James Bond movies and effective meetings share something

Both can create action, expectations and results!

In the movie Thunderball, Bond comments, “Do you mind if my friend sits this out? She’s dead.”

Although Bonds’ statement about his friend may seem a bit dramatic when applied to non-effective meetings, it is likely the image of a non-participative, bored or indifferent participant may come to mind.

Think about a successful meeting you have attended? What were the outcomes of the meeting? Were the results tangible or intangible?

Tangible outcomes are the concrete results of group action, such as a plan, a decision, a list of priorities or a budget. Intangible outcomes result in communication-centered activities and include such things as being updated or better informed, understanding one another’s opinions or progress on a project.

Why then, are tangible meeting outcomes important? Tangible outcomes make a meeting seem worthwhile. They promote action, expectations and results. With only intangible outcomes, a meeting can sometimes seem unnecessary.

A successful action-focused meeting starts with results-oriented objectives; tangible outcome statements that include an action (what the group will do) and an outcome (results of that action). When the meeting participant receives an action-focused agenda they know what to expect. For example:

  1. Approve (action) minutes from last month and file (result)
  2. Decide (action) on budget proposal from the Membership Committee to move forward (result) with the membership gala
  3. Create (action) a list of priorities (result) for the first goal of the Strategic Plan
  4. Determine (action) person(s) responsible and timeline (result) for implementation of the priority list
  5. Generate (action) and agenda (result) for the next meeting
  6. Verify (action) with committee tasks, person(s) responsible and timeline (result) of what was determined during the meeting

An effective meeting agenda incorporates the tools necessary to generate action, expectations and results for the group involved, and shares this in common with James Bond movies. Knowing how to incorporate action, expectations and results into a meeting parallels Bonds’ comment to ‘Q’ in the movie On Her Majesties Secret Service, “Thank you, Q…this time I’ve got the gadgets and I know how to use them.”

Michigan State University Extensions’ Leadership and Community Engagement team offer programs, such as Facilitative Leadership and Advanced Facilitative Leadership, that help leaders, managers and citizens build important skills and teach tools that promote effective communication.