Pitch Deck 101
An entrepreneur's guide to pitch decks
How To Deliver A Pitch Deck
Pitch Deck Delivery: A Guide For Entrepreneurs
The key to persuading someone is to grab their attention first and then make them believe in you using the terms they want to hear. A pitch deck presentation is all about this.
While, most of the time, you present your pitch deck over emails, there are days when you get to take part in the demo days – where you stand up on stage presenting your offering to your potential investors.
These are big days, and you wouldn’t want to ruin it in any manner. So, here’s a guide with the tips to help you ace your pitch deck presentation.
Being prepared always helps. And when it comes to pitch decks, staying prepared helps more as it helps you to –
- Develop a simple script for every slide with arguments not repeating in other slides.
- Cut down on words and develop small sentences that make more sense.
- Estimate the time required to present each slide, so you don’t overdo it.
Practising won’t just improve your delivery and boost your confidence; it’ll also help you eventually discover what works and does not work. Moreover, if you’re presenting the slide with your cofounder, it’ll help you gain the flow where both of you complement each other.
You can even use speaker notes to help you practice while presenting your pitch deck slides to the audience.
Take Extra Care Of The First 38 Seconds
An average human’s attention span lasts for 8 seconds. It’s the same with the investors. If you are not able to grab their attention within the first 8 seconds, chances are that you won’t be able to win it afterward too.
So, it is advisable not to start your presentation by using sentences like “Hi, I’m Aashish and I’m the founder of Feedough.com.”
Remember, the company name and probably your name is already displayed on the introduction slide, so it’s just a waste of time to repeat it. Rather, try to ask them a question, make them do something, or why not start with rhetoric like “Isn’t music the best therapy to our ears?”
Once you’ve gotten their attention, you have the next 30 seconds to prove that you’re worth that attention. Use these 30 seconds to establish your credibility using validated and data-backed problem that they can understand well or empathise with.
It’s a research-backed claim that everyone loves a good story, including your investors.
But including a story in a limited-time pitch is a task. So, we break the story into three sections and use the sections separately to our advantage, whenever we feel like.
- The Setup: It’s the context that sets the scene.
- The Struggle: It’s the problem, conflict and/or confrontation among the characters.
- The Solution: The hero that helps the character overcome the struggle.
Now, you’d think adding the story in the first three slides would be the best option.
You’re right to some extent. But what if I tell you that you can use storytelling instances in almost all your slides. You can tell them the story of how you landed on to your first customer, how your teammate joined you, or how you brought in the hockey-stick growth moment.
It’s all about arranging the data arguments in a way that they resonate with your audience. Follow these techniques -
This is where you provide the context that sets the scene. This could be the context to tell about your solution, your traction, or your team.
Good questions create curiosity gaps. But to make them more personal, always use the word ‘you’ in them.
“Have you ever…?”
“Has it ever happened to you…?”
“When was the last time you…?”
Place Your Audience In A Scene
This setup technique puts your audience in a scene to relive it with you.
“If you would have been there, all alone...”
“If your mobile was stolen on the first day…”
Make Relatable References
To make your points clearer, you can use relatable references for characters, situations, customers, and even competitors.
For example, “She’s like Monica of Friends with an OCD of keeping things clean” or “It’s The Hunger Games, but on VR.”
Use Reference To Make Them Empathise
Struggle sounds more real if you can empathise with it. If your investor is your target audience, make them take the lead role and lead them to imagine scenarios.
If not, try to compare the problem with something they are familiar with.
But make sure you’ve done your homework on your investors and know a bit about them before making such a reference.
Give Them The Lead Role
Pitch deck presentations are best presented in a second-person narrative. It makes the pitch more relatable to the audience. Here’s an example –
Instead of “I see it in travel magazines all the time”, you can use “If you read a travel magazine, you’ll notice that all …”
Use Specific Details
When talking about the struggle, it’s always a good practice to use specific details focusing on whatever your argument is. Instead of saying “it takes a long time for the customers to reach the airport”, you might use “It takes 1.5-2 hours for a customer to reach the airport”.
Specific details add more weight to the argument.
Introduce the solution as a question and make them feel the relief. “What if” works best in such situations. It opens a curiosity gap again that can be filled with your solution now.
“What if you could reserve a table in your favourite restaurant on an application, even when it’s crowded. Won’t it be a great relief?”
Establish Credibility Thrice
You need to make the investors believe that they’ll regret not giving you the money. To do that, follow this simple psychological rule. Establish your credibility thrice in your presentation by stating –
- Awards, endorsements, associations etc. in the beginning that may compliment your introduction slide.
- Through customer testimonials in the traction slide (along with explaining the data).
- Media attention and praise that you’re startup has received till now, towards the end slides.
Back Your Arguments With Data
If, during the presentation, you claim that users love using your SAAS, back it up using data like user retention rate, LTV, average referral per user, etc.
Follow this practice even during the Q&A round to support your answers and arguments with data.
Doing so makes investors feel that you know your KPIs and have come prepared.
Summarize Data In Simple English
Traction and financial data are of utmost importance during a pitch deck presentation. However, not every investor may be familiar with your industry-specific KPIs. So, make sure to summarise your data into simple terms after you explain them technically.
A simple summary like this works “So, precisely, our year-on-year customer growth is 30%” after you’ve explained other intricacies like churn rate.
Learn How To Create FOMO
Your task on the demo day is to make the investors such curious that they should think that missing this opportunity is a bad option. To do that, you need to learn the art of creating the fear of missing out.
- Show them that people love it: Investors are most motivated by existing traction and testimonials. Show them your existing performance of your offering and end it with a sentence which makes them predict what might happen next.
- Highlight missed opportunities: If you’ve already been funded before, do mention it and highlight the opportunity they have missed before. This adds up to the FOMO.
- Highlight your future milestones: FOMO is also boosted by showcasing your growth charts. This creates an atmosphere of hope that makes them more interested in your startup.
Focus On Benefits And Not The Features
While explaining about your offering, frame the sentences in a way that they showcase the benefits a user will get while using or consuming the offering, rather than showcasing the same in the form of features.
For example, instead of using “Our note-taking application takes notes even when the phone is locked”, you can use “You can use your voice to take notes even when your phone is locked. Just say ‘Jake, note this’.”
Be A Bit Dramatic
When delivering a pitch, you can actually stand out by being a bit dramatic. You can use dialogues to stress over important arguments like how you came up with your proprietary concept.
‘Cindy, our CTO, just looked at me and said, “Daniel, do you think we can skip this step?”
You can even make use of the dramatic pauses to emphasize certain points, like -
“She was there, with tears in eyes, looking at me to help her [Pause] That’s when I knew I need to develop such a solution.”
Practice Your Physical Gestures
Your physical gestures complement your speech as much as your slides do. Make sure you practice them well beforehand. Using motion, facial expressions, and even hand gestures might add to the narrative and make your presentation even more memorable.
That being said, some gestures explicitly show your nervousness and the lack of confidence that may put the investors' attention away from what you’re saying to how you’re saying it.
Never Forget What The Investors Are There For
Always remember that investors will only invest in your startup if they see their money growing over time. It’s always a great practice to end your presentation using sentences they want to hear – how are they going to benefit by investing.
If it’s a private presentation, summarise your presentation by mentioning the amount you’re looking for and why is it a great investment. And on events like the demo day, you can just summarise by mentioning how good an opportunity investing in your startup would be, like –
“With a 50% market share of a $400 million market and an year-on-year growth of 46%, you wouldn’t want to miss this opportunity, would you?”
Explore The Chapters
How To Deliver A Pitch Deck