As pitch deck consultants, we are confident that many elements take part in delivering the perfect pitch deck story. Not only must the visuals to slides come in at the right place, but also with the best quality; the design to it needs to be nailed just right, which includes the right font and its size; yet, also, and crucial to any solid deck whatsoever, the story through which the pitch deck presentation comes to life is simply fundamental to a successful pitch deck delivery.
The best visual material can be shining at your back. However, without a solid and catchy story being crafted to deliver the content to those slides, chances are the pitch will very unlikely be delivered successfully, let alone at its best.
In this article, we will go over the structure to the best possible story to tell when delivering a presentation of this nature, hoping it will let you be a part of those presenters who stand out and not those who fail.
You know that feeling of excitement seconds before a new pitch is about to start in an auditorium? Lights are out, we’re waiting for the next presenter to take the stage and, regardless of the amount of people who have stood up there before the person who is about to run up for it, we get that feeling of expectation over the new perfect pitch that is just going to blow us away.
No matter what; we keep having hope. As an audience, every time we take a seat, we are willing to be transformed. By being a part of the audience, we have signed a contract to believe that we are about to witness something unique. In that sense, we are already sold.
From a presenter’s perspective, however, anxiety and nervousness rise, doubt sets in and we might even start feeling shaky. The only way to successfully link what the audience wants to experience with what we believe we can give is to truly deliver just the perfect story people came to hear. When it comes to delivering the perfect pitch deck, people truly need to feel what is being presented on stage. The stage part is truly secondary if the pitch deck story is to be delivered privately or in a more intimate scenario. What really counts is that the presentation comes to life in ways that wow those who are willing to listen.
This might sound awfully tedious as the “wow” effect in itself and as a goal is just too heavy a burden to carry. Fortunately for everyone, we know very well by now that storytelling is the perfect ally in achieving exactly that.
Common knowledge to storytelling dictates that a story’s overall structure be comprised of five elements; characters, setting, plot, conflict, and resolution. For the purposes of a business presentation, however, characters and plot are not necessarily as applicable or crucial as a setting, conflict and resolution.
Translated in entrepreneurial terms and more specifically aimed at pitches, setting becomes context, conflict becomes challenges and resolution is ideally the perfect solution, instead.
For the goals startups have, exploiting storytelling means that every single step bears its own weight, as well.
Maybe one would think rushing through to present a solution is the real juice of a pitch; yet, without amounting to it through devoted time in going over challenges and context, the solution does not become evidently clear as an actual necessity, for example.
Let’s quickly go over how to introduce storytelling in ideal ways when it comes to working with content in a story’s structure. This might sound more familiar if we talk about a hook or appealing opening sentence. If it does, you might relate to the kind of questions that are meant to generate curiosity.
“How many people do you think use the subway in Manhattan on a Sunday morning?” Did this get you thinking? Perhaps an easy question to be using as example, queries as such are meant to generate interest, peak curiosity and, thus, engage audiences. In the meantime, details are inserted that help us comprehend the context of that of which we speak.
Related: Pitch Deck Examples from successful Startups
If, on the contrary, we had phrased the query above as “Imagine we were riding on the subway in Manhattan on a Sunday morning. How many people do you think would have been around us then?” for example, we are not only giving detail, but also inserting the audience as part of our narrative, thus generating much more engagement through our words than if we had left the question quite impersonal.
If, on top of that, we speak of these fictional characters as people with whom those listening can connect easier and quicker, then the addition in terms of engagement will augment considerably.
Say the structure to the story were clear, your slide design neatly done and the content to your overall work all sorted. In that case, the next best area for very common improvement would be to focus on what your body does on stage (or, better yet, planning so well beforehand!)
Topped with precise gestures, a very keen sense of movement on stage and eye contact, you will not only wow in terms of how well your story is crafted, but on how present you are at the time you deliver all the data of which only you are the lead master, by the way. The correct level of volume, movement in space, gestures to data, design to slides and more are just ways of making sure you add the icing on the cake.
Though our startup focus tends to make us forget so at times, even the most serious of entrepreneurs or investors have a human quality that has been made to connect through emotionality. While this does not mean funding meetings can break into human connection type of venting scenarios, stories we tell as we narrate the birth of our business, the first sale or the grandest moment in our company’s trajectory have the full potential of engaging with possible investors from a very emotional side. Even when presenting data, stories bear the ability of connecting people precisely through these more emotional senses.
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