Shapiro urges to stop winging it and start scripting

Posted: January 9, 2014

New York Times best-selling author and former sports agent Ron Shapiro discussed Thursday morning how to use scripting to be successful at everything from fundraising and salary negotiations to getting reimbursed for wedding dress woes.

“You are all accomplished people; you are successful people,” Shapiro said to an audience of Greater Baltimore Committee members and guests at the Grand Historic Venue during the first installment of the GBC’s 2014 Speaker Series.

Shapiro’s formula for even greater personal and professional success is to stop winging it and start incorporating scripting into negotiations. Writing exactly what you want to say before presentations or discussions “keeps you from jumping around,” and helps prevent moments of “why did I say that?,” he says.

Shapiro emphasized the importance of really thinking about what you want to say before posting to social media – something that PR executive Justine Sacco did not do when she tweeted Dec. 20: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white.” She received a massive amount of negative feedback, including being fired. Shapiro gave the example to show the power of ill-thought-out comments.

Shapiro’s method of scripting what you want to say before important discussions can be applied to business negotiations such as presenting an argument for a raise (always ask for more than you really want) as well as issues affecting your personal life. He used his assistant and niece, Kim, as an example for using scripting to successfully get reimbursed for multiple screw-ups in getting her wedding dress (after being sent the wrong design and wrong size and other frustrations).

Shapiro, a sports agent-attorney, has represented athletic standouts Cal Ripkin, Jr., Jim Palmer, Brooks Robinson, Kirby Pucket and Eddie Murray, among others. He is also a special advisor to the Baltimore Ravens, and author of several best-selling books, including “The Power of Nice: How To Negotiate So Everyone Wins – Especially You!,” Bullies, Tyrants & Impossible People: How To Beat Them Without Joining Them” and “Dare to Prepare: How To Win Before You Begin.” Tactics from his latest book, “Perfecting Your Pitch: How To Succeed in Business and in Life By Finding Words That Work” were the focus of Thursday’s presentation.

The “Three D’s” of Shapiro’s scripting process are:

  1. DRAFT – Initially script all thoughts supporting your message, without regard to whether you ultimately use all of them.
  2. DEVILS ADVOCATE – All of us can improve how we do things by having others review and provide input. “Two heads are better than one.”
  3. DELIVER – You must become comfortable with your script to make confident delivery.  Be open to be deal coached.

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