Persuasion Tips for the Perfect Dragons Den Pitch
Dragons Den is one of the most popular business shows on BBC TV (In the US it’s called Shark Tank). How would you fare against them? If you want to know the secret to persuading them to invest in your business idea, you need to employ 3 magic persuasion words in your presentation.
These three words have been used by public speakers and presenters for over 2,000 years to persuade audiences, voters and consumers in a million different ways.
Ethos (Expertise and Honesty)
Any old joker off the street can stand up and talk. Just because you’re standing on a stage or at the front of the room doesn’t mean you’re an expert. Establish your expertise. By displaying your knowledge, experience or proven track record in your field, your credibility is demonstrated to your presentation’s audience. Just as important as expert knowledge is your moral competence. Anyone who’s watched Dragons Den knows that at the slightest hint of dishonesty or lack of complete openness, the investors are likely to become enraged.
Logos (Reasoned Discourse)
Reasoned discourse is the basis of all persuasion. It’s no good being passionate and charismatic if what you say doesn’t make sense. We’ve all met those people – and edged away from them too. If all you have to persuade people is emotion and volume, it won’t be enough. Alternatively, if you make good use of logic and reasoned argument you have one of the greatest tools for persuasion known to humans in your hands. Statistics, research data and making sure you have your numbers right are essential here.
Pathos (Emotion and Passion)
If you have made use of Ethos and Logos properly, what remains to complete your approach is to appeal to the emotions. We’ve all been subjected to sales pitches that seem to go on forever. The salesman drones at us about all the features of his new widget. Or the speaker tries to bore us to death with his monotonous drivel. If we ever cared about what he is saying, he’s killed our interest now. Avoid this trap by getting your audience on your side. Tell the Dragons your story. If you are a single parent who has developed a unique product that makes life easier for parents, let your audience know. A passionate and heartfelt approach can convey more information than logic alone and is infinitely more charismatic. The Dragons have often been heard to say “I can’t invest in this product, but I could invest in you. Come back with another idea.”
The Next Step
These three words are the basis of Aristotle’s Art of Rhetoric which dates from the 4th Century BC. In it, he sets out his rules of persuasion through speech and it has been the inspiration for persuasive speakers ever since.
In the Den, successful applicants never forget to close the deal by inviting the Dragons to take action. I’d like you to take action now by using all three elements of persuasion in your very next pitch. Don’t leave it to chance though. Remember the speaker’s 3 best tips: practice, practice, practise.