As entrepreneurs, we certainly know how to talk business, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re great at speaking in front of an audience, right? Let alone deliver a business presentation in front of a very knowledgeable group. Well, let’s use this blog entry now, so next time someone asks: “What is a slide deck?” we speak as confidently about it as we feel when we stand in front of a VC.
Do you know the slideshows that typically go at the back of a person’s presentation? They’re almost a must nowadays. Well, a slide deck is simply a group of slides put together to tell a story, a startup business story that is.
As a little bit of history and to clarify on the above, the term slide deck comes from old technology. It goes back to times when we used those old slide projectors facing a wall. For those machines to work, the slides piled up as cards, just like a deck of cards.
On the same metaphor above, each slide is like a card with a different use, meaning, and value. You’re also able to re-arrange or switch the slides. You can even leave some out, depending on what you want to accomplish. So, though sometimes used interchangeably with the word presentation, the term slide deck is mostly preferred as one to describe the slides that hold a startup’s business pitch.
It truly is part of the startup culture in no small degree.
In defining “what is a slide deck?”, see it is a way to keep you in check. Not only will your time be under much better control with it, but a pitch deck is ultimately an aid. And, designed to help you remember the necessary points you wish to address, it also helps present those to your audience in a much more effective manner.
Decks are thus essential to keep audiences engaged, too. And, if used properly, they can also be a perfect way to help people remember you, your business, and your brand.
Now, although slides are a superb tool, they don’t make up for a business presentation by themselves, which is why learning how to create a great pitch deck should be considered an essential part of our business lives.
We’ve all witnessed a presentation at least once when everyone’s bored with the presenter, no? In those cases, slides are typically full of text, and you can’t quite understand much of what the person is saying.
We don’t want you to be that person, which is why we’re moving on to ideas to make the best of your next business presentation.
Your slide deck should be consistent. What this means is creating slides that look alike, display the same range of colors, apply the same fonts, and everything goes along the same broad line. A unified format helps give people the sense that everything is part of the same unified story.
Use good pictures, especially those that also tell a story. Use as few words as you possibly can throughout your presentation. And remember that you’re not reading the slides, they’re just there to guide you as much as your audience.
Think about the way you’re transitioning from one slide and topic to another. Work more on revealing information as you go along rather than presenting everything at once. All of your transitions should contribute to your storytelling. And they should make your presentation a smooth and effortless experience for your audience.
Like we’ve been saying, you want to focus on your story. Be clear on the message you want to convey and how you’re going to deliver your presentation.
Think about the reactions you want to raise in your audience. Consider your VCs and their primary interests. Also, think about your potential consumers and any potential business partners. Then, as the last step to your mental work, start creating the slides that show the picture you have in mind.
Don’t want to think too deeply about the style of your slides? You can always just use pitch deck templates. Those are pre-filled template slides with a particular topic or user need in mind. The idea is for them to help you customize a previously outlined design for a new presentation. Use them to save up on time and design efforts and tailor them to your company.
Use the technique Aaron Weyenberg, a slide deck master, calls dupe-and-mask. According to Weyenberg, you should bring the viewers’ attention to a part of an image while making the rest transparent. And, you should follow this up with showing the whole picture at the end. With this technique, you direct attention to certain parts for emphasis and avoid losing people’s interest in the entire image.
For videos, Weyenberg suggests never using the auto-play option. Though it might sound like a good idea to rely on this option to keep the flow going, any faux pas to its workings can end up disrupting your presentation. Keep control on your side to start the video whenever you want that to happen, instead.
When you’re delivering a pitch, you want people to be able to reach you. For any kind of presentation, the best way of knowing the impact you had is by listening or studying up on people’s responses.
End your pitch with your contact information and open yourself up to dialogue. Make sure the audience can ask questions and give feedback. Doing so is an excellent way of improving and following up with potential business contacts.
Do you want to read more on how to make better presentations? Check our CEO’s article on slide deck presentation design, or take a look at our blog for more information on all things startup pitch deck related.