The important pitch deck fact remains, if people can’t understand what you’re saying, they won’t remember you or your idea. Unless, of course, you want to be remembered as the incoherent speaker.
It’s why we’re going to be hammering on the need for you to keep things simple when pitching to investors.
Why be simple?
Well, let’s start from the obvious – simple ideas are easy to understand. The not so obvious is investors are impatient and therefore more easily distracted than other people. If they don’t get your point right away, they will check their email while you drone through your pitch.
If you’ve ever had to stand in front of an audience for ten minutes to speak, you’ll understand how short people’s attention really is. And it gets even more difficult to keep people engaged when your pitch drags on for too long.
What does simplicity in pitching look like?
For one, it means your slides will convey one idea at a time. When you find yourself trying to connect two or more ideas together on one slide, you’re definitely on your way out of simple town. Your job is to find ways to make your ideas simple enough to be conveyed in nothing more than one slide each.
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Examples of Successful Pitches
“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton
This statement houses one of the pithy facts about learning. The best way to do something impressive is first to learn from others. If you’re going to build a pitch deck that will make investors open up their checkbooks to you, wisdom directs you to observe the pitch decks that successful startups used during their funding rounds.
In April 2004, back when Facebook was still known as TheFacebook, Eduardo Saverin was pitching to potential advertisers and he took his trusty pitch deck along for the ride. Go through this example of a pitch deck built to achieve one thing – persuade investors to pull out their cheques.
We looked at Foursquare’s original pitch deck from 2009. It follows an unconventional method and has just 15 slides. Look out for the slide about the Foursquare Website. Notice the way the description uses analogies and is quite short/straight-to-the-point.
AirBnB’s first pitch deck was a standard 10 slide deck (9 slides, if you consider that the first slide is a welcome slide). What really made it impressive is the amount of traction the startup had prior to pitching investors.
What do all these decks have in common? You guessed it. Simplicity.
Being simple might sound hard or impossible, but when you realize that investors are going to be sitting through several pitching sessions, you’ll understand why you should pick your most important points and drive them home. As lucidly and evocatively as possible. There’s really no time to ramble or pontificate.
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