Our thinking Quick reads Stop using your pitch deck as a presentation deck
 
Loud & Clear
October 2021
3 min read

Stop using your pitch deck as a presentation deck

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Talking at a prospective LP as you walk through a marketing deck filled with wall-to-wall text and numbers is rarely an enjoyable experience for them. It’s also not conducive in helping you create the rapport and engagement you want. The presentation deck is something that can fill this gap.

Generating momentum in your fundraising process requires more than just demonstrating fit.

You need to inspire people. Ideally you make such a good case that it evokes a strong visceral response, practically compelling them to take the next step.

That’s almost impossible to do when you are forcing them to read a bunch of words in a drab marketing deck while they are also trying to listen to you speak. People don’t multi-task well (even though we all seem to think we are the exception).

For whatever reason, this is the go-to approach when it comes to investor meetings. We would either send the deck in advance of a meeting – which most often got printed and read for the first time while we are sitting in the room talking to them. Or…we would hand it out at the start of our meeting. To which they then go and read for the first time while we are sitting in the room talking to them. Nothing has really changed for online meetings – the custom of providing the pitch deck in advance of the conversation still works the same way.

A pitch deck (“pitchbook,” “marketing deck,” or whatever term you want to use) and a presentation deck are different. They are different tools designed to serve different purposes. A pitch deck is meant to stand on its own. It needs to make sense without additional narration. As we discuss HERE, we prefer to use it as a “leave behind” rather than an “ahead of time.” This allows you to tell your story in your own way and shape their opinion about your fund in your own way. Even the best written decks can’t sway someone that has pre-conceived views about a particular investment strategy. At least if you are in the room, you have an opportunity to clarify misperceptions.

The presentation deck, on the other hand, is what you use to support your narrative as you tell it in your own voice. Its entire purpose is to reinforce your message, not replace it. Ideally, it is highly visual in nature, with minimal text, and zero complex graphics (unless you really plan to walk them through it). Bullets can be fine to trigger reminders for yourself – but even then, keep it simple. Let’s face it – if you don’t know what you want to say, the solution is not to add more words to the presentation, it’s to practice more.

Getting a prospective LP captive in a meeting is not easy. There are no do-overs. Use the time to tell a story – an interesting story. And remember…a good presentation is one that keeps their attention on you.

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