The interactional ‘nudge’: Talking about talk from the mundane to the dramatic (Friday Evening Discourse)

7.50pm - 9.15pm, Friday 29 May

The Theatre

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

This event has already taken place

  • Professor Elizabeth Stokoe

    Credit: Rebecka Cromdal


Standard £17


Associate members £11


Free to Members, Faraday Members and Fellows

Event description

First dates, police interviews, doctor-patient communication and commercial sales – they are all driven by talk. And an understanding of how talk works is crucial for success. Elizabeth Stokoe explains how conversation analysis works to provide a scientific understanding of talk as it unfolds in mundane as well as dramatic settings.

Rather than being messy and disorderly, she shows that talk is in fact organised systematically. Like behavioural change in ‘nudge’ theory, she also shows how small variations in what we say impacts on what others say and do next. Finally, she will demonstrate how her research findings can underpin communication training – in contrast to role-play and simulation – and upended common assumptions about how talk works.

About the speaker

Elizabeth Stokoe is Professor of Social Interaction at Loughborough University, analysing the science of interaction in settings including police interrogations, sales calls, and initial inquiries to services including mediation and doctors’ surgeries.

She teaches on the BSc Social Psychology programme, and also runs workshops with mediators, doctors, police and other professionals using her research-based communication training method called the ‘Conversation Analytic Role-play Method’.

Please note

If you haven't been before, please note that Friday Evening Discourses are traditional events that date back to 1825. With that in mind, many attendees like to wear smart evening dress, though this is not a requirement.

There is also a certain level of tradition and ceremony during the event, including: the speaker and host walk through the doors as the clock bell rings at exactly 8pm; the speaker starts the talk with no introduction or hellos, and should finish at 9pm as the clock bell rings again; the speaker is locked in a room 10 minutes before the talk begins to prevent them running away (legend has it that once a speaker escaped just before the discourse). 

Find out more about the history of the Friday Evening Discourses on our blog.

Food and drink

Beat the bar queue and start your evening with a drink or two and our handmade canapés at the pre-Discourse reception. £15/person from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.

We also have a special set menu for the evening, which will be available before and after the Discourse. 

To book a table or the pre-Discourse reception, please phone 020 7670 2973 or email 

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