CHAPTER 19

7 Ways to Stop a Meeting from Dragging On

by Joseph Grenny

When I got a speeding ticket a few years ago, I was offered the option of attending traffic school in lieu of a black mark on my otherwise spotless driving record. I showed up at city hall promptly at 6 p.m., hoping my educational experience would end at 8:30 as advertised. The instructor was 25 minutes late and quite disorganized. By 8:15, he was on slide 18 of 123 and seemed to be just getting into the groove. My heart sunk and I was quickly getting resentful. At 8:26 he launched into what promised to be a lengthy story about a multicar accident. I felt a toxic sense of dread and powerlessness.

In 1964, social psychologists John Darley and Bibb Latané conducted an experiment ...

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