic as brief as possible. We encourage you to keep it to no more than 10 minutes and preferably less. Don’t worry, you’ll have ample opportunity during the discussion to share and express your knowledge!

Give attendees the chance to express themselves.

Many individuals coming to the conference are experts in their particular domains and have unique experiences. In order to generate a good experience in your session, it is imperative that people are allowed to speak.

Get people talking ASAP.

Conferences can quickly become traps for endless note-taking and internal monologues. We want you to help break that cycle by having session attendees talking as soon as possible.

Let conversation flow.

Your role as the session leader is to provide the initial spark that ignites conversation and sharing amongst the group. Sometimes that conversation will flow in unexpected directions. That’s perfectly okay. Be aware of this and embrace the opportunity to learn.

Overall, we want to encourage you to explore and generate new ideas during your session. If you have any questions, please let me know ( We are here to help you along the way.


How long do I have for my breakout?

All breakouts are scheduled for one (1) hour.

How long should I talk?

We typically ask our breakout leaders to limit their introduction to the topic to 10 minutes. You can use whatever format you think is best, but try to be brief so that attendees can participate fully in the discussion.

How do I facilitate a breakout session?

These are notoriously difficult sessions to plan for. What we are asking is that you think of yourself as a teacher and facilitator. You come to the breakout with important and valuable information. Be prepared to answer questions about your topic, guide the discussion, and help facilitate a great conversation. It helps to have a few questions ready, so that you can prime attendees to participate.

If you have questions about your breakout or want to talk about your plan, feel free to email Steven (

When is my breakout scheduled?

We’re currently working on the schedule. We will let you know when the schedule is finalized.

Will A/V equipment be available?

There won’t be A/V equipment. There will be an easel pad to write some terms that will be needed for the conversation. You could also print some handouts to give people any useful information for the conversation.

How big are the breakouts?

Each breakout will vary in size and attendance will depend on what attendees want to learn about and engage in.

Does QS need anything from me?

Yes! We need a short 40-50 word description of your breakout session so we can include it in the online and printed program. The deadline for your description is in your email.

Who do I contact if I have a question not covered here?

Questions go to Steven: