Episode 15: The Language of Entrepreneurship – part 2

Pitches and presentations

This episode was sponsored by BSEEN, a support programme for students and graduates who want to start their own business: www.b-seen.biz

In the first part of the episode, we talk about the difference between written and spoken grammar, analysing parts of a Dragon’s Den pitch to show why it sounds so unnatural.

“We are here today today to introduce Ting-a-tang and ask for an investment of a 100,000 pounds for a 20% share in our business.  Looking for love is a big business in the UK.  By the year 2010 it is estimated that 45% of the UK’s adult population will be single. Today 75% of singletons are actively dating, spending a whopping £8 billion per year in their search for someone special. And so Ting-a-tang was born, to provide a unique and distinctive symbol for single people. Just as wearing a wedding ring showing that you are in a partnership, now you can wear a Ting-a-tang to reveal your single status.”

In the first of two interviews, we speak to Dennis Davy, whose publications include:

  • Daly, P., & Davy, D. (2016a). Crafting the investor pitch using insights from rhetoric and linguistics. In Alessi, G., & Jacobs, G. (eds) The Ins and Outs of Business and Professional Discourse Research. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 182-203.
  • Daly, P., & Davy, D. (2016b). Structural, linguistic and rhetorical features of the entrepreneurial pitch. Journal of Management Development, 35(1), 120-132.
  • Davy, D., & Daly, P. (2020). French entrepreneurial pitches in English: Analysis of linguistic errors and perceptions of error gravity. In González-Araujo, V., Álavarez-Delgado, R-C., & Sancho-Rodríguez, A. (eds) Ethics in Business Communication: New challenges in the digital world. Brussels: Peter Lang, pp. 33–48.

At the end of the interview, Dennis mentions research into Dragon’s Den versions in languages other than English. Here are two examples about the Spanish version:

  • Fernández-Vázquez, J. S., & Álvarez-Delgado, R. C. (2019). The interaction between rational arguments and emotional appeals in the entrepreneurial pitch. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 26(3), 503-520.
  • García-Gómez, A. (2018). Dragons’ Den: Enacting persuasion in reality television. Discourse, Context & Media, 21, 1-9.

The key to a truly effective investor pitch is to rehearse content and form and walk the tightrope between spontaneity and formality (Words and Actions Ep15)


Our second interview guest, Alex Toft, is Head of Minerva Business Angels. Information for both entrepreneurs and investors is available at https://minerva.uk.net/.

In the final part of the episode, we analyse the video below for a social crowdfunding campaign:

Erika’s work on the text type of crowdfunding is from her most recent volume. At the time of publishing this post (15/12/2020) it is in press but if you would like a copy, do email her.

  • Parhankangas, A. and Darics, E. (in press) Linguistic style and crowdfunding success among social and commercial entrepreneurs: An example of a language study in the field of entrepreneurship. In E. Darics (ed.) Language awareness in business and the professions. Cambridge University Press.

In the final episode on language and entrepreneurship, we will look at creativity in selling ideas, services and products – see you then!

Listen to the episode here

Full transcription of the episode

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