9551-3d-bar-graph-meeting-pvIn any work environment, there is one thing that is inevitable: meetings. In order to keep a company running smoothly, meetings are crucial. While meetings have always been a big part of the work environment, it turns out they are taking more of employees’ time than ever before, according to a new survey distributed by software company Clarizen. Given the significance of meetings in offices today, it is important that we do them right. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation circulating about how to run a  successful meeting. Here are a few myths about meetings that we need to do away with:

1) Managers need to run their own meetings.

This depends largely on the size of the meeting. If it is a meeting with five people, then running it yourself is fine. But a 20-person meeting is a different story. You should focus on the conversation occurring in the meeting instead of distracting yourself by trying to manage it. It is important to focus on what value you are receiving from the conversation. You should also think about when the group needs your input. Lastly, watch your group interact with one another and think about what feedback you might have for the people in your group.

2) Writing the summary of the meeting is secretarial work.

With the fast pace of most workplaces today, meetings are often ended abruptly. If you don’t write down a concise and clear summary of each meeting, everyone will forget what was talked about and decided. It is important to find the right person to summarize the meetings. Make sure it is a person with top notch writing skills who understands how important it is to write a one-page summary within an hour.

3) Sharing information is a valuable use of time.

The purpose of a meeting is to move a company forward by making decisions, coming to agreements, and facilitating action. Sharing information typically does not achieve any of these objectives. It is best to only spend about 10 to 15 percent of your time exchanging information.

4) You can rely on people to do what they say they are going to do.

In today’s culture, it is not considered a big deal for someone not to keep their word. The most hardworking and well-meaning people will not do what they say they will because they are extremely busy. If you want your company to achieve progress, you need to ask people for specific commitments with dates. You also must follow up with these people along the way.

5) A PowerPoint presentation is always a valuable addition to a meeting.

PowerPoint is a useful tool for covering a large amount of information in a way that people can follow. But you need to figure out if you want a presentation or a conversation. PowerPoint presentations tend to make people think about other things and avoid asking questions. If you want to have an enriching back-and-forth conversation, your best bet is to stay away from PowerPoints. This will allow your leadership team to have a real impact on the project.

6) Calling on people is always a bad thing.

Calling on people in order to control, embarrass, or dominate them is harmful and an example of poor leadership. That being said, there is a type of calling on people that can be constructive. When people go into meetings, they decide that they will speak if they feel like it. Therefore, people who love to talk give input, and those who don’t love to talk stay quiet. If individuals are not speaking, you need to call on those people in order to get their insights. This will create a balanced conversation that is full of ideas and different points of view.

It is important to dispel the myths that exist surrounding meetings in the workplace. Hopefully, by debunking these ideas we can move toward a more productive work culture.