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How To Pitch Your Idea Using A Live Pitch Deck

Andrew RainnieOctober 19, 20214 mins read
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Live pitches can be daunting and, whether you plan on delivering it in person or via a video call, it is a good idea to have a live pitch deck to hand that you can refer to throughout. The best pitch deck will effectively communicate your idea and also capture your audience’s imagination. It should excite, inspire and educate in equal measure, striking a balance between style and substance. Read on to see how to make a pitch deck that will keep your presentation on track and wow your audience.

What do we mean by an effective pitch deck?

An effective, well-crafted pitch deck will serve two main purposes. It should act as a trampoline for you to launch your pitch from, while also getting your audience excited about whatever you are pitching, be it an investment opportunity, product launch, or new business venture.

The key is to make it clear and concise. Practicing your pitch will reveal which areas, and which slides, you absolutely need and which ones you can do without. Focus on the core idea that your pitch revolves around, while also making it compelling enough to draw the audience in. Ultimately, the best pitch deck will tell your story or that of your business, highlighting the problem or gap you have identified, what solution you can offer, and what you are looking for from your audience.

It should be visually attractive, but not overly busy or cluttered, offering key facts and an enticing investment opportunity that is easy to understand and act upon. Try to keep your visual style consistent throughout the entire deck. If visualization is not your forte, search online for presentation templates that you can customize to bring your pitch deck to life. See if you can find examples of pitches that are similar to your own, and see why they worked or why they didn’t.

A person stood in front of a large screen giving a presentation knowing how to make a pitch deck.
Photo by Teemu Paananen on Unsplash

Making your pitch flow

Once you have chosen the tools and style you will use to build your deck, next you want to think about how to make a pitch deck flow naturally. Alejandro Cremades, the author of The Art of Startup Fundraising & Serial Entrepreneur, suggests the following flow based on his analysis of several successful pitch decks, including the template used by billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel.

  • Problem – the problem you have identified
  • Solution – a description of your product or service
  • Market – who is your ideal customer?
  • Product – showing the product or service in action
  • Traction – metrics showing the growth of the business
  • Team – who are you and who is your team?
  • Competition – how do you compare to your competition
  • Financials – projected earnings and profit
  • The amount being raised – the range of investment you are looking for

Depending on what the presentation is about, you may or may not need all of these, but it provides a good spine to work from. While these could all be one slide each, you can also experiment with this format and spread one section over a couple of slides if need be.

A person stood in front of an audience giving a presentation in a large room standing next to a projected screen knowing how to make a pitch deck.
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

How long should your pitch deck be?

The length of the pitch deck will correlate to the length of your pitch itself, so practice your presentation and see how long it lasts. You don’t want to be flipping through lots of slides, nor do you want to leave the same slide on screen for too long. The general consensus is that at a minimum you want 10 slides. For some experts, this is also the maximum, while others suggest you can push it to 20 slides.

Several years ago, file-sharing company DocSend completed an in-depth analysis of over 200 pitch decks, looking at the sections included and how long each section was. Almost all of the sections were between one and two pages, with the exception of the Product slides, Business Model, and Financials.

So how long should your pitch be? There is no one definitive answer. Some experts say no more than five minutes while others stretch this up to 20. However, the DocSend analysis found that on average, investors spent 3 minutes and 44 seconds looking at the pitch deck. Alejandro Cremades suggests a time of around four minutes, and definitely no longer than five. This would work out at roughly 30 seconds per slide on a 10 slide pitch deck.

Using presentation software to elevate your pitches

Most pitch decks will be built on presentation software such as PowerPoint or Google Slides. In a physical meeting, you can connect this to a monitor or projector and discuss the slides in person.

However, investment opportunities are global, and in the post-pandemic world, more and more pitches will be conducted via video call rather than in person. The solution here is to screen share your pitch deck while talking it through, but your audience may then lose the ability to see you or have to flick between two screens.

XSplit Presenter offers a perfect solution to this and makes your best pitch deck even better. It is fully compatible with Teams, Zoom, and Skype, and allows you to inject some character and flair into the presentation. By using a webcam, you can integrate yourself into the pitch deck, making it more interactive and informative. It also allows you to annotate your presentation in real-time, or use notes you may have made in your original document. Plus, you can deviate away from your presentation, adding separate windows to show websites or other applications without showing your desktop.

Now that you know how to make a pitch deck, you can take these skills and apply them to similar scenarios like streaming, video presentation, or online meetings. Check out creating media-rich presentations to improve your online meetings to learn some creative ways to keep everyone’s attention during your next Zoom meeting.

Andrew RainnieAndrew Rainnie is a freelance content writer, novelist and filmmaker. When not writing or editing, he can be found playing video games or making videos for YouTube and TikTok.More from this Author