The perfect pitch: tips from Dragons Den

I’ve just watched “The Dragons Guide to Pitching and Presentation: How to Win in The Den”. Just thought I’d quickly write down the tips that were featured in the show. You never know when this info will come in handy, especially as it can be applied to all forms of public speaking.

1 – Make an impression

You only have one chance to make a first impression. Get their attention. Get them excited. Don’t overdo it though. It’s easy to be more style than substance if you’re not careful.

2 -Rehearse

This one is a no-brainer. We’ve all seen people dry up in excruciatingly embarrassing style on Dragons Den. So to make sure it’s not you next time – practice, practice, practice. Rehearse in front of a group. Know your figures inside out, and if you’re demonstrating a product make sure that nothing can go wrong. Prepare for every eventuality. Then take a sip of water, stand up straight, take a deep breath and begin.

3 – Don’t Offend Your Audience

Be polite. Listen to feedback. Don’t be over-confident (i.e. arrogant). Don’t offer business lessons to people who are clearly more successful than you are.

4 – Be Passionate

If you don’t believe in your product then it’s unlikely the person you’re pitching to will believe in it either. But it’s a tricky one to get right. Over-enthusiasm can result in putting off your audience and make them think you can’t separate what’s going on in your head and heart.

5 – Be honest and credible

Don’t try to be something you’re not. Don’t oversell. Be direct. Be honest. Don’t lie, don’t embellish, and don’t wing it. They’ll know. Your future investor must be able to believe in you, and trust you. The second they suspect you’re not being honest with them the deal is off.

So, if you have a solid business plan, and present yourself with these 5 tips in mind, you’re sure to make a good impression at your next pitch.

The perfect pitch?

Wondering which pitch the Dragons considered to be the best? It’s this pitch from Kirsty Henshaw of Worthenshaws Ice Cream.

Finally, I’ve written about how your “good idea” is a very different thing to a “good business”, and also how to go through a simple process to validate your business idea in such a way that you remove a LOT of the risk of launching.

7 responses to “The perfect pitch: tips from Dragons Den”

  1. “Over-enthusiasm can result in putting off your audience and make them think you can’t separate what’s going on in your head and heart.”

    Should you really separate what’s going on in your head and your heart? Or is it just generally accepted traditional business practice? 🙂

  2. Hi,

    I have to write and speak a Dragon’s Den style pitch for an assesment, and I was wondering if you had any tips on the best way I could remember this off by heart, and also how I can write 10 solid minutes worth of material…


    • I’m afraid I’m no expert on public speaking. But what I can say is that you probably only need to write 7-8 mins worth, as it always takes longer on the day (as long as you remember to breathe and not rush through it!).

      When you rehearse it (and you’ll need to rehearse it lots) start with the full thing written down, and then slowly start to simplify your notes so that by the end you just need one or two words to remind yourself of a particular point or paragraph. You should end up with something that can be written on a small piece of paper that fits in the palm of your hand.

      If you can’t get away with that list, then create a story out of that list of words: I’ve always found this technique very useful.

      Good luck!

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