Pitch your Story, not your Projections

I sat through over twenty investor pitches last week. Start ups doing everything from measuring cirrhosis of the liver to selling event tickets. To a person, the founders believed in what they were doing and were fully committed. Too bad most of their presentations didn’t reflect that.

Powerpoint and Keynote are a necessary evil. They are tremendous tools to illustrate points and express information. However, they can also distract, bog down, and obfuscate the message. Too many words, too many graphs, too much detail and not enough narrative.

A great presentation has the arc of a story. Everything from expressing the problem, the discovery of a solution, to the challenge of competition and selling – can all be told without the obligatory charts and graphs.

The purpose of the ten minutes is to captivate the audience and leave them wanting more. Everyone has seen the hockey stick projections, and the competitive analysis graph that shows your logo in the top right. Don’t do that.

Bringing any new idea to market is an adventure – so express it so. What was the ‘aha’ moment? How will the idea change the world – or the little part that it is meant to serve? What the presentation should do best is raise curiousity and confidence. No one is going to write a cheque after twelve slides. The best you can hope for is a prospective investor handing you a business card with “tell me more”.

Your energy is way more important than what is on the screen. The images and words are simply back up for you – it’s your stage. Go for it.

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