Tip Tuesday: How to Set the Stage for your Perfect Pitch

  At the beginning of February, we welcomed Seattle Angel Conference into our Capitol Hill space for a pitch deconstruction workshop. We are pleased to share their knowledge with our community through important tips and pointers on how to create and ultimately nail your pitch deck. 


This week, Seattle Angel Conference will introduce the topic with a series of "Style and Substance" Pointers, in order to set the stage. The Pitch Deck is a very specific type of document, with a very specific goal. There exist well-tested "best practices" to which you should adhere. 

Keep in mind that this is a sales effort. Your goal is to get the next meeting. You need to be compelling, not complete. Ask yourself how each of the details you present gets you closer to your goal.

Know how much time you'll be allotted and stay within it. This is critical. By running over, you'll (at best) leave a poor impression; you may be cut off. Time yourself. You'll have different versions of your deck for a 3 minute pitch, 5 minutes, 10, etc. Each should convey on its own core message. Longer pitches will simply allow you to go into more detail in areas of importance. 

Regardless of length, each deck should include:

  • First slide is the waiting slide, that sets the stage
  • Second slide gets the audience's attention
  • One slide about the product
  • Last Slide has request & contact info
  • Appendix has answers for top 5 questions

Use remaining slides to fill in detail about solution, market size/growth, traction, business model, competition, differentiation, team as time will allow.

The presentation should have good flow and ideally take the listener on an emotional journey. Colors (don't overdo it) and faces help trigger emotional connection.

Say your name and the name of your company at the beginning and the end of your pitch. You'd be surprised how many people miss this. If your company name has an unusual spelling, note this. Each page should have a footer with your company name and logo on it, as well as any social media reference. Keep text to a minimum, 3 to 5 words per page. Avoid confusing or elaborate graphics; don't ask your audience to unravel a visual hairball or do math in their heads.  

Also keep in mind:

  • 10/20/30 Rule: 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30 point font. Divide the age of the oldest person by two and that's the minimum font size they'll be able to easily read.
  • Text should be limited & legible -- text : slides is as musical score : movie

 And of course, practice, practice, practice. This is your passion project and you should be able to speak with ease (and without notes) about it. 

John Sechrest is the founder of Seattle Angel Conference and helps startups through the Lean Startup Seattle and Seattle Startups Open Coffee meetups. Carlee Price is an active angel investor and supports growing enterprises as a for-hire fractional CFO. www.piquefinancialworks.comSeattle Angel Conference is currently taking applications for it’s XIII the cohort. Details and registration information can be found here