“That’s the Work”: Reframing Talk during Meetings

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Trudy Milburn


Conversation analysts often examine everyday interaction for the micro-features that comprise talk. Often, these micro-features are labeled and transcend any one instance. Some genres of talk have been examined to see if patterned speech occurs within that genre. For instance, a typical business event, such as a meeting or strategic planning process, may indicate particular ways of speaking. In Drew and Heritage’s (1992) edited volume, Talk at Work, each chapter employs CA to detail features of talk in a variety of institutional settings. Schwartzman’s (1989) work on the business meeting illustrates clearly the boundaries of what counts as a meeting, and how the participants and their various roles work to create this demarcation. Finally, in The Business of Talk, Boden (1994) uses CA to closely examine the turns that members take that influence the outcome of meetings.

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