On Saturday, October 17, 2009, democratically elected President Mohammad Nasheed of the Maldives invited his 13 officials to a cabinet meeting: the world’s first underwater governmental meeting. The meeting “room” was in a lagoon off Girifushi, in the North Male atoll, and the ministers dove 20 feet (6 meters) to meet around a horseshoe-shaped table on the sea floor. The Maldives, located southwest of Sri Lanka, is an Indian Ocean archipelago whose 1,192 islands stretch for 850 kilometers (530 miles). The Maldivian islands are on average only 2 meters (7 feet) above sea level, and they comprise the lowest-lying nation on the planet. The meeting agenda highlighted how global warming was threatening the disappearance of the Maldives within a century. In 2007, data about this threat were confirmed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, warning that a rise in sea levels of 18 to 59 centimeters (7 to 23 inches) by 2100 would be enough to make the Maldives virtually uninhabitable. The decision made at the meeting was to sign off on an agreement for carbon emission cuts: “We must unite in a global effort to halt further temperature rises.” The meeting
took place prior to the United Nations climate change conference in December in anticipation of the renegotiation of the Kyoto Protocol. The safety of the ministers was well considered. They held a dress rehearsal the day before; coral on the reef was checked for harmful creatures and participants communicated via hand signals to indicate they were okay. Instead of dressing in business suits, though, the 14 government ministers donned scuba diving gear and also wore name tags. Just as in every meeting, a discussion took place, but here it was through writing on a special whiteboard. The meeting was broadcast live on television. Inhabitants on Kuda Huvadhoo island built a sealed box, put their television in it, and, following their governments’ lead, dove to the depths to view the underwater meeting—underwater. Back on dry land, the cabinet ministers were to sign their wet suits for auctioning on the www.protectthemaldives.com Web site in a bid to raise money for protecting
coral reefs. President Nasheed used the meeting venue as a publicity exercise to push for action so that his people can continue to live in the Maldives well into the future.
11-17. Identify the main function of the meeting.
11-18. Describe the communication process and distinguish between its formality and informality.
11-19. What is your opinion on the view that audiences prefer “live” presentations?
Sources: Based on: AFP, (October 17, 2009), “Maldives Officials Hold Underwater Meeting to
Highlight Threat of Global Warming,” Gulf News, p. 21, gulfnews.com/news/world/other-world/
(October 16, 2009), accessed October 23, 2009; “Maldives Cabinet Rehearses Underwater
Meeting,” Canwest News Service, www.canada.com/technology/Maldives+cabinet+rehearses+
underwater+meeting/2111098/story.html; O. Lang, (October 17, 2009), accessed October 23,
2009, “Maldives Leader in Climate Change Stunt,” BBC News, accessed October 23, 2009 at
Go to mymanagementlab.com for the following Assisted-graded writing questions:
11-20. Based on Case Incident 1 and your chapter reading, how do you think social media might be used in business 5 years from now? Do you see the usage as growing or lessening, and why?
11-21. Considering Case Incident 2 and the chapter material, what are the positive aspects of PowerPoint as a communication method? One study found no difference in memory recall of listeners after presentations with (a) PowerPoint words only, (b) visual-only slides, (c) words and visual aids, and (d) no slides. How does this change your view of the usefulness of PowerPoint as a communication tool?
11-22. MyManagementLab Only – comprehensive writing assignment for this chapter.