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Reading List: Perfecting Your Pitch

Whether you’re negotiating a raise, reconciliation or business deal, your success in large part hinges on your ability to calmly yet forcefully articulate your position and anticipate and answer challenges to your argument. The key to handling delicate negotiations is to prepare what you’ll say and practice how you’re going to say it, writes attorney, sports agent and professional negotiator Ronald M. Shapiro in Perfecting Your Pitch. According to Shapiro, co-founder of the Shapiro Negotiations Institute, the most effective approach is three-step scripting: draft (put all your concerns, needs and demands on paper); call in a devil’s advocate (a friend, colleague or mentor who can best help you hone, clarify and streamline your script); and deliver (memorize your lines and practice expressing them aloud). Shapiro presents 40 sample scripts that serve as models for handling business, family and consumer situations, such as asking for a prenup, requesting a budget increase or turning down a job applicant.

While scripting isn’t a new idea, it is a commonsense technique that will boost confidence and improve negotiating skills. The bottom line: unless you’re a master of improv, a seasoned spinmeister or a skilled diplomat, winging it is not a smart option.

by Ronald M. Shapiro with Jeff Barker

November
Hudson Street Press; $25.95

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