Thursday, June 13, 2013

News: Smart talking pupils learn Huthwaite's techniques


Can techniques used by great salespeople also be used by great students? Unique research by Huthwaite International in Rotherham is being used to find out.

The Wentworth company is a market leading behaviour change consultancy and specialises in consulting and training on all aspects of sales. It works with major blue chip companies across the world including Rezidor, Dell, Motorola, UPS and Zurich Insurance.

The training is based on years of negotiation research, analysing everything that the most respected operators in the business do and don't do during their meetings. For example, Huthwaite found that skilled negotiators seek significantly more information during negotiation than their average counterparts. They frequently test their opposite number's understanding of the discussions and verbally summarise progress throughout the meeting. Average negotiators, on the other hand, often deliberately avoid clarifying ambiguous points for fear of disagreement from the other party.

Huthwaite has built a database of over 40,000 separate interactions, observational data that has been applied to dispel many of the widely received myths about what makes for good sales and negotiation skills. Since 1974, thousands of companies and hundreds of thousands of people all over the world have applied the Huthwaite verbal behaviour models in their business lives, with great success.

This Verbal Behaviour Analysis (VBA) has now been used by experts at Sheffield Hallam University's (SHU) Centre for Science Education in a study that begun in 2010 on the development of children's communication skills. The study will help support initiatives that help children to express themselves verbally and listen to others, which can have powerful implications for crucial aspects of their immediate development such as the ability to learn through group work – especially in science, their transfer from primary to secondary education, their self-awareness and future employability.

The study worked with over 70 children in South Yorkshire to address these issues, with researchers saying that it produced interesting results for their confidence and achievement in and out of the classroom.

Later this month, year 6 pupils from Grenoside Primary School in Sheffield, who took part in the VBA project during 2012/13, will put their new-found communication skills to the test in a variety of business based exercises, during which they will take on the role of Huthwaite Apprentices.

Using verbal subtlety and behavioural skill gained from the intensive teaching and learning approaches developed by their teacher, Jenni Monach in association with the SHU project team, pupils will try their hand at effective persuasion exercises, sales simulations and group presentations. It will be a test of their adeptness in applying 11 very specific verbal behavioural categories appropriately, to achieve the best outcomes for all parties.

Tony Hughes, CEO of Huthwaite International and a former teacher in a local school, said: "We see this forthcoming event as a great opportunity to showcase a very positive and collaborative effort, involving many disparate experts, to measurably and immediately improve the life chances of young people at a critical stage in their social and educational development."

Huthwaite International website

Images: Huthwaite International


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