Many people have heard of focus groups, but few have actually run one. So, it's no surprise there are many misconceptions about what it takes to plan a successful employee focus group project.

To set the record straight, here's the truth behind five common myths:

Myth   Truth  
Focus groups are simple: Get a bunch of people in a room and start talking. Actually, there's lot of prep work involved, such as setting objectives, drafting questions, recruiting participants and choosing the right location.
You need 20 to 30 people in a focus group. To generate the ideal level of participation, most include only 10 to 12 employees.
Focus groups are a half- or full-day event. To respect participants' time, most focus groups only last 60 to 90 minutes.
You should cover as many topics as possible. Focus groups should address only one main topic, such as benefits communication. But you can still discuss several aspects of this topic, such as the enrollment process or health plan changes.
Participants will be distracted if you serve food. Serving light snacks and beverages can actually encourage employees to attend. Plus, eating together promotes communication and participation.