Creating a Powerful Pitch Deck

A well-designed, brand-consistent, and logical pitch deck could turn into the best investment you’ll ever make in your business.

Presentations are a crucial part of the business development process. Whether you run a company or want to establish one, you can use a pitch deck to sell your services, seek venture capital funding, or ask an investor for money. Since a good presentation could literally propel your business forward – and a bad one could end it – we decided to put together some tips for preparing one that is not only memorable, but successful.

5 Tips for an Awesome Pitch Deck

A pitch deck explains your business – or new product or service – through slides full of data, text, and images. You can use PowerPoint, Prezi, or Keynote to create your deck, but it’s important to note that slides are merely a presentation tool – not the entire presentation itself.

          1. Determine the purpose and define your audience.
            • What is your primary objective for the presentation? Make sure that you design everything with that goal in mind.
            • What do you want your audience to take away from your presentation? This is more than a knowledge transfer; refer to the previous bullet.
            • Who is your audience? The more you know about their backgrounds, expectations, and levels of expertise, the more you’ll be able to gear your presentation to meet their needs.
          2. Create a storyboard.
            • How do you want your presentation to flow? Organize a storyboard that outlines every slide. Make sure that you only touch on one topic per slide, and that you progress through the presentation in a logical order.
            • What do you need to convey? If you are looking for funding, then your audience will want to know how you plan to make money and how much capital you need. If you are trying to persuade a potential client, you need to show them that you understand their pains and prove that you can alleviate them.
            • What are your accomplishments? Regardless of the purpose of your pitch deck, it’s a good idea to feature some of your successes.
          3. Make it look polished.
            • What “look” will represent your company well? Avoid clunky pre-designed templates and invest in custom design that can seamlessly incorporate your brand.
            • Is anything distracting? If a graphic or a piece of animation is too flashy or tacky it will detract from the information on the slide. A little action can keep the slides from being boring, but be careful not to over do it.
          4. Format like a pro.
            • Can you read it from the back of the room? Choose fonts that are easy to read and remember that colors count. A dark text on a lightly-colored background is typically the easiest for everyone to see.
            • How much do you need to say? Your slides aren’t meant to hold your script. Keep it simple and snackable! Avoid paragraphs and think, “less is more.”
          5. Fill it with useful content.
          • What three ideas or points do you want your audience to remember? Keep your content straightforward, with less than 40 words per slide.
          • What numbers substantiate your claims? You don’t want to dump data on your audience, but mix in some statistics that support your cause.
          • What’s your hook? Keep in mind that there’s a purpose for your presentation; include a call to action just as if you were designing an advertisement.

Beyond the Slides

As we mentioned earlie, your pitch deck is merely a tool. Remember to look professional and watch your body language. If you need a pre-written script, make sure that you don’t turn into a robot with no voice inflection or eye contact. Your audience wants an emotional connection with you; stories are an excellent way to engage them and stay engaged yourself. And last – but not least – ask questions. Asking questions will show your audience that you care about their opinions – and it will make your presentation more engaging.

Killer Presentations (in a good way)

With a little effort, you can develop a pitch deck that you’ll be able to use for years. If you aren’t PowerPoint-savvy (or Keynote-savvy), don’t be afraid to ask for professional help. A well-designed, brand-consistent, and logical slideshow could turn into the best investment you’ll ever make in your business.

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