Strategies in meetings with presentation and Q&A

Continuing the discussion from What are you currently working on?:

Interesting! How do you identify a successful outcome? (Successful in terms of what?)

In conversation analysis, the answer lies within the interaction or data as far as that is possible. However, I’m using a variety of data collections for my research - some of which is investment pitching and so I have feedback forms on interest or lack thereof. I am also looking at some pitches from programmes like Dragons’ Den (which you may know) where the outcome is known. i.e… the investors/dragons either invest in the business and back the pitcher or they do not. I’m using some other methods with other meetings which involve exogenous assessments by experts within the organisation to allow me to see if what I think appears in the data is supported by their readings.

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For me, success is essentially a mystery. I do scan my internal lists of feelings, needs, concerns, values, even hopes, to see how a conversation or project process goes. But sometimes when I’ve given my process an F, the other people will come back and thank me and give me a b or a.

That’s precisely why I am bringing a different methodology to the subject. Most work in this field uses case studies which rely on memory, note making, self-reflection and insight. CA’s insights have already been able to show, in application in all sorts of fields, that these things are, as you suspect, not reliable. What’s needed is a forensic analysis of the talk as it happens (which involves recording and highly detailed transcription) to really begin to get to the nuts and bolts of interaction and its effectiveness. Happily for me, there are lots of examples of applied work in the CA field which have shown very clearly how valuable the method can be, and what changes can be effected when the organisation and structure of various types of “talk” are opened up for examination.

In terms of defining success endogenously, by what happens in the conversation or meeting, I am referring to being able to look at an interaction and say, this offer was accepted, this institutional goal (such as a sale) was achieved, etc. Things are not always that clear cut but my position is that we can use more clear cut examples to help us draw comparisons and build understanding. So if we can conclude say that in cold calls, so called and much expounded, “building rapport” with customers is actively harming the outcome or goal of the call, and show it, for all to see, then we can replace exactly the kind of “guru” knowledge used in much communications training with real evidence based training that will be far more effective.


Thank you, CeeBee Feeney, for your much needed research and development in this area. My experience indicates that an evidence based approach can work better with those who are more naturally rational, or trying to be, and that a more intuitive approach, accompanied by a grounded evidential understanding by at least one participant, communicates more resonantly with people whose main perceptual mode is intuitive, emotional or sensational.

I occurs to me that you miggt be talking about two different things: @CeeBee_Feeney is talking about doing research (so she is approaching meetings as an observer) and @Edwin seems to be talking about facilitating meetings (so he is approaching meetings as a participant with special responsibilities).


Yes, thank you for your astute and helpful observation, even though research sometimes happens and gets strategically refined in the field, of course.

Indeed @christoph and @Edwin , those two perspectives would indeed differ. However, my research will have direct application too in that it will provide evidence on which to base new and better communications training for the organisation with whom I am working. My supervising professors are both focused on this in their own fields, one in Operational Research where analysis is needed of how OR practitioners actually work as opposed to how they either report working or are reported as working by researchers using purely observational methods, and the other in a variety of fields and applications (police interviewing, mediation services, sales calls, etc) where it is rapidly becoming clear that traditional training is missing key information and simulation is proving to be inauthentic and less helpful than studying what actually happens in real interactions. This is not a situation where the analyst imposes the best practice on the interactants - we uncover the best practices (and the not so good ones) which are out there working for people already. The answers are in the data, not in the head of an expert or an outsider.

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Yes, I think it’s worth mentioning that Loughborough University is really an key institution when in comes to Conversation Analysis, especially in making it relevant for practitioners (for example through the Conversation Analytic Role-play Method (CARM)). If I were to re-do my PhD, I’d probably want to do it there (though I’ve never been to Loughborough yet…). It’s great to have people from Loughborough here on Kunsido!

Thanks Christoph, yes indeed. Loughborough is a great place to be studying and researching, and I am very aware of how fortunate I am to be here. As you may have guessed one of my supervisors is Liz Stokoe, the person who developed CARM. If you are ever in the UK then be sure to try to fit in a visit. We have data sessions or presentations every Wednesday afternoon at which both Loughborough PGs and staff, and visitors interested in interaction work together on some data or subject presented to the group.

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