Raising money requires that entrepreneurs develop a high quality pitch that speaks to potential investors. Many entrepreneurs struggle to tell their stories in an organized, focused and concise way that is meaningful to investors. One area they often get tripped up is in how to present slides during their pitch.
Here are answers to 6 frequently asked questions about how to deliver your pitch presentation with slides:
1. When my slides are projected onto a screen on the other side of the room from the investors, where should I face?
Since your goal is to communicate effectively to the investors, resist the urge to face the screen and instead, turn your body to face the live audience and speak directly to them. Don’t make the common mistake of presenting to the screen rather than the audience. (Yes, I’ve seen it happen!)
2. Why is it important that I look at the investors more than the screen?
Eye contact helps you determine if the audience is attentive and if they understand your message. It also expresses your respect for them and demonstrates your confidence, since you know the information without having to read it.
3. What if I can't remember my content without reading my slides?
Practice is the best way to ensure that you remember your content. Practice by standing up and saying the words out loud as you go through your slides, paying particular attention to how you transition from one slide to the next. The goal is not to memorize every word, but to become comfortable enough with the material that you can say it several different ways without getting flustered.
In addition to practicing, you can also position your laptop screen in your line of sight as a "confidence monitor" - so you can face the panel of investors and still glance at the slides on your laptop screen, which can help you remember what you want to say next.
4. How much information should go on each slide?
Enough to convey your message, but probably not as much as you think. Don't write out your entire pitch presentation on your slides and then read it word for word to the investors; that would be incredibly boring and there would no need for a pitch meeting. You could just send them the slides to read on their own.
The value of the pitch meeting for the investors is not just the content on your slides – it’s also getting the chance to meet you and hear you talk about your business. You are the presentation; the slides are just there as visual aids.
So make sure your slides support your overall story without being a distraction. They should be easy to understand and follow rather than densely populated with tons of bullet points in small font or charts that are impossible to read.
5. What if when I look at the audience, they're all looking at my slides on the screen?
Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by this. The investors need time to read your slides (another reason why your slides shouldn't be too busy or hard to read) and if the slides are easy to digest, their attention will quickly return to you. And use your words to walk them through the slide and navigate any chart or graph.
6. Where should I stand?
Stand to the side of the screen so you don't block the investors’ view. Also be careful not to stand in the way of the projector light so your silhouette doesn't appear on the screen. Using a remote control will allow you to advance your slides without having to hover over the laptop. Many remotes include laser pointers so you can highlight items on the slide if needed.
Delivering a pitch presentation with slides is not necessarily easy, but with preparation and practice, you can learn to deliver an effective presentation that educates the investors about your business and clearly explains why they should invest.
Gilda Bonanno LLC