Persuasive Presentation

3 Pitching Lessons from Shark Tank

School holidays are great. I get to spend more time with the kids and the after school activities wind down. As a result I was able to sit down and enjoy Shark Tank this week. It’s fascinating to see the different styles of pitch that the business owners deliver in the hope of securing an investment from one of the sharks.

In this weeks episode there were some really stark and key lessons that will help you deliver a persuasive presentation!


Persuasive presentation is personal and it makes a connection

There were two contrasting pitches that highlighted the value of this. The first pitch of the night was from a former Masterchef contestant. Heather Day is a South Australian entrepreneur and she was looking to get a Shark to invest in her butter company. She shared her personal story and made a tangible personal connection with the sharks. Whilst, they didn’t find her business appealing from an investment perspective the sharks did find that Heather was “investible”. As a result she got the money.


Contrasting this was Warren, a West Australian fishing enthusiast. He did not share any personal background to create a strong connection.  Then he managed to alienate half of the sharks by making special mention of “fisherwoman”. I think he was trying to avoid any chance of being called sexist by only mentioning “fisherman”. Unfortunately by highlighting the term fisherwoman he brought unwanted attention on the term. The two female sharks on the panel focussed on the implied sexism immediately. This flustered Warren, he assumed the sharks knew everything about fishing. His ability to communicate the uniqueness of his fishing product and the benefits he provides was completely eroded.


None of the sharks were sure if it was a female only fishing product, what it did, and why it was unique. Warren left the shark tank with no investment and the tag of worst pitch seen in the tank!


An effective and  persuasive presentation needs to be personal!

Know your Audience to deliver a persuasive presentation

To succeed with any presentation you need to know your audience. The better you know the people you are looking to persuade the greater your chances of success. This requires you to do some homework to find out their background and what motivates the key audiences members. But in the case of one entrepreneur is can result in a $2.5 million pay off!

Kane Bodium runs iCapsulate and was looking for the largest investment in Shark Tank history. A whopping $2.5 million dollar investment! He studied the Sharks, understood their backgrounds and what information they need to hear that will enable them to make the choice Kane wanted them to make.

The result – a huge investment into his company and a shark, Andrew Banks, with connections into America and one of the worlds most successful coffee companies, Vittoria. A powerful result!


How well do you know the people you’re trying to influence? If you don’t know your audience you can’t deliver a persuasive presentation.


Know your Numbers (and make them interesting) to deliver a persuasive presentation

Numbers are crucial in the business world. People buy based on emotion (which is why it is so important to make it personal). However they need to reinforce their emotional decisions with logic. You’ve got to supply the information required to support their decision.


In last nights episode of Shark Tank Kane was able to confidently share his current sales and production numbers without hesitation. He had practised and it paid off handsomely. He also had the numbers to support his grand vision that got the sharks excited to invest $2.5 million.


Heather May, the former Masterchef contestant almost cost herself an investment. She was hesitant with her numbers, she struggled to articulate how many butter tubs she currently produces and how many she’ll produce in the three years. The hesitation caused the sharks to question how accurate her figures were. The future projections she shared did not align to her vision for the future –they were not big enough to get an investor excited.


When you pitch your ideas you need to know your numbers and be able to confidently say them when the time comes. But, you also need to ensure that the numbers (and logic) aligns to the emotional vision that you’re asking your audience to invest into.



Whether you are looking for someone to invest $2.5 million or simply buy a $200 program the principles remain identical. To prepare and deliver a persuasive presentation you must make a connection, you’ve got to know you’re audience and what motivates them, and importantly you must confidently share the numbers to support the emotional investment you want them to make.

About The Author

Mark Kyte

Mark Kyte is a public speaking mentor and founder of the Public Speaking Skills Academy. Mark loves helping clients achieve dynamic results that help them increase their influence and get more clients. Read more of his blog and if you like what you see check out the mentoring programs.