Getting the Most Out of Your Annual Sales Meetings

Jeff Cochran


The good news is that these days, thanks to modern meeting-based software tools and technology, the amount of people suffering from PowerPoint overdose has significantly decreased. In fact, getting the most out of your annual sales meeting can be both fun and less of a headache.

In this article we’re going to look at tips you can use to transform critical annual sales meetings into powerful allies against the hyper competitive and fast-paced marketplace. It’s about keeping attention, giving crucial updates to your sales team, directing focus, priming the wheels for the year to come and inspiring better performance. Let’s get to it.

Tip #1: Condense & Consolidate

It’s literally impossible to keep the human mind engaged at a certain peak level for long. Ask any college professor. Furthermore, the surface intellect can only take in so much information at once before complete loss of focus. Don’t try to stuff every little bit of information in.

  • Cherry-pick the most important, the most relevant and the most inspiring information for the audience.
  • To keep the momentum going make sure you aren’t repeating the same information over and over again. All that does is waste time and attention spans!
  • Stick to the point. Stay on topic. Listen to your guy and when the room begins to get heavy, lighten things up by moving forward.

Stay aware of the clock, but don’t get caught looking at it. If this is your first rodeo, keep a watch somewhere that you can see it but no one else can. As long as you continue to advance the conversation and progress in a timely manner, you’ll get solid results.

Tip #2: Employ Unexpected Formats

There’s really no reason to dim the lights and give a generic PowerPoint presentation anymore. This is the age of virtual meetings and unprecedented conference room software. There are applications around like for example, iMeet, that can add some interaction. In reality the sky is the limit.

  • If you’re going to incorporate some video, that’s great but don’t choose something dry. What’s wrong with a little music?
  • Bring in a guest speaker via Skype, include social media aspects (LinkedIn posts), layer in some audio and employ software that adds contemporary spice to an old business tradition.
  • Remember that the more senses you ask your audience to use, the more into the experience they’ll be. And, the longer the impression afterwards will last. What you’re saying really matters!

Tip #3: Personalize the Presentations

Engage your sales team on a personal level without letting things go too far. Make sure to provide time, or intermingle it throughout the presentation, where they’re voices and opinions can be heard and discussed. A more organic dynamic can go a long ways to getting to the real nitty gritty.

  • When you present numbers, don’t deliver them as cold data. That’s hard work in action. That’s blood, sweat and tears. Involve the folks that those numbers represent. They’ll pay far better attention that way.
  • Getting feedback is a way to personalize presentations and turn hard facts into interesting conversations that can really bring out the best.
  • No one likes an informal info-dump, so personalize it and watch how much more fulfilling it will be for everyone involved.

Perfecting Your Pitch Press Release

Jeff Cochran


 Shapiro Negotiations Institute Announces Founder

Ron Shapiro’s New Book, Perfecting Your Pitch,
Written to Help Readers Prepare for Life’s Challenging Conversations
Expert Negotiator, Sports Agent and New York Times Best-Selling Author Shapiro Releases Perfecting Your Pitch: How to Succeed in Business and in Life by Finding Words That Work


Baltimore, Md., Nov. 19, 2013 – Today, Shapiro Negotiations Institute (SNI), a premier global performance improvement firm, announced the release of founder Ron Shapiro’s new book, Perfecting Your Pitch: How to Succeed in Business and in Life by Finding Words That Work. Shapiro, best known for his representation of more Major League Baseball Hall of Fame players than any other agent, focuses on how to tackle difficult conversations head on in his latest work.

Shapiro is the co-founder of SNI, which has trained over 350,000 people in sales, negotiation and influencing skills. His techniques have helped resolve a national symphony orchestra strike, facilitate solutions to human relations problems, and reconcile disputes in the government and corporate worlds.

“We’ve all found ourselves in delicate situations – perhaps an important conversation with a spouse, customer or boss … Days later, we might imagine the salient points we wish we had made if we’d planned ahead,” Shapiro writes in Perfecting Your Pitch.

Perfecting Your Pitch offers 40 model scripts to help readers make a budget request, interview for a job, end a relationship, or talk to children about divorce. Using real-life examples, Shapiro walks readers step-by-step through the crucial, but simple, process of creating effective messages. This systematic approach to difficult conversations reduces stress and helps overcome fears to dramatically increase the chances of effectively achieving desired results.

New York Times best-selling authors Daniel Pink and Adam Grant, NBC Anchor-at-Large Ann Curry, head coach of the SuperBowl XLVII Champion Baltimore Ravens, John Harbaugh, and T. Rowe Price Chairman Brian C. Rogers have, among others, provided endorsements for Shapiro’s latest title, which follows his three previous books, The Power of Nice: How to Negotiate So Everyone Wins – Especially You!; Dare to Prepare: How to Win Before You Begin;and Bullies, Tyrants, and Impossible People: How to Beat Them Without Joining Them.

Perfecting Your Pitch covers a staggering array of life situations, from salary negotiations to personal relationships, in which a wrong word or an inept phrase could mean the difference between success and failure,” says Daniel H. Pink, author of To Sell Is Human and Drive. “Sometimes you only get one chance to ask for what you want or express how you feel – and this book is the perfect guide to help you make the most of those opportunities.”

To learn more or to purchase Perfecting Your Pitch, visit The book is available now in print and ebook formats from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


About Shapiro Negotiations Institute

Shapiro Negotiations Institute is a premier global performance improvement firm focused on sales, negotiation and influencing. The focus of SNI is on maximizing its clients’ ability to create mutually beneficial and profitable long-term relationships with peers, vendors and customers, both internal and external to the organization. SNI’s success is built on helping professionals at all levels use a systematic approach to get more accomplished, faster and with a higher degree of effectiveness. By taking years of lessons learned in real-life situations, SNI digs into specific industry and client challenges so that its tools and techniques can be used immediately and repeated with precision. Follow SNI on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook or learn more at

WBAL Interview With Ron Shapiro

Jeff Cochran


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Yesterday, Ron Shapiro was interviewed by WBAL radio about his upcoming book: Perfecting Your Pitch: How To Succeed In Business And In Life.

To listen to the interview and read more from WBAL click: here

Goal Setting: A Defining Factor in “Smart People”

Jeff Cochran


This post is part of a series on “The Surprising Habits of the World’s Smartest People.”

If you asked a random person on the street to name a few famous geniuses, there would be many common answers. Mozart, Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Steve Jobs and Beethoven are all incredibly common answers. Although experts define true “genius” as having an IQ score greater than 140 (the average score is 100), researchers have discovered that geniuses share many traits, good and bad.

We will be examining the surprising traits of the world’s most prolific geniuses. From the fact that most geniuses are night owls, to the fact that geniuses tend to be avid readers, we intend to explore the habits that set geniuses up for success.

Goal Setting Enables Success

Our first “genius trait” is the fact that most geniuses experience success because they set concrete goals. Experts have known for years that setting concrete goals is one of the best things you can do to set yourself up for success. However, very few people realize that how you set your goal is just as important as what your goal is.

Consider this:

Researchers gave a group of students four weeks to set a goal – any goal they wanted – so long as they set the goal in one of three ways:

  1. In their head (unwritten goal)
  2. By writing it down on a calendar or in a notebook
  3. By sharing their goal with friends

At the end of the month, the researchers met with the students again and discovered that 43 percent of the first group (in their heads only) met their goals. 64 percent of the second group (written down) achieved what they wanted. 76 percent of the students who shared their goals with friends had met or exceeded their goal and the end of the four-week timeframe.

The genius lesson here is pretty simple. If you set goals and share them with your friends you are likely to succeed.

The Takeaway

Geniuses know that, no matter how grand your goals are, you need support from friends and colleagues to make things happen. The next time you have a great goal or a big idea; try writing it down or sharing it with your friends. The more people who know about your goal, the more support you will have as you work to meet it.


Start Your Workday off Right with These 5 Steps

Jeff Cochran


Every office has one: a morning person who skips into the office to begin their day with a grin and a loud greeting. Bypassing the coffee pot entirely, the morning person sits down to plow through the tasks in front of them, cheerily attempting conversation with their fellow officemates. If it seems like they are getting more done than anybody else, it is because they are. However, Super-Productive Suzy may not actually be “a morning person.”

In fact, very few people actually enjoy mornings. Instead, successful morning work is a result of a solid routine and not a genetic anomaly. Subsequently, even morning haters can get their workday started on the right foot if they commit themselves to five easy steps.

1. Exercise before work.

Experts have been telling us for years that it is best to exercise in the morning. Still, people are reluctant to sacrifice their last moments of sleep in favor of going on a run. However, there are a number of reasons for why you should exercise in the morning before work. First, early exercise revs up your metabolism, which means that you will have more energy throughout the day. Second, crossing exercise off of your to do list before you “officially” start your day means that you will head into work with a deep sense of accomplishment.

2. Plan your day.

The most successful people spend the first hour of each workday planning their workdays. When you first get to the office, clear off your desk and get to work on planning the flow of your day. This includes making a detailed list of everything that you need to accomplish.

3. Connect with others.

Many people have a tendency to rush straight to their desks without even acknowledging the people around them. Instead, you should take the morning as a valuable opportunity to connect with your colleagues. Smile, say hello and ask them how they are. The morning is also a great time to check in with people who may need your time later in the day.

4. Ignore your email.

It sounds completely counterintuitive, but the most successful people ignore their email for the first part of the morning. If you rush into checking and answering email, you will miss a valuable opportunity to make a prioritized plan for your day. Instead of spending your first hours at work searching through your inbox, do a quick perusal and respond to only the most important. Later on, when you have more time, you can answer the less-important emails.

5. Plan a break.

Successful people know that they should always plan a midmorning break. This serves two purposes. First, it gives you a set deadline by which you should have all of your morning work completed. Second, a midmorning break serves as a great reward for powering through your morning to-do list.



Prepare With Role-Playing

Jeff Cochran


“A winning effort begins with preparation.” – Joe Gibbs

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” – Alexander Graham Bell

“I’m a big believer in the fact that life is about preparation, preparation, preparation.” – Johnnie Cochran

“One important key to success is self-confidence.  An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” – Arthur Ashe

Take any of the above quotes (or the countless others about preparation) and they boil down to one thing.  Preparation leads to success. In negotiation, preparation can be the difference between getting the deal you want and walking out of the room with regrets. It is the only aspect of a negotiation that is in your full control.

There are lots of ways to prepare, but one great way is to use role-play.  Find a friend or acquaintance that can take the other side.  Let them play devil’s advocate and see how the negotiation may play out.  Do it a couple times to build confidence in your position and delivery as well as thinking through what the other side may say.