Pitch Must Haves for Decks On-stage or In-person

These are a few things to consider when developing (or revamping) your next pitch for an on-stage event or in-person meeting.

Jacey Cadet
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October 18, 2022

From emails, to screens, to elevators, to events, I’ve been afforded the opportunity to hear and see a LOT of pitches. I’ve seen the good, the bad and the …lots of room for improvement pitches. Below are a few things to consider when developing (or revamping) your next pitch for an on-stage event or in-person meeting. 

As a brief reminder, what is a pitch? It’s a way of telling your story when trying to persuade someone to buy or accept something. You can pitch almost anything, and because you’re in the ‘startup world’, you need to be ready to pitch at any moment! 

Next, let’s talk about the pitch deck. This is an on screen presentation that entrepreneurs put together to present to potential customers or investors. All pitch decks are different and you can customize multiple decks for multiple audiences, but here are the fundamentals to get you started.

How do you organize your pitch deck?
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel here. Guy Kawasaki lays it out best, and has a great track record on deck development. The essential of a basic 10-slide pitch deck are:

  1. Title
  2. Problem/Opportunity 
  3. Value Proposition
  4. Underlying Magic
  5. Business Model
  6. Go-to-market Strategy 
  7. Competitor Analysis
  8. Management Team
  9. Financial Projections 
  10. Current Status/ask

What do you include in a pitch deck? 

After you have the structure of the actual deck, you’ll want to focus on the verbal side of things. First and foremost you want to be telling a good story. Your brand story is a vital part of your pitch and having a clear and concise way of telling that will elevate your pitch. Some key themes to focus on include the team, the market and the product. 

Does your pitch look good?

After you have the layout and story in place, next it’s time to level up the look. When it comes to a physical deck, a little attention to detail goes a long way. 

  • Choose a standard document size (Recommend 16:9)
  • Design your deck on brand (Logos, Typefaces, Brand colors, etc)
  • Be consistent (Logos, Typefaces, Brand colors, etc)
  • Use big typeface sizes (A minimum of 18-point font)
  • Be concise
  • Consider an image or symbol (A complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still image)
  • Stray away from drop shadows (*personal preference)
  • Spell check, then spell check again
  • Have someone review it.  Have them ask you: Did you tell a good story that makes sense? Is the point clear? How could the deck be made more simple?
  • Practice, practice, practice (Always)

Designing your deck makes a very big impact on how your audience digests the information. Simplicity is key when it comes to design. Let your slides amplify the verbal pitch you’re telling.  

Tips on giving your verbal pitch. 

Whether you’re on stage or sitting in a boardroom with a few investors, the way you verbally tell your story can make or break a deal. And not all of us love pitching, it can be nerve racking. So what do you do? Here’s a few thing to keep in mind: 

  • Breathe: It’s okay to be nervous, just breathe through it. 
  • Look the part. If you feel good, your confidence will be boosted. 
  • Use (minimal) notes. Even visual cues on your slide deck can be helpful to keep on track. 
  • Be concise. There’s no need to ramble, stick to the script and remember simple is always best. 
  • Project your voice. On stage or in a room, speak up!
  • Include pauses for emphasis. 
  • Stand (or sit) grounded, swiveling in your chair or swaying back and forth can be distracting.  
  • Be aware of hand gestures and use them to emphasize points. 
  • When standing, move around, but not too much. Work out a good cadence when you’re practicing. 
  • Practice, practice, practice

After you’ve developed each of these elements you’re ready to pitch! For anyone who’s looking to get a bit more practice with the pitches, stop by Pitch Practice at Atlanta Tech Village and share with the group for authentic feedback and to get the jitters out before your next big pitch. 

Need more help? Check out these resources!

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