Elizabeth Stokoe

Award-winning Conversation Analyst | Author, "Talk: The Science of Conversation" | Professor, The London School of Economics and Political Science
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Elizabeth Stokoe is an award-winning conversation analyst whose work reveals the science behind effective communication. Through the study of real-world conversations in circumstances ranging from first dates to sales calls to crisis negotiations, Stokoe offers evidence-based insights on what works, what doesn’t, and why—often down to a single word. She is a professor in the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science and the Academic Director of Impact at The London School of Economics and Political Science. 
Stokoe developed the research-based training tool CARM (conversation analytic role-play method) to help organizations design conversations for better outcomes. We assume that conversations are too messy and random to study scientifically, but conversation analysis reveals that our interactions are actually quite systemic and have predictable results. With evidence pulled from thousands of real-world communications, Elizabeth employs CARM to demonstrate how intentional language can deliver desired results, helping audiences discover the unique “racetrack” of effective conversations in their profession.
To accompany more than 160 journal publications and several academic books, Stokoe authored Talk: The Science of Conversation, bringing general readers into the fold of conversation analysis and offering a smarter way to communicate. Insights from Talk have been used by Silicon Valley and technologists the world over to develop more effective chatbots and similar conversational technologies. Stokoe has discussed her research on BBC Radio 4’s “The Life Scientific” and “Word of Mouth," and has presented at many science festivals and events including at Microsoft, Google, TED, Latitude Festival, and The Royal Institution. 
Her current work focuses on bringing conversation analysis to the world of conversation design. She is also working on a new book with Cathy Pearl (Google) and Dr Saul Albert (Loughborough University), with whom she has a series of expert classes for the Conversation Design Institute. She is also a co-investigator on the £10M ESRC-funded Centre for Early Mathematics Learning led by Prof Camilla Gilmore at Loughborough University.
Since 2008, she has worked extensively with external partners across public, private, and third sectors, and been an industry fellow at Typeform and Deployed. During the Covid-19 pandemic, she participated in the Policing and Security subgroup of the Independent Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (SPI-B), which provided independent, expert behavioural science advice to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). She is also a member of Independent SAGE’s behaviour group. She joined LSE in 2023, after 20 years at Loughborough University, including as Professor of Social Interaction and an Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor. She is a Wired Innovation Fellow and an Honorary Fellow of the British Psychological Society. 


Effective Communication: How to Control a Conversation with a Single Word

If a single word could all but ensure business success, wouldn’t you want to know it? We assume that how people behave is largely dependent on factors such as age, personality, and culture. But in sticking to this explanation, we miss out on how powerful language is in shaping behavior universally. Conversation analysts like Elizabeth Stokoe study thousands of real-world conversations in situations such as sales calls and doctor-patient interactions to figure out what works, what doesn’t, and why. In this presentation, Stokoe helps audiences unlock the power of language to guide conversations toward desired outcomes in business settings.

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How Conversational Are Conversational Technologies?

OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Microsoft’s Bing and Google’s Bard have made chatbot interfaces available to mass markets. But how ‘‘conversational’’ are these technologies and what does ‘‘conversational’ actually mean? Professor Elizabeth Stokoe introduces conversation analysis as a way of understanding human social interaction and positions conversation design at the forefront of industry developments. Are conversational technologies ‘‘participants’’ in conversation, and will they ever be capable of emulating real conversation?
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How to Control a Conversation with a Single Word | WIRED
Elizabeth Stokoe
The science of analyzing conversations, second by second | TEDxBermuda
Elizabeth Stokoe
How 'conversational' are conversational technologies? | LSE
Elizabeth Stokoe
The Interactional 'Nudge' | Talking About Talk
Elizabeth Stokoe


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Elizabeth Stokoe: “Conversation analysis has many applications, from Silicon Valley to medicine”
LSE Blog
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Should Conversational User Interfaces Make Human 'Errors'?
Conversation Design Institute
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A scientist's guide to life: how to be a better conversationalist
BBC Science Focus
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How a single word can change your conversation


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