Press release, June 24 2013.

Today saw a major South Yorkshire company, a local primary school, a university, and a charitable foundation coming together to make a major contribution to the development of vital skills for young people.

Pupils from Grenoside Primary School have been taking part in the project since 2012 to apply the communication skills that Huthwaite International uses to train its business clients around the world, to their school and social lives. The technique is called Verbal Behaviour Analysis (VBA) and centres on understanding and applying the right words at the right time and in the right circumstances. Today, in a specially organised event at Huthwaite International’s Yorkshire headquarters (Hoober House, near Wentworth) the two-time Queen’s Award winning company gave its offices and its consulting staff over to the Year 6 students.

The purpose of the day was for the pupils, whose school teachers have previously already been trained by Huthwaite to teach them VBA, to put those skills into action alongside the real experts – Huthwaite’s own consultants.

11 year-old Alice Marsden summed up the day. “It was amazing. It really taught me stuff I hadn’t thought about before and I feel much more confident now about the way I persuade others, talk to people and listen properly to what they have to say.

Huthwaite managing director Tony Hughes (who was himself once a teacher in a local school) explains: “Throughout an exhausting day they’ve been trying their hand at the kind of effective persuasion exercises, sales simulations and negotiations that we usually run with senior executives at multinational companies – and they’ve done very well at it. Better verbal communication, persuasiveness, confidence and listening are all going to become very important skills as these children progress through senior school and out into the adult world. I’ve been very impressed by what they can do.

Grenoside teacher, Jenni Monach, has been working with Dr Lynne Bianchi, the Principal Research Fellow at The Centre of Science Education at Sheffield Hallam University, to introduce these skills to the pupils for a couple of years in a project to study the impact they can make in a wide range of areas such as the ability to learn through group work – especially in science, transfer from primary to secondary education, selfawareness and future employability. Jenni Monach said the project was “certain to make all the children involved better equipped for senior school and later life.

The pupils were mentored through the day by experienced Huthwaite consultants, enjoyed the run of historic Hoober House where Huthwaite is based, and went on a specially arranged tour of local attraction Wentworth Woodhouse, the largest stately home in England.

The winner of the Smart Talk Behaviours contest was Jessica Bailey, 11, who said: “It’s not as easy as it looks, but we’ve learned a lot, and have really enjoyed the new experience of going into a business office for the first time and seeing what goes on there.

Funding for this landmark initiative has been coordinated by Dr Bianchi, also supported by The Comino Foundation and the AstraZeneca Science Teaching Trust.

A study by Sheffield Hallam University’s Centre for Science Education, begun in 2010, has used Huthwaite International’s unique research data into Verbal Behaviour Analysis (VBA) to work with over 70 primary and secondary children in South Yorkshire to address these issues, with interesting results for their confidence and achievement in and out of the classroom.

Huthwaite International’s ground-breaking observational research into the verbal behaviours that the best people use in commercial settings goes back to the foundation of the company 40 years ago. It 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 skill. Since 1974, thousands of companies and hundreds of thousands of people all over the world have applied the verbal behaviour models in their business lives, with great success.

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