Conversation analyst studying presentations followed by Q&A

Hi everybody, I’m a conversation analyst doctoral researcher based at Loughborough University in the UK and I am looking at meetings which comprise a pitch or presentation followed by a question and answer session. What I’m really interested in is what strategies or practices might be linked with successful outcomes. Very excited to find lots of other meeting researchers and see what everyone is doing. I’d definitely say that I would be on the CCO team as described by @christoph in terms of approach. Sorry I missed the conference this year but I shall be very interested in future ones.

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Very interesting. I’ve seen many resources and “how-to” rules from the VC community - actually research here will be very popular. Are you looking at this in a way that’s related to Amy Cuddy’s work on high-stakes social evaluations (which most pitches qualify as IMO)?

My team at Lucid Meetings is working on a number of practitioner resources, including a business meeting taxonomy, a glossary of terms, and a benchmarking approach for assessing an organization’s meeting performance maturity. We’ll be very eager to hear everyone’s feedback as these pieces become available for review.


Amy Cuddy of the “power pose”? No, I think her work is cognitively-based self help aimed whereas a conversation analytic approach is inductive and focused on how the interactants construct meaning. The famous question asked by Sacks “Why that now?” is a great way to understand what the analyst’s role is in CA and highlights the primacy of the understanding and orientation of the participants.

Obviously the mechanics of the method are probably not quite as exciting as they are to conversation analysts but the theoretical and philosophical stance tends to appeal to a wider audience so if you’d like an introductory read, the first couple of pages of this paper I think do a good job of laying out some of the main issues.

In essence the approach would specifically avoid seeking or positing cognitive mechanisms to explain behaviour or action. Talk, it’s organisation and structure, and the way participants deploy its resources, is the key to opening the black box, if you like, and what I hope to do is provide an insight into what people actually DO in pitches, and what happens in Q&As, and then tie it to outcomes. I hope to be able to provide actual evidence for best practice rather than relying on advice that may or may not be reliable.

I totally agree that pitches are high stakes social situations by the way.

This talk by Elizabeth Stokoe is also a very accessible introduction to Conversation Analysis:

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Useful, thank you. So - do you know the one word secret to fix the mediator’s failing conversation? :slight_smile: