There is a lot of information on the internet about how to prepare your pitch deck. So much that it is difficult to remember a majority of them.
Luckily, we’ve been able to compile a quick checklist of things you should definitely do. And a few things you shouldn’t when you are designing and making your pitch. Nothing hard to retain about this one.

Here we go:

The do’s of writing an effective pitch deck

1. Use stories to captivate your audience

This is a pitch, right? So the aim is to grab interest and create excitement in the minds of your audience: the investors. Don’t just talk about the facts of your company, investors love to hear stories. So tell an exciting story about your startup.

One approach is to tell a story about one customer – the problem they experienced, how your product transformed their life and what the customer now feels about your product.

2. Keep things simple

A good rule of thumb to be simple is ensure each slide expresses just one idea at a time. This helps you keep your entire audience on the same page, literally.

Always keep in mind investors see lots of pitches daily. Simple and straightforward presentations will drive your point home better than cumbersome presentations. Avoid the temptation to fill your slides with ALL the information about your business.

3. Keep your presentation short

If you are given an hour, aim to finish your presentation within 20-30 minutes. That’s not to say you should breeze through your pitch. But you will want to create sufficient time for demos, and questions about your business.

4. Keep a consistent look in presentation

Use the same font, size, color and capitalization format across all slides of your pitch deck. It’s also wise to save your pitch deck as a PDF. This ensures your presentation is preserved and all your hard work – fonts and styles – remain intact.

5. Keep your deck up to date

On your journey to realizing your dreams, you’ll likely pitch your business many times before you get an investment. Don’t make the mistake of presenting an out of date deck to potential investors. Crosscheck your deck to ensure it’s carrying the most recent info, especially metrics, about your business.

6. Know your metrics inside out

Numbers are convincing, especially when they show promise. So, never hesitate to use them. The only thing is, make sure you’re well versed in them. Understand them because it’s as certain as rain that you’re going to be answering one or two questions about your numbers.

The don’ts of writing an effective pitch deck

1. Don’t use too many bullet points

Better still, skip them altogether.

Remember when we talked about simplicity? Well, when you use one bullet point, you’ll be tempted to use two, and then three and soon your deck is bullet-ridden.

Instead, use large fonts and limit the number of words on each slide. If you can tweet, you can limit the words on your slides. Your job is to connect with potential investors and not to report the news.

Speaking of reporting the news:

2. Don’t read word by word from your slides

Reading word by word from your script keeps you from making eye contact with your audience and it makes you look less confident. It is also frustrating and boring as your audience can already see what you’re reading.

3. Don’t make it too long

Do you have talkative friends? The ones that could go on and on about their problems with little regard for the fact that you’re not interested in continuing the discussion? Well, that’s how you’ll sound to VCs when your presentation is too long. It’s tempting to want to cram all the nuances of your business into your presentation but exercise some discipline. Besides, if you nail your pitch, you’ll be having another meeting where you can dig deeper into your processes.

4. Don’t use text where an image would do

It’s a cliche but that doesn’t make it untrue – a picture can say a thousand words. If you can get the right picture, not only will it say a thousand words, it will inspire and excite your audience. A picture is definitely more interesting than a wall of text.

5. Don’t use small fonts

Not all VCs have 20/20 eyesight. Neither will all of them have front row seats. The last thing you want is someone interrupting you to ask what is written on one of your slides. Always use large fonts, that way you have everyone covered.

6. First impressions are everything; don’t treat yours with levity

The bulk of your energy should be invested in delivering an engaging opener. A lot of investors will form an opinion about you and your company within the first two minutes of your pitch. Make sure you hit it out of the park.

7. Don’t come unprepared

You can get away with all the above. But not this one. The absolute worst thing you could do is not to anticipate possible questions your audience will ask you. Think through and prepare answers to those questions. Visualise yourself answering them, practice your stage movement and control. Rehearse your opening and closing statements. Get ready to kick butt.

First published on TheStarta