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Talk: The Science of Conversation

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How to start thinking about having better conversations

We spend much of our days talking. Yet we know little about the conversational engine that drives our everyday lives. We are pushed and pulled around by language far more than we realize yet are seduced by stereotypes and myths about communication. The aim of this talk is to introduce the audience to conversation analysis and the science of social interaction. Elizabeth Stokoe has spent twenty years collecting and analysing real conversations across settings as varied as first dates, crisis negotiation, sales encounters and medical communication. This talk will describe some of the findings of her own research, and that of other conversation analysts around the world. Through numerous examples from real interactions between friends, partners, colleagues, police officers, mediators, doctors and many others, we will learn that some of what we think we know about talk is wrong. Stokoe will show how her research underpins evidence-based communication training, and how to start thinking about having better conversations.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Society for the Application of Research (CSAR) series.

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