3 Presentation Tips From The Dragons' Den

“Hello Dragons.”  Does that opening line sound familiar?  If you’ve watched the CBC television show Dragons’ Den over the past 10 seasons you’ve heard countless inventors, entrepreneurs and dreamers utter those words. What comes next is the pitch each of them hopes will convince at least one Dragon to invest in their idea or product. But, as many discover, getting a deal is far from easy. The Dragons are tough to impress. They’ve all built enterprises from scratch and they know what it takes to succeed. Tracie Tighe, who has been the show’s executive producer since the start, says the people who make it on air get advice on how to hone their pitches to appeal to the Dragons. But, once the cameras start rolling, what happens next is up to them. 

These three tips from the Den will help you create compelling presentations that will appeal to any audience:

• Tell a great story - You need to have a hook to get and hold people’s interest says Tracie. Presentations that are nothing more than a collection of dry facts and figures and lists of information won’t win the attention of the Dragons -- or any other audience. 

• Spell out the opportunity for the audience - Your proposal will only matter to your listeners if they can see a benefit or advantage in it for themselves. Pitchers in the Den need to convince the Dragons their idea can make money. Know what represents an opportunity to your audience. Then say it it clearly in your presentation.

• Understand that it ain’t over till it’s over - How you answer questions is as important as your formal presentation. More than one Dragon has withdrawn a deal during the Q&A. Anticipate likely questions and be prepared to respond with confidence. Pay special attention to how you deal with points that could be seen as weaknesses or risks. They don’t have to be deal breakers if you can put them in the right light. Pure “good news” stories are rare. 

Auditions are underway across Canada until April 6 for the 11th season of The Dragons' Den. See details here.