Your pitch deck can make you or break you. You may have an excellent idea, but it’ll be like a Game of Thrones saga insecure writers only write for themselves if you don’t get your pitch deck right. Imagine what would have happened if George Lucas didn’t pitch his story correctly? When working on a pitch deck, here are some important do’s and don’ts to remember to prevent unnecessary mistakes that could turn off investors:

DO’S

The investor must understand the market potential — There’s a huge market out there for your product or service. It’s up to you to convince your investors of the possibilities. Steve Jobs was convinced of the potential for Steve Wozniak’s invention. He failed several times but somewhere along he the way he convinced someone. The rest is history.

Everyone loves a good story — that includes your investors. Make sure the story is both exciting and compelling. Crack a joke or two to break the ice while you tell it. So an investor and an entrepreneur walk into a bar…

Include visually intriguing images or graphics — we have this executive. Part of his job is to disseminate safety points through presentations, but people still hurt themselves despite how many refreshers he conducts. The problem, his presentations lack interesting pictures. There are no pictures… at all, so no one remembers any of his sessions. Pictures are worth a thousand words, and it’s true. If you still hold John Carpenter’s The Thing (the 70s) and already forgot the remake, it’s because Carpenter’s visuals were gorier and compelling and because they looked real. If you associate your idea with fresh and persuasive graphics, let’s say a picture of your product equals a bunch of moneybags and sales charts that only go up, your investors will keep their attention.

Be Consistent with Your Layout — The internet of the 90s was cool, but it was a visual disaster. Dogs and cats sleeping together, mass hysteria… In the business world, your presentation layouts need to look professional yet captivating. You need to use consistent headers, colors, fonts and font sizes throughout your slides. Yes, it can be done without becoming boring.

Bring a Demo Product — there’s nothing more disappointing than attending a product pitch meeting without seeing something tangible. Successful pitches can be done without prototypes but having a demo product is a big plus when it comes to convincing investors that you’re the real thing.

DON’TS

Don’t Use Wordy Slides — as mentioned before, all words and no pics equals no attention. You’re trying to convey an idea, not asking students to take notes. Keep the words on your slides down to a minimum and explain the rest of the idea yourself. Compellingly, with pictures and better yet video. You can’t do Hamlet without a skull prop.

Don’t use Bland Layouts and Bad Graphics — like everything else in the world, there’s good and bad. You’re advised to make use of layouts and graphics but avoid using boring designs and bad graphics. When we pointed out John Carpenter’s The Thing, we don’t mean for you to use it literally. Do your best to make your presentation look professional, consistent, yet dazzling. Make use of pictures and graphics created by professionals as much as possible.

Fyre Island Festival leaked deck — 37 pages

Don’t Have More Than 20 Slides — unless you’re an excellent stand-up comic; presentations need to be short. Keep the number of slides own to a minimum. Slide info is reference points and eye candy. The rest is in your head. Twenty should be just right. Your pitch is a show and tell. Just bring your iguana to school, not the whole terrarium.

Don’t cover everything and Don’t go through all the financial details — we can’t stress this enough. Presentations need to keep short but interesting.Your pitch appointment is probably quick enough as it is. Leave a few things to mystery though. If asked, answer as short as possible and let them go through the details in your website or through polite phone calls. Your pitch is a show, not a documentary.

Don’t make the pitch deck look outdated — again, the 90s were cool but strive to be contemporary unless you’re pitching something retro. If you’re still using Powerpoint templates from Office 2003, it’s time to upgrade or consult a professional designer.

Conclusion:

As probably with an article on proper pitching. Keep it short, keep it simple, make it consistent and keep it interesting but be truthful and sincere. Make sure your message gets through. Give them what they expect.