The Sharks are Back: Prime Time Presentation Lessons

shark-tank-logoSeason 5 of the reality show Shark Tank premiered on September 20th. This critically acclaimed business-themed show has the Sharks — tough, self-made, multi-millionaire and billionaire tycoons — once again providing budding entrepreneurs the chance to make their dreams come true with business deals that could make them millions.

So what lessons from these aspiring entrepreneurs can you use in your next high-stakes presentation? Here are two lessons for your consideration.

1) Stay Cool Under Fire.  Josh Brooks, founder of Postcard on the Run,  pitched an easy to use mobile app that allows you to take a photograph from your phone and instantly send it as a printed postcard to anywhere in the world – just snap, tap and send.  Pretty cool, huh?

It got mighty hot in the tank but this guy kept his cool. He knew the issues, was clear in his offering, and sharp enough to match each Sharks rebuttal despite the heat. His ability to stay cool under pressure allowed him to seal the deal with technology innovator Robert Herjavec and walk away with $300K.

The Lesson.  Focus the message on your audience . . . invest the time and energy to find out what you need to do to “move” them to action.  Anyone wanting to pitch to this panel of sharks should be prepared with answers to:

    • What are your sales? (Mr. Wonderful’ s first question)
    • How much money did you make?
    • What does it sell for?
    • What is proprietary about this product?
    • How do I make money with this product?

Knowing your audience interests and areas of concern increases your odds of staying in the game.

2) Know Your Stuff.  I wish I could say that the two physicians from Tucson were just as successful. Watching this segment was like being on a bad first date. Sure, they made a decent first impression with their pitch but everything after that was painful.  What killed their chances of entrepreneurial success in the shark tank? The inability to be clear about their product.

RoloDoc is a supposed social-media network exclusive to the medical community. The problem? Their pitch was focused on e-mail. The social-media angle was introduced after the pitch, which totally confused the sharks. What made it worse is that neither of the brothers were able to articulate a clear description or plan for their product, needless to say, they were eaten alive.

The Lesson.  Two lessons here. . . First, never introduce a new topic at the end of your presentation. Second, you must be able to clearly articulate your message in 1-simple sentence. Test it out on others, see if they repeat it and understand it. If they can’t, you are not ready for prime-time!

Though reality TV doesn’t often resemble actual reality, in the case of “Shark Tank” there are many important takeaways to be had. Consider applying these lessons to boost your confidence, inspire your listeners and exponentially increase your chances for a high-impact presentation.

Related posts:
Swimming with the Sharks: Lessons from Reality TV

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