Presentation Tips From Shark Tank (1)

Shark Tank logoMy favorite show on TV is Shark Tank. If you haven’t ever seen it – it is a reality TV show where hopeful entrepreneurs pitch their business/product ideas to millionaire and billionaire investors – inviting them to invest in their companies with their own money. These investors include Mark Cuban (Owner of the Dallas Mavericks), Daymond John (Creator of FUBU) and others.

I am an entrepreneur at heart. I love seeing innovative ideas and people who are creating something from scratch. I love the sacrifice and the passion. I love the negotiations and the valuation process of a pitch.

But the thing that I love the most about Shark Tank is what we can learn about giving presentations from the entrepreneur’s presentations.

When I was in High School I competed in an entrepreneurship competition against 10,000 other kids. In the competition we had to conceive of a business, write a business plan and then present it to judges who were acting as venture capitalists, trying to convince them to invest in our business. It was a high school, non-TV version of Shark Tank. Over the course of several months and many pitches to judges – I ended up taking second in the competition.

Then at age 21, I started a business in direct sales with my brother Scott. Over the last 10 years I have presented (pitched) our products and opportunity to tens of thousands of people and we have built a very successful business. (Our business does over $20 million in annual revenue)

So what is my point is sharing this background? I know what it feels like to be in the tank – to give the pitch. And now as the author of The Power of Storytelling, I work with sales professionals, speakers, executives and politicians to help them hone their presentation skills.

There are Seven Presentation Tips From Shark Tank. Over the next seven posts I am going to break them down one by one.

They are:
1. Personalize Your Presentation
2. People Buy You
3. Know Your Numbers
4. Samples Sell
5. Tell A Good Story
6. Be Decisive
7. Make The Complex Simple

The first take-away from Shark Tank is to personalize your presentation. The entrepreneurs who are most successful are the ones who go into the presentation having already done their homework. They have researched the sharks and know specific information that allows them to personalize the presentation to those receiving it. This may sound like a basic concept but it is a common mistake that most presenters make. They don’t do their research before and they don’t tailor their presentation to who is in front of them.

We live in a world of personalization. Think about it. Our world today is customized to individual needs/wants. When you go to Starbucks you can get your coffee anyway that you want it. (I’d like to have a Venti, sugar-free, non-fat, vanilla soy, double shot, decaf, no foam, extra hot, Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha with light whip and extra syrup…Please.”)

Here are a few other things you can customize:
 Your shoes at
 Your car (mustang) at
 Your clothing at
 Your computer at

So do you think a canned presentation is going to move your prospect forward in a customized world?

I would suggest that you take a look at The Mackay 66.
This is a questionnaire that was developed by my good friend Harvey Mackay. Harvey is the bestselling author of Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive.. It is an incredibly thorough questionnaire that is designed for a sales person to learn all they can about the prospect before meeting with them. I don’t think you need to know everything on the Mackay 66 – but it wouldn’t hurt you if you did.

Once you do your research – you are in a position to personalize. When you personalize a presentation you change the wording, approach and examples so that it speaks to your audience. Many of the entrepreneurs on Shark Tank will tie their product or idea to the personal interests of the Sharks or they will reference past investments the Sharks have made and point out the similar opportunities. These little pieces of personalization go a long ways because they show that you did your research, that you want to connect and work with them, and that you aren’t just like everyone else.

Here are 7 Simple Ways You Can Personalize Your Presentation:
1. Change the title of your presentation to fit your audience
2. Use first names of audience members to draw them into the presentation
3. Add the audience name or logo onto your slides
4. Use an example or metaphor that the prospect will relate to
5. Use insider language that shows the audience you speak their language
6. Vividly describe the audience’s problem so they know you understand
7. Reveal the mutual enemy (put yourself as a partner in us vs the world)

Tip #1 from Shark Tank – Personalize Every Presentation.
-Remember, as a presenter – it is all about the audience.


14 Responses

  1. Great read Ty,
    Working at The Living Planet Aquarium in Utah I know a few things about the real “swim in the ocean” Sharks – as well as the 2 legged kind. Your advice is right – remember go for the eye’s, look them right in the eye’s – it really makes a difference between sinking or swimming through a successful interview. Both kind of sharks can smell fear, so the prep work is crucial if you want to live.

  2. Great tips. They are easy to implement and should be elementary for most people to utilize. Well done and well thought out.

  3. Right here is the right blog for anyone who really wants
    to find out about this topic. You know a whole lot its
    almost hard to argue with you (not that I really would want to…HaHa).
    You certainly put a brand new spin on a subject which has been discussed for years.

    Great stuff, just great!

  4. Personalization is definitely on the rise! There has been massive growth from custom apparel sites like TeeSpring, and now Amazon got in on it with Amazon Merch.

    Anything Amazon does – you know it’s been well researched and thought out!

  5. Howdy! I know this is sort of off-topic but I had to ask.
    Does managing a well-established blog like yours require a lot
    of work? I am brand new to writing a blog however I do write in my journal everyday.
    I’d like to start a blog so I will be able to share my personal experience and thoughts
    online. Please let me know if you have any kind
    of suggestions or tips for brand new aspiring blog owners.
    Appreciate it!

    1. Thanks for the comment. I think consistency is the key! Posting consistently and building up your library of posts. Thanks

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