Borrowing the saying from Guy Kawasaki, a Silicon Valley investor, pitching is like online dating. People are going to decide whether your pitch is hot or not instantly. People are not here to be your friend, so you don’t have to tell your personal stories.
Before we start, let’s clarify: There are two different kinds of pitch decks. The first kind of deck is for a Pitch Day, where you present your deck to a crowd. Imagine someone wakes you in the middle of the night, and you have 5 minutes to pitch your startup – this is your go-to pitch deck backed up by a great story. The other kind is an Investor Deck for meetings. This is a deck for one-on-one meetings with investors and is usually more in depth. If investors ask for your deck, this is the one you send them.
Framework of a Pitch Day Deck
In this article we’re discussing the Pitch Day Deck. Pitching is like telling a story. Your story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Also, keep in mind a story arc. Don’t forget to start with a short, 30-second hook that helps capture the audience’s attention.
What should you say?
Focus on the important things: Know what you want to say and how. Be sure to adjust your pitch by gathering feedback from other people. Also, remember that less is more. Too much content might make your audience lose focus! Make sure things are easily understood – your grandma or someone who does not know much about your industry should be able to understand your startup and the problem you are trying to solve.
It goes without saying that you should not lie. Your goal in a pitch is to build trust with the audience. You don’t have to lie about how much you have achieved to win over appreciation. More often than not, showing the progress you have made is more important. Again, less is more!
To make your story shine, find your story's spine
Think of a fishbone. It goes from head to tail, just like your story’s beginning and end. The spine is the major thread throughout the pitch. It is what you hang everything else on. Think about it: What’s the overarching theme of your pitch?
There’s no single best pitch structure, but here is at least one that we’ve found to work particularly well:
1. Hook – Why should I listen to the rest? Start by making your audience care, using a relatable example or an intriguing idea.
2. The problem – What is THE issue? Explain your idea clearly and with conviction.
3. Our solution – What is our unique value? Describe your evidence, and how and why your idea could be implemented.
4. What we know so far – What is the traction?
5. How big this market is – A little dreaming. Describe the current market size and a prediction about the future, keep it realistic and make sure you know your numbers (and can talk in detail about them in case you get asked)
6. Why we are the best to solve this: Team + Knowledge + Passion
7. The ask and call to action: Funds? Customers? Partners? End by addressing how your idea could affect your audience if they were to accept it and don’t forget your call to action.
Whatever structure you decide on, remember:
- The primary goal of your talk is to communicate an idea effectively, not to tell a story or evoke emotions. These are tools, not an end in themselves.
- Your structure should be invisible to the audience. In other words, don’t talk about how you’re going to talk about your topic – just talk about it!
You might be excited to start building your deck now. But do so only after the framework is locked in using the tools mentioned above!
Practice, practice, practice!
What do I do after getting my pitch deck ready? Practice, Practice, Practice! Run through the whole pitch, live, every day! If you have a team handy, use it! Get used to saying your pitch out loud, get some feedback from your team, or get the jitters out! If you prefer practicing in private, you can do it in the mirror. Whichever way you choose, time it every time. Ideally, you should have performed it 40+ times. Practice as if it were the real deal!
Need a helping hand with your pitch deck?
Watch The DO Asia’s webinar on Pitch Perfect in collaboration with Alibaba or download the pitch deck template so you can create your own deck in no time!