Verbal Behaviour Analysis

What is VBA?

Verbal Behaviour Analysis is a method of measuring the things that people say to each other in a given situation. The main purpose of this measurement is to address a common dilemma for people trying to develop skills – how to obtain helpful feedback.

Measurement and feedback

By doing something repeatedly and modifying one’s action in response to reliable feedback, skill improves. This works fine when the feedback involves hard-and-fast outcomes that cannot be disputed. In less precise contexts, such as many forms of communication, it is harder to receive (or offer) feedback that is accurate, objective and usable.Verbal Behaviour Analysis (VBA) is a way of bridging this gap.

Measuring verbal behaviour

Every human being is enormously skilled at carrying out the normal functions of being a person in a complex social world. Many of us are completely unaware of how skilled we are and, more importantly for training purposes, we are very often unaware of exactly how we go about doing what we are so good at.

If we want to find out how a skilled performer goes about being skilled, then we need to measure what is going on. When it comes to measuring physical activity, there are many various techniques for analysing and identifying the ideal golf swing or the ‘knack’ of a tricky industrial task. Many industrial skills are analysed in this way to make it easy for learners to practise the best method right from the start. But how can this be done for skills like negotiating or selling when there is no physical activity occurring?

What is VBA in context?

VBA is a method of putting things that people say into categories. Exactly what the categories are depends to a large extent on what is being measured. The categories could be very simple such as ‘Asking Questions’ or ‘Giving Information’.

To find our more download What is VBA and how is it used?

Keep up-to-date with Huthwaite International's latest research on Twitter using #HuthwaiteResearch.