Chances are you already know what a pitch deck is. If you’ve ever sat through a presentation by a speaker using the ever-popular Powerpoint and the like, advancing slides while narrating the bullet points, then you’re familiar with a pitch deck. They’re useful for adding a visual component to emphasize lectures, proposals, and meetings. As a business owner and entrepreneur, pitch decks are absolutely vital no matter what type of business you run.
If you’re looking to create your own pitch decks, you can choose two routes: creating one yourself from scratch or purchasing pre-existing ones online. Companies like the appropriately-titled Pitch Deck (pitchdeck.improvepresentation.com/what-is-a-pitch-deck), offer all-inclusive templates to easily get your presentation up to running start for a small fee. Pitch Deck offers helpful advice on their website that’ll make your pitch decks available in no time.
Of course, doing-it-yourself will take more effort, but you can save money and time by going the bootstrapping route. Familiarize yourself with programs like Powerpoint, Prezi, or Keynote (among many others). This can take time, but all of those programs are fairly intuitive and there’s a massive amount of tutorials on YouTube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=5q484k1JyGY) that’ll speed up your education. Having this skill is essential for your business—persuading and presenting to audiences are frequent tasks for every entrepreneur.
Alternatively, don’t forget that you can utilize outsourcing to create your pitch decks. Websites like Upwork, Fiverr, and Elance have virtual assistants from around the world at a variety of prices that can take your presentation idea and bring it to reality.
Helpful Hints and Methods
There’s many schools of thought that go into the varieties of pitch decks you can create. Remember that there is no specific way to creating one; tailor them to your own personal style.
First, define what the purpose of your pitch deck is. What are you trying to convey? Are you looking to pitch a new facet of your business to your employees, or are you looking to recruit new investors? For those already familiar with your business (ie. employees, stockholders), you can de-emphasize the pitch deck by keeping the look and presentation austere, keeping only the most necessary details. For new investors and the like, you should spend more time copyediting and making sure nothing stands out as looking amateur or trite.
Creating an Outline
Once you’ve decided who the audience for your pitch deck is, begin by creating an outline. Ask yourself the who, the what, the when, the why, and the how. Assemble the answers to each of these questions into a coherent narrative that flows naturally. You want to be able to tell a story that persuades the listener to your point of view, provoking a positive outlook on what you’re trying to convey. Bookend the outline with an introduction that brings the audience up to speed and ends with a conclusion that reiterates your purpose.
The 10/20/30 Method
Venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki emphasizes his “10/20/30 method” (guykawasaki.com/the_102030_rule/). The 10/20/30 method is simply ten slides in twenty minutes in a font no smaller than 30 points. It’s a sound method, especially coming from someone who is constantly being pitched towards. While he lays out his own criteria for each slide, it boils down to keeping things simple, legible, and no-nonsense. Whether you choose to follow his method or not, following those three tenets is good advice.
While you may have honed your perfect pitch deck, remember that your narration and public speaking skills are paramount to conveying your ideas. Make sure that what you aren’t simply reading each slide, but using it as an outline for your speech. Don’t simply read each sentence on each slide—your words and emotional delivery is important, so make sure to practice and go through a few dry runs to make sure your presentation doesn’t drag or gloss over your points.
Having the ability to email the presentation to investors is what makes pitch decks versatile. If someone wants to look over your presentation, they’ll have your words in their memory and your outline in their inbox.