Is an info-rich investor deck preferable to a “Presentation Zen” investor deck?
As Matt Haworth noted, the two different types of presentations are for two completely different purposes. In my presentation training sessions I refer to it as “one to show, and one to go”.
When you are doing an in-person presentation (of virtually any kind, not just a pitch), you definitely want to follow Garr Reynold’s advice in Presentation Zen, and keep text to an absolute minimum (that means “virtually NO text at all”.) Your slides should be full screen photos, screen shots, tiny video clips, etc. The whole idea is to add what I call “emotional resonance” to your personal presentation.
Think about how “info-rich” were the slides used by the greatest communicators in history: Demosthenes, Cicero, Lincoln, Douglas, Bryan, Churchill, Hitler, Reagan, Clinton, Obama. Oh, wait. NONE of them used PowerPoint? Not even Obama, who has more speaker support technology at his fingertips than anyone in history? Hmmm…
Jerry Weissman’s book Presenting to Win is a great guide to *telling* your story, and (along with Presentation Zen and my TED video, http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en…) should be mandatory preparation for any entrepreneur starting to create a pitch.
The place for ‘info-rich’ slides, however, is in your leave-behind deck. In this case, you aren’t going to be going along with the presentation, so the slides have to tell the entire story, with all the requisite detail and rich info. The reader will not be concentrating on you, the speaker (something you most assuredly want him or her to be doing when you’re there in person!) and will therefore be able to devote full attention to the written material.
*original post can be found on Quora @ http://www.quora.com/David-S-Rose/answers *
Written by David S. Rose
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Take your choice (these are both real, honest-to-God pitches, and I’ve got the originals in my possession):
CluelessCo is an internet startup company seeking $2 million of equity financing to fund our company for at least one year. CluelessCo will become the main consumer outlet for the internet, digital cable and satellite TV, and cell phones and PDAs.
The most useful meetings with an investor are ones where going in everyone understands that there may actually be a rational reason for the investor to be interested. So even if my own mother asked me to meet with you, and you were pitching me a biotech opportunity for a $10 million investment at a $90 million valuation, I might
How will you make money (and no, advertising is not the answer)?
Who, specifically, is your first customer? Second? Third?
What is your contingency plan for when this seed round is exhausted, and you are unable to raise any more?
What is your API/platform/partnership strategy?
How are you going to sell the company, and to whom, within six years?
I’ve written on this topic previously, including David S. Rose’s answer to Startups: What is the worst startup pitch ever?. While I’ve never laughed outright during a pitch, I’ve certainly had quite a few occasions where I had to work hard not to wince. The problems with bad pitches tend to fall into the following major categories: