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Book Summary & Review: Perfecting Your Pitch By Ronald M. Shapiro

Book Summary & Review: Perfecting Your Pitch By Ronald M. Shapiro

pasadena public library perfecting your pitch ronald shapiro

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

My Review = Read it!

Ronald M. Shapiro is a negotiation expert, attorney, sports agent, educator, New York Times best selling author, and a civic leader. Known as the “win-win” negotiator, he’s negotiated well over $1 billion in contracts across many different industries. Including: professional baseball, the Symphony Orchestra, Fortune 500 companies, and the US government. In his 2013 book, “Perfecting Your Pitch”, Shapiro argues that the key to his negotiation success is actually quite simple: scripting.

Scripting negotiations, he explains in his book, is an effective way to get what you want (in business or personal life) while maintaining positive relationships. And it consists of the “three D’s”:

  • Drafting
  • Devil’s advocate
  • Delivery

While a straight forward enough idea, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s done often… or well. Despite knowing the benefits, people often make excuses along the lines of “yeah, yeah, I know”… and opt to just wing it instead. And when this happens, as he comedically illustrates in a speech he gave a few years back, it can result in some pretty ugly negotiations (watch the video):

Ronald M. Shapiro, “How to Negotiate so Everyone Wins, Especially You!”, Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Shapiro dedicates dozens of chapters in “Perfecting Your Pitch” to specific types of negotiation scenarios and conversational script examples – ranging from work promotions and budget requests… to prenuptial agreements and nudging adult children out of the nest (and everything in between). For the purpose of this post, I’ll stick with a high-level overview of what this scripting thing is all about – and encourage you to pick up the book if you find this information helpful.

Scripting Process Stage 1: Drafting

The process of drafting kills two birds with one stone. One, it provides an outlet to vent and collect/polish one’s thoughts without taking premature action. And two, it helps the person confidently find the right message to deliver. The final draft evolves from this starting block.

“Drafting is a vehicle for stating any and all thoughts for your message without regard to whether you ultimately use all of them. It can be a good safety valve for bottled up emotions.”

Ronald M. Shapiro, “Perfecting Your Pitch” (2013)

Scripting Process Stage 2: The Devils Advocate Stage

In the Maur negotiations, Shapiro served as Michael’s ‘devil’s advocate’ – marking up the athlete’s first draft of the Twins’ counter offer. While editing, Shapiro focused on changing the phrasing of sentences to make claims more factual rather than simply personal opinions.

“Devil’s advocacy can be an ongoing process; more than one redraft may be developed during this second stage.”

Ronald M. Shapiro, “Perfecting Your Pitch” (2013)

Scripting Process Stage 3: Delivery

Helps you avoid uncomfortably delivering the hard “ask” by familiarizing yourself with the script. This includes rehearsing, preparing for potential interruptions, and confidence in what and how you say things. If the negotiation is being done over the phone, having your fully written script, or note cards can be hugely beneficial. However, when negotiations are done in person, it’s all the more important to practice delivery – as there can be a perceived lack of confidence if you’re holding notes. Shapiro recommends recruiting someone to challenge you in a mock negotiation so that you can stay cool and clam if/when it happens during the real negotiation. Often, it can make sense to use the same person that was your devils advocate to be the one that challenges you during your mock delivery.

Practice the script to build confidence and reduce apprehension.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line? I would recommend this book for any business professional who is looking to improve the clarity and persuasiveness of their arguments (or “ask”).

“We are conditioned to feel that we live in a world where negotiation is conflict. When we have each side wanting to win and wanting the other side to lose, what traditionally happens? Win-Lose can become Lose-Lose. It’s difficult for me to deal with that.

I decided I wanted to build bridges, not burn them. I wanted to build relationships, not lose them. In order to get what you want, help them get what they want. Everyone can be an effective negotiator. It takes dedication, it takes commitment, it takes discipline, and it takes a systematic approach.”

Ronald M. Shapiro (source)

Note: no copyright infringement is intended with any of the quotes, photos, images, etc used in my blog article. My purpose for using these items is purely for factual commentary on a published work (i.e., fair use).

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