How to Be 'Pitch Perfect': 5 Essential Elements for Your Pitch Deck

June 22, 2015

slideshare pitch deck ethos3.com-blogWhat's the average amount of time an investor spends looking at a pitch deck?

3 minutes and 44 seconds.

You read that right. This short attention span is clear proof that presenters need to hone the art of the (short) pitch.

If you are looking for a starting point, here are 5 essential elements:

1. Optimize Your Design

For starters, I hope we can all agree that a pitch deck is the main device to help you raise money. Therefore, it doesn’t belong in a predictable or poorly designed template.Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text -- and will be critical assets for you in those three short minutes -- so make sure your design is top notch. Invest the time and money to get it done correctly by seeking outside expertise and design help.

2. Include the Critical 10

A solid pitch deck always touches on 10 items:

1. The Company/The Vision

2. The Problem

3. The Solution

4. The Opportunity

5. Product/Service

6. Team

7. Revenue Model

8. Competition

9. Financials

10. The Ask

You can change the order slightly, but all these are a definite must.

3. Focus on the Financials

If you are curious which of the above points is the most important, it’s the Financials. In fact, this study done by Harvard reveals that the most amount of time (23.2 seconds) was spent on this specific slide.

slideshare pitch presentation ethos3.com

4. PDF It

If you plan to distribute anything related to your pitch deck, send a PDF. Don’t leave yourself vulnerable to the formatting and font issues that come with software programs like PowerPoint and Keynote. It’s an easy solution that will save your credibility.

slideshare pitch presentation tips ethos3.com

5. Aim for Alignment
According to a recent Harvard Business School study (below), there is absolutely no correlation between the number of investors contacted and the money that was raised. Like anything good in life, it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. In other words, your quality deck needs to get in the hands of the right contact.

Mastering the art and science of pitching is difficult. However, if you follow these 5 suggestions, you’ll have a solid foundation and will be off to a great start.

Author Bio

Scott Schwertly is a 2x Ironman and CEO of Ethos3, a Nashville, TN-based presentation boutique providing professional presentation design and training for national and international clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to branded individuals like Guy Kawasaki. If Scott is not working with his team building presentations, you will find him in the pool, on the bike, or on a long run. Scott lives in Nashville, TN with his wife and three dogs. He has a B.A. and M.B.A. from Harding University.

Follow the conversation and connect with Scott on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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