Breaking Down 007: Skyfall’s Negotiation and Communication Scenes


M ordering the agents

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • So, we can consider that M saying, “You know what’s at stake”, and “We can’t afford to lose that list” are permission manipulation. She’s giving them permission to use any means necessary to get it back. Naturally, she’s not saying it out loud, but the tone of the statement makes it seem precisely that;
    • I don’t know, however, how realistic this is. The MI6 have been very reticent about doing international operations, especially when they involve killing others, and so forth, but here they’re very brazen. Maybe it’s because the stakes are much higher and they’re desperate. OK, I’ll tolerate this;
    • We also see a pretty funny example of grace under fire and appearance when Bond jumps onto the carriage after ramming it with the CAT excavator. He adjusts his cuff links and says calmly, “Just changing carriages”. Very funny;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Permission manipulation (M telling Bond and Eve to get back the list at all costs);
    • Image/appearance + grace under fire (Bond not fazed, entering the carriage);


M meeting with Mallory

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, here we see that Mallory is suggesting M to pull back the agents, and she’s noncomittal, saying “I’ve considered every option”. It’s a bit of a possibility shuffle – saying there are so many possibilities, that this one in particular is not the main one;
    • I also love the spinning here. M says, “You’re firing me”, and Mallory says, “No, we’re planning the transition period until your voluntary retirement”. Great way to spin this;
    • We also see a bit of a fight between appearance and results here. Mallory is insisting on her leaving with dignity, while M is insisting on her leaving with the job done. Period. Both are at odds here;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Possibility shuffle (Mallory focusing on one option, and M on all options);
    • Spinning (M reframing this as being fired, and Mallory reframing this as her retiring voluntarily);
    • Image/appearance (Mallory focused on M’s appearance when leaving, while she is focused on results);


Bond showing up at M’s apartment

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • So, we see a type of code of conduct and intellectual honesty here. That is, Bond knows that M should be ruthless and calculating in terms of obtaining results, and that her best option was to order Eve to take the shot. It wasn’t personal, it was just the rules of the game. They do what they do regardless of their feelings, and he respects that – or at least, should;
    • We also see a small identity contradiction here. He says, “We’re both played out”, and M challenges him, saying, “If you believe that, then why did you come back?”, and then she claims they are under attack, and he came back due to that. She both contradicts his negativity in this moment, and tells him what his identity is. Good combo;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Code of conduct/intellectual honesty (M ordering Eve to take the shot);
    • Identity contradiction + identity planting (M both tells Bond who he is not, and who he is);


Bond training montage

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Extremely);
  • Description:
    • So, we see an identity contradiction here, and not even spoken. We see Bond struggling with his physical exams, and probably thinking to himself that he’s not who he was anymore. That he’s getting old, and is someone different now. Great example of showing it without needing to say it;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Identity contradictions (Bond realising he’s not who he was anymore);


Bond meeting Mallory

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (VERY));
  • Description:
    • So, we see Bond trying to discredit Mallory, who is attacking him subtly. Bond asks him, “Do you get out in the field much?”, to imply he doesn’t know what he’s talking about;
    • Then, we see Mallory trying to make him admit it. Saying it’s better to admit he’s not good enough now, rather than wait until it’s too late. And he also insults M, insisting she’s emotional and not rational about Bond;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Image/appearance (Mallory discrediting both Bond and M and their image);
    • Intellectual honesty (Mallory insulting M’s, saying she’s emotional, and not rational);


Bond meeting Q

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, we see image and theatrics here. Q saying that Bond is not giving him recognition because he doesn’t have the lab coat. Also, Bond implying he’s not good enough due to being young;
    • We also see some flipping, and power dynamics here. Q says, “Age is no guarantee of efficiency”, and Bond saying, “Youth is no guarantee of innovation”. Just each side trying to get the other side to prove themselves;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Image/appearance/theatrics (Bond doubting Q because he doesn’t look the part);
    • Flipping (Bond and Q each trying to make the other side prove themselves);


Eve shaving Bond

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, we see an interesting case of identity here. Bond considers that Mallory is a bureaucrat, and therefore has no experiences in common with him. But then Eve clarifies he was a Lieutenant Colonel, and that he spent 3 months in the hands of the IRA, which are field experiences in common with Bond. These experiences in common will make him respect him more and, possibly, even bond with him;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Identity (Mallory having experiences in common with Bond);


Bond and Severine at the bar

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • So, we see both of them clarifying the guns the other side has, and none of them flinches upon the other’s revelation;
    • We see vulnerability and lack of harmony from Severine, who is nervous and tense, and this shows physically, although just a little bit;
    • Then, we see Bond offering her help, and she uses implementation intention, asking, “How?”, either as an obstacle or to make him elaborate on it;
    • We also see intent labeling here at work. She asks, “Can you kill him?”, and Bond replies yes, and she asks, “Will you?”. Trying to get him to state it specifically;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Vulnerability/lack of harmony (Severine being nervous);
    • Implementation intention (Severine asking Bond how he would help);
    • Intent labeling (Severine getting Bond to state he will kill her boss);


Silva meeting Bond

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • We see Silva telling a story here at the beginning. This is usually a demonstration of power and value, because the person who feels at home and has no care in the world is the one who says what they want, many times just to amuse themselves, and telling a story is an example of that;
    • Then, we have the use of identity here. Both in the metaphor, where Silva mentions the nature of the rats changing, but also as the real-world scenario of the metaphor, insinuating that M changed both Silva and Bond;
    • We also see a great use of Silva compromising M’s trustworthiness and intellectual honesty. That is, he reveals to Bond that she lied about his physical and psychological evaluations, which Bond did not know;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Abundance/value (Silva telling the story because he’s relaxed);
    • Identity (Silva mentioning the change in identity both of him and Bond, due to M);
    • Trustworthiness/credibility/intellectual honesty (Silva compromising M’s trustworthiness);


M speaking to the Ministers

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, we see spinning. M framing the world as more scary than others see. Also, a bit of emotional manipulation, causing panic and terror to justify the existence of the 00 program.
  • Techniques Present:
    • Spinning + emotional manipulation (M reframing the world as being scary, and justifying the need for the 00 program due to this);


Bond taking M in the car

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, we see a distraction here, and also making the other side defensive. It’s literally what Bond said. They have been one step behind, and therefore reactive. What he wants to do is to go proactive and induce a mistake in Silva;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Physiological priming (Distracting Silva and catching him off-guard);
    • Initiative (Instead of being on the defensive, making the other side defensive);

Find more of our resources on the resources page, or specifically head to articles, reports and/or interviews.

Master Persuasion. And More.

You'll receive techniques, reports, and case studies related to the main area of focus of your choosing:

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

    Further Articles



    Report Covers - Executives

    Asset Management

    Report Covers - Asset Management

    View all our reports here.