SHARK TANK (The Improv Version)

If you are looking for an improv game to really build your self-confidence, your awareness of a wise investment and help you think on your feet this IS the game. It’s just is a lot of fun!  When rolling we often play several rounds of this game, or games like it. Think of the nature of the “Shark Tank” as a reverse “20 Questions” you played as a kid and combine this with the show Shark Tank and you may get close to the experience of playing this action-packed improv game.  Like in most improv games the rules are fairly simple. But in this simple comes many, many wonderful transferable business skills.

To play:
We send one of you out of the room, you become the “Guesser”. We then confer with the students to imagine a line of products or services that will be presented to the “Sharks”. You, the sharks, must then endow yourself with the idea that you are in a unique position to potentially invest, with your own capital, into this business while as an improv player you are providing the guesser with subtle clues as to what the product or service actually is. The guesser must try and guess what it is they are pitching to the sharks while trying to make it sound like a solid investment.

In other words, the guesser must come in a pitch to a room os highly knowledge investors a product or service of which they have no idea what it is. You can expect some missteps in learning to play this game and really these kinds of games. The players learn how to become investors and how to become confident pitchers. It makes the guesser think positive, and be ready for anything.

It’s important to keep the vibe of the room positive. Do this by making sure the investors want to learn, they want to invest and they see value in the product or service, they are generally excited about it. Be sure to keep it grounded by asking some important questions usually found in any business plan. Below is a list of bare-bones questions asked by the sharks:

  • Why did you pick that product name?
  • Are you a product or a service company?
  • How does your product work?
  • What makes your product unique?
  • What else comes with your product?
  • Why are you different than your competition?
  • Why are you better?
  • Can anybody else do what you do?
  • Is there a lot of competition?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What makes you think consumers want this product?
  • How big is your team?
  • How do you plan on advertising your product?
  • Where do you plan to sell your product?
  • Are you working on your business idea full time?
  • What is your background?
  • Why did you get into this business?
  • How did you come up with your idea?
  • Who designed your product?
  • How do you make your living now?
  • Are there any samples you can show us?
  • Why should I care about your product?

To the players playing the sharks, it’s important you see these questions and pepper in your clues – tidbits of information the guesser can use to try and get close to the right product or service he or she is trying to anser. We usually instruct the sharks to get excited if the guesser does get close to the general idea.

Over time the guesser learns to become freer in their opening, entering the room with such confidence, the fun is we all know YOU don’t know what the business is so you can let go of any outcome. The guesser often learns to use story elements, positive energy to convey themselves and feel really good about their business investment. Enter the room with a strong business model, a wonderful story and a reason for being while along the way the work to draw closer to guessing. It’s really fun when we see the guesser go back and justify what they may have said to make sense – and the joy of this game is the journey and all the twists and turns along the way.

Sometimes these kinds of games can drag out to long, this happens with than either the thing the guesser is trying to answer is too abstract. Another way is when the sharks remain vague for to long. As the game continues its key to make your clues more obvious to the guesser. This game can and should breathe a while but try and keep the gameplay to about five minutes.

Benefits: I love how this game slowly builds many transferable business skills in the heart and mind of the student. I see students gain insights into holding a stronger belief in their own product and service. It’s often how we first present ourselves, the belief we hold with us that can carry us through the entire sales process. There is also a ton of real learning in what it takes to present a business to investors. While many of us may never do this it really helps to create a plan for the structure. Imagine being able to answer every question the sharks ask with clarity and confidence. This can bolster what we have to sale.