Beyond the pitch deck: Building a strong investor presentation
Your pitch deck is one of three key elements of your investor presentation:
- Your slides —simple, clean and to the point
- Notes that you refer to as you make your presentation—either cue cards or the Notes feature in PowerPoint or Keynote
- A detailed handout to leave behind
Remember that the pitch deck supplements your presentation to your investors. Try not to stand in front of the audience and read out the slides to them—they can do that themselves.
Tips for building an effective investor presentation
- Good slides in your deck support you as the speaker/presenter and enhance your overall presentation. Use the pitch deck as a tool during your presentation, not as a crutch to rely on as you list the items (as bullet-by-bullet points) you are trying to get across in your presentation. Simplicity in slides sets the stage for more effective presentations.
- Remember that you are speaking to make a connection with the audience (that is, your investors). You want to get them excited and persuade them that you have a great idea. You want to demonstrate that you are the team to execute the idea and convince them that you are someone they want to partner with and invest in.
- Test every statement you include in your pitch deck by asking “So what?” In other words,“What’s my point and why does it matter?” Remember to keep your message simple, short and clear.
- When an investor is actively looking at new deals, he or she may see one or two presentations per day (up to ten per week). Make your opportunity stand out and be memorable for the investor. Bottom line: the pitch deck should reinforce your words instead of just repeating them.
How to develop a presentation
You can use different approaches to develop the final presentation-ready pitch deck:
- Use PowerPoint or Keynote to bucket all of the information.
- Use a whiteboard to list all of the information and then storyboard the slides with some of the key messages.
When making your slide deck, remember Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 rule. You can also use the“1/7/7 rule” from Garr Reynolds’ Presentation Zen—have only one main idea per slide, insert a maximum of seven lines of text and use a maximum of seven words per line.
Keep in mind that people remember visuals more than bullet points. Consider using pictures (high quality images) and graphics or charts to effectively get your point across and make a more emotional connection with your potential investors. You can find high quality images online.
Also consider the three elements of your presentation—your slides, notes and handouts. The notes contain the bulk of the message for each slide, and are meant to help you with your presentation; they are not to be given to your audience. Consider providing a detailed handout as a leave-behind, but not a copy of your presentation. This way, you will not feel compelled to say everything as you speak, but you will ensure that the key messages get across.
Video examples of effective presentations/presenters:
- “Really Bad PowerPoint” by Seth Godin
- Garr Reynolds’ Presentation Tips
- Garr Reynolds’ Top Ten Slide Tips
- iStock Photo
Reynolds, G. (2008). Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery. Berkeley, CA: New Riders.