012: Liz Stokoe on science and art of conversation

In this episode I interview Professor Liz Stokoe, while we were both speaking at Cheltenham Science Festival. Liz is a Professor of Social Interaction at Loughborough University, specialising in conversational analysis. Liz shares her insights into the dynamics of conversation, some of the aggressive moves people make and how to manage these situations and what we can learn from delicate exchanges such as marriage guidance mediators and suicide negotiators. I really enjoyed this interview and found it utterly fascinating to hear Liz’s insights and advice.

Episode #12
1:30 The future of human communication
2:17 The forensic examination of conversational encounters
4:30 ‘Mis-greeters’ and ‘recalibrating’ initial greetings
6:15 Liz’s route to conversational analysis
7:05 Liz’s PhD – an analysis of university tutorials. Students reluctant to show they worked hard, cool to not prepare but actually working very hard
8:10 Myth busting – Gender and interaction. Zero evidence that women and men talk differently in systematic ways
11:00 Identity categories such as gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age etc stereotype and narrow conversational focus, anything can be turned into an aspect of your identity which limits and reinforces stereotypes
12:30 The concept of coaching differently because of gender
14:00 ‘Recipient design’ – the monitoring of a conversation recipient to see if ideas are landing via body language, fractional delays in responses etc
16:07 ‘First movers’ – challenging greetings. For example, “Where’ve you been?” as a mis-greeting
19:07 Dealing with a first mover! Recalibrating the conversation and socializing
21:00 Conflict is good, it is important to be able to challenge
21:34 Responding under pressure – suicide negotiators. Live conversation analysis in a real-life, lifesaving setting
25:40 Conversational Analytic Roleplay Method (CARM) – real conversation from real encounters paused…what would you do next? Learning through the expertise of others
26:00 What actually works in a real-life, live encounter, rather than roleplaying guidelines
27:30 The problems with traditional roleplay
29:57 Mediators for relationship management. Explaining a process rather than philosophy. Are you willing…? Willing works! Single words can change the outcome of a conversation either positively or negatively
34:45 Subtle changes in language create different outcomes ‘Let’s get things sorted out’ rather than ‘I can help’
36:31 The field of conversational analysis in the future
37:40 Sports coaching – tennis parents and kids. The conversations between parent and child at the beginning, middle and end of a competition

Liz’s ted talk,
Follow Liz on Twitter

Find out more about Liz’s CARM training

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Dr Steve Ingham is one of the UK’s leading figures in sport and one of the world’s leading performance scientists. He is steeped in high performance and has been integral to the development of Britain into an Olympic superpower. He has provided support to over 1000 athletes, of which over 200 have achieved World or Olympic medal success, including some of the world’s greatest athletes such as Jessica Ennis-Hill, Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent. Steve has coached Kelly Sotherton's running for heptathlon and to 4x400m Olympic medal winning success. Steve has worked at the English Sports Council British Olympic Association, English Institute of Sport, where Steve was the Director of Science and Technical Development, leading a team of 200 scientists in support of Team GB and Paralympics GB. Ingham holds a BSc, PhD and is a Fellow of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. Steve is author of the best selling ‘How to Support a Champion: The art of applying science to the elite athlete’, discussing and inspiring the importance of learning and adapting to reach our maximum potential. Steve established Supporting Champions with the ambition of helping ambitious people to find a better way of creating high-performance. Steve hosts the Supporting Champions Podcast on sharing his pursuit of understanding and exploration in performance.

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