Reframe & Reset Your Career Podcast

Episode 47. The Science Of Conversation & Strategies To Enhance Communication – Professor Elizabeth Stokoe

Looking to understand more about conversation analysis and strategies to improve your communication?Professor Elizabeth Stokoe and I discussed this, her career and much more on Episode 47 of the Reframe & Reset Your Career podcast.

In this episode, we will learn about:

How a lucky break and a supportive supervisor helped Elizabeth gain a fully funded PhD and set her on the path to specialising in conversation analysis,

How following her instincts and taking action helped her career journey,

What is conversation analysis and why it is important?,

Conversations generally have a structure and follow a path similar to a racetrack,

Busting myths about communication such as the importance of body language and non-verbal communication,

Why asking someone “how are you” at the start of a conversation is not just pointless filler talk,

The significance and meaning of silence in conversation,

Improving communication at work by thinking about the other person and the purpose of the interaction,

Ways to improve interview performance from both the interviewer’s and interviewee’s perspective and

Why it’s not always important to build rapport to have good communication.

Liz is a member of the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science, which she joined in January 2023. Previously, she was Professor of Social Interaction at Loughborough University, where she was Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor for REF2021 (Research Excellence Framework) (2019-2021) and Associate Dean Research (2013-2018). She is also visiting Professor II at University of Southeastern Norway (2016-). She conducts conversation analytic research to understand how talk works – from first dates to medical communication and from sales encounters to hostage negotiation.

She has worked as an industry fellow at SaaS companies Typeform and at Deployed. In addition to academic publishing, she is passionate about science communication, and has given talks at TED, New Scientist, Google, Microsoft, and The Royal Institution, and performed at Latitude and Cheltenham Science Festivals. Her book, Talk: The Science of Conversation, was published by Little, Brown (in 2018) and she has a co-authored book on Crisis Talk coming out later in 2022. Her research and biography were featured on BBC Radio 4’s The Life Scientific.

During the Covid-19 pandemic she has participated in a behavioural science sub-group of the UK Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and is a member of Independent SAGE behaviour group. She is a Wired Innovation Fellow and in 2021 was awarded Honorary Fellowship of the British Psychological Society.

Liz told me: “Conversation analysis is the study of real talk, the data is recordings … of real interactions so not simulations, not role plays … we look at real talk in the wild, as it happens … the aim is to understand the complete encounter from the moment it starts all the way through to the end. Over 50 years of research, conversation analysts have shown that we are pulled around by language by that I don’t just mean words, I mean everything that we use as a resource to interact with others so of course our gestures, our gaze, our intonation … So we look at all of those things and … by what happens in the opening of the encounter and how does that sort of manifest in a trajectory all the way through to the end”.


People & Resources Mentioned

Dr Eunice Fisher

Professor Derek Edwards

Dr Harvey Sacks

Professor Albert Mehrabian

Max Atkinson

Dr Robert Cialdini

Liz’s TEDx Talk:


Contact Liz




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Thank you for your continued support of Reframe & Reset Your Career, I do appreciate it. The next episode is with Roger Spitz, former Global Head of Technology M&A with BNP Paribas, who is currently President of Techistential (Climate & Foresight Strategy), Chairman of the Disruptive Futures Institute and a venture capital investor/ adviser. He is also the author of four guidebooks that are being published on The Definitive Guide to Thriving on Disruption. As Roger has had such a wealth of experience his interview is being split into two parts, the first of which will be released on Weds 1st February. 

It would be great to hear from you, the listeners, and your thoughts about the podcast, YouTube channel or anything else, it’s always a pleasure to hear your views. I have had some great reviews but not had any way of responding. Thanks again for your continued support!


*Reframe & Reset Your Career, including any comments made by the host and guests, is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any description, including but not restricted to financial, legal, investing or medical advice.*

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