Seminar Style

Seminars can be difficult in terms of finding the correct style.

You will encounter some seminars where the atmosphere is very informal and others where it is more formal.

You will also attend seminars with your friends and so it can be tempting to use informal language and communicate in a friendly and informal manner.

However, we must always show respect to our peers and it can be very easy to go too far and offend someone.

What we think of as funny or informal can be taken as offensive and rude by others, so we should always try to use neutral to formal language in seminars and use indirect questions, distancing and softening phrases to make sure we do not offend anyone.

Let’s look at the example of two students discussing the contents of a lecture in their seminar from before.

Task: Click through the slides and try to communicate in a more appropriate style for a seminar by using distancing/softening phrases and more formal/respectful language.

Task: review what happens in typical seminars in the UK by listening to the audio below and choosing the correct options:

Now we have thought a bit more about seminar style, let’s look at some of the phrases you can use to make sure that you communicate appropriately with the other students on your course.

Task: Identify the most useful phrases for agreeing and disagreeing.

Well done, you’ve improved your seminar style.

Task: Return to the Future Learn forum and share the following with your peers:

  • Have you ever heard a phrase in a seminar that confused you? What was it?
  • Have you ever heard a phrase in a seminar that you liked and then used yourself? What was it?