Pioneering communication skills training

Underpinned by research into conversational roadblocks and how to overcome them, CARM offers an innovative, evidence-based alternative to conventional communication skills training.

The research – supported by the ESRC – commenced in 2005, and focused on the work of organisations that deal with community and neighbour disputes, including local authorities and the police.

The work identified and categorised barriers and misunderstandings between service staff and the public, offering ways for professionals to identify and overcome obstacles to ensure effective outcomes.

Ongoing work expanded the areas of study and formed the basis of CARM.

Uniquely, CARM uses real, recorded material rather than invented role-play to examine what works and does not work in workplace encounters, and offers research-based training in managing the interactions that are often crucial to, for example, initial client-organisation contact, or in dealing with questions, requests or decision-making.

CARM is now used to inform the communication training of a range of organisations across a variety of fields – the legal, medical, commercial sales and not-for-profit sectors as well as academia and family mediation.

Since its launch in 2008, there have been more than 250 CARM workshops delivered to over 80 organisations across the UK and USA.

Demand for CARM is rapidly growing, and the project is generating not-for-profit income as a sustainable social enterprise.




CARM has been awarded College of Mediators accreditation – becoming part of the CPD for mediators. Professor Stokoe was invited to join the College’s Board of Directors, in 2012; the board of the Association of Mediation Assessors, Trainers and Instructors, in 2014; and a government Mediation Task Force. She was employed by the Ministry of Justice to redesign and reword their family mediation advertising.


CARM training has been delivered to more than 80 organisations and over 2,000 workplace professionals in the UK and USA since 2008 – always receiving enthusiastic and positive feedback as well as repeat bookings. In 2014, CARM received substantial commercial funding to work with a sales organisation, and now employs a full-time research associate.


CARM won the Social Impact category of the University’s Enterprise Awards 2013, and Professor Stokoe received a British Psychology Society award in 2011. The project was an ESRC Research Impact in Practice case study, and featured on BBC R4’s The Life Scientific in June 2013. Stokoe has presented her work at the Royal Institution and given a TED lecture based on CARM.


In June 2012, CARM delivered a national training workshop for mediators – the first of its kind in the UK – to facilitate networking and dissemination of best practice. The project’s online forum hosts the discussions of more than 1,000 members. Stokoe has recently started a new academic-practitioner journal, to be published by Equinox from 2016.


Conversation Analytic Role Play Method


Professor takes conversation analysis to WIRED2015

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