Presentations: What I Learned from a Shark

What I Learned from a Shark

Don’t miss key body language signals when making a presentation.

Flipping on the TV, I’m hooked. One of the ‘sharks’ from Shark Tank is giving a couple of entrepreneurs a lesson in presentation.  I’m watching intently as the ‘shark’ informs these entrepreneurs pitching their business – that their attention is being directed in the wrong place. While most of the investors are already ‘out,’ and aren’t interested in investing in this couples’ business, the couple is ignoring the one who clearly wanted to put his money into their business. And guess what? He calls them out on it!

Read the signals

He asks them point blank why they literally are facing away from him? Why are they trying  to engage with the other ‘sharks’ who have no interest in their idea? Their attention, their body language, their eye contact — all are being turned towards the wrong people. If you have someone interested in investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in your business, wouldn’t you make your pitch to them directly? That means making eye contact, directing your questions to that person, and orienting your body towards him or her? The couple misread their audience and its’ body language.

Be aware of your body language

Many times, we only have one chance to nail a presentation, or make our pitch to a company that could impact the profitability of our business. It comes down to paying attention to those non-verbal signals. Who is the real decision maker in the room? And are you reading the body language and non-verbal signals correctly? Engage with this person, and give them your attention. Don’t outright ignore them!

No deal

In the end, the couple and the ‘shark’ didn’t reach an agreement. He had the money. They had the need. It appeared they lost him (and his money) when they actively spoke to the other investors. And the couple acted defensive for being called out when they ignored his interest..

What I learned from this ‘shark?’ It pays (sometimes literally) to pay attention to the body language of your audience when making a pitch or presentation. When I work with clients, they learn what body language to look for, as well as what THEIR body language is communicating to their audience.

What’s your experience? As always, I love to hear your feedback.



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