Stunning Design vs. Information Text in Pitch Decks



I was recently asked to review a pitch deck draft for an upcoming investor pitch. On average each slide contained 35 words in Times New Roman font, with few images. In short, it was an ugly.

When I explained that to be effective and create maximum impact, a pitch deck needed to contain minimal text with the emphasis on impactful design. I was met with the response that the entrepreneur was more interested in substance than style and that it was essential the investors had all the information they needed.
There are many reasons why this approach is flawed but here are some of the most important:

  • Audiences cannot effectively read text and listen at the same time. The person pitching is the star of the show and the information must be coming out of their mouth. The deck is there to support and reinforce the entrepreneur’s key messages.
  • People make decisions on emotion first, and rationalize second. Powerful imagery can engage an audience emotionally in the same way storytelling can. This means you should try to ensure your deck contains well designed inspirational graphics and imagery. For more on this topic see ‘Pitching and Why You Must Stop Your Audience from Thinking’.
  • We are in an era where style and design matter more than ever. If your product or website is poorly designed, it will not sell or convert effectively. A poorly designed pitch deck sends out a message that the product will also be poorly designed.


Reprinted by permission.

Image credit: CC by Andrés Nieto Porras


About the author: Martin Soorjoo

Founder of The Pitch Clinic, Martin Soorjoo is a pitch strategist. He coaches entrepreneurs world-wide, helping them launch and raise funding. Prior to founding The Pitch Clinic, Martin spent 15 years as a former award winning attorney. He has worked with start-ups and investors, including senior investment bankers, venture capitalists and angel investors. During this period Martin raised several million dollars, including negotiating one deal worth $75 Million. This experience has equipped him with unique insights into the challenges start-ups face and how investors make decisions. He is a Certified Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and an expert in body language.

Martin is the author of ‘Here’s the Pitch‘.

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