Dispel these 6 Meeting Room Myths

1. Everyone has to be present in the meeting room before the session starts

A punctual start should be followed with interactive activities that require those in attendance to think about what they bring to the table in the context of the current meeting agenda. Encouraging groups or pairs to talk about certain concerns will yield dynamic results. Beginning with fruitful activities at the outset that set the tone for the meeting will motivate people to be on time.

2. Memos should be read in the meeting room

New information takes too much time to process for a real decision to be made on it during the meeting. Meetings are for processing and decision making not being tested on new info.

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3. Space and arrangement of tables and chairs is of little consequence

The goal of the orientation of the meeting room space should be to provide an environment that is comfortable, determines a focal point in the room, minimizes distraction and increases the ease and likelihood of interaction opportunities. Members should to see each another and the recording sheets on the wall or whiteboard to serve a ‘group memory’.

4. The leader of the meeting is responsible for its success

Willing and collaborative group member participation is critical to a meeting’s success. A leader or facilitator’s input is secondary to group participation.

Groups can maximise their input by

• Discussing only one topic at a time;

• Using one process at a time;

• Balancing participation;

• Eliciting disagreements and respecting other viewpoints; and

• Agreeing on meeting responsibilities and roles.

• Asking “naive” questions like, “How much detail do we need to move this item?” or “Which process are we using now?”

5. Packing as many items  as possible into the agenda will accomplish more

Instead, prior to the meeting, list agenda items and then find alternate ways to address at least half of them. Block enough time for the remaining items for the group to understand, deliberate, and decide.

6. A meeting can be successful without planning

Meeting design is key to effective meetings. Each agenda item and its specific goals, processes and functions should be clear to the group. Set outcomes for each agenda item.

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