What You Really Can Learn From Reality TV

Reality shows are fun to watch but they also offer an opportunity for you to improve your own presentation skills by watching how contestants perform during one of the most important moments of their lives.Shark Tank

In our last post, we discussed how to sharpen your presentation skills if you want to audition for popular reality shows. But you don’t have to become a contestant to get real-life business lessons from two reality shows that are designed for entertainment value.

They Will Make You Better

Shark Tank and The Pitch are two excellent examples of shows that you can watch to improve your own presentation skills or use as a training tool in your office. It’s easy to view one of the multiple episodes posted on the shows’ official sites.

In The Pitch, two agencies compete in a presentation to win a new client by going head-to-head in a cut-throat, winner-takes-all showdown.

In The Shark Tank, budding entrepreneurs present their business plans to a panel of  “filthy rich” (as the program calls them) investors who decide if they want to invest their money and partner with the entrepreneurs – or walk away from the deal.

Watch With Your Colleagues

Consider holding brown-bag training sessions during lunch hour and have a spirited debate about whether you agree with the judges about how well the supplicants presented their case.

As most of our readers are business executives, we’ll use the Shark Tank to demonstrate how you can hone your own presentation skills.

The contestants get to make a short presentation/pitch to ask for what they need to take their business to the next level. Each episode of Shark Tank has two to four different entrepreneur contestants pitching for dollars and expert help.

Do You Agree With the Sharks?

Now you get to be the judge . . . of the contestants’ presentation skills. Before watching the video samples below, take a few seconds to open the PDF file of our Individual Profile at this link. It is a checklist that you can use to judge for yourself how the contestants performed. Your observations on each contestant’s presentation will help you become a better presenter.

What to Look For

As a reminder, this is what you should be looking for. Did the contestants:

  • Open with a “grabber” that distinguished them from the competition?
  • Make their point of view on the topic clear?
  • Use appropriate examples and evidence to sell their ideas?
  • State clearly how the information they presented will benefit the investors?
  • Connect with the judges on an emotional level?
  • Persuade the judges to invest in their companies?

Bubbly Blondie

In this first video, the CEO of Blondie’s Cookies delivers a polished and enthusiastic presentation to persuade investors to invest $200,000 for 3% equity in her company.

Using our checklist, or your own, how did you like Blondie’s presentation? Did she forcefully communicate her key messages, and was she skillful when answering the judges’ questions? Did she smile and use gestures appropriately in presenting the relevant facts and evidence to help her to make the sale? Did she prepare for the obvious downside for a potential investor and was she even prepared to deal with related questions?

In this second video, you’ll see what the judges decided.

Clearly, Blondie blundered. But what could she have done differently to improve her presentation? Review the checklist you just completed and you’ll no doubt see where she faltered.

Not Just a Kiss

In this next video, the two founders of KissTixx lip balm had the investors laughing while real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran and investor Kevin O’Leary applied the product and kissed each other to feel the tingle. The entrepreneurs requested $200,000 for a 20% equity investment.

Once again, judge how well the two entrepreneurs presented their case. Then watch the next video to learn if they got the money and deal they wanted.

Dallas and Mike made the sale when they whipped out the most important piece of evidence the investors wanted to see: an actual contract from Walgreen’s to carry their line of lip balm. If you’re interested in checking out more shows, go to Reality TV World for a comprehensive list.

Based on the presentations you just watched, leave us a comment below about what you learned to help you make more compelling presentations.

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