Sun, Feb 10, 2013
One question I get quite often about pitch decks is: How much text should/need to be on the slides? This can be a tricky question — as you will both present the deck to an audience (in which case you tend to want to have less text and more emphasis on your delivery) and you’ll send the deck to investors via email (in which case a slide with just an image on it won’t work — as the recipient doesn’t have the context of your verbal presentation).
Guy Kawasaki, the archetypal tech evangelist, famously formulated the 10/20/30 rule: 10 Slides, 20 Minutes, 30 Point Minimal (!) Font Size. This is a great starting point — and what I would recommend for your in-person investor presentation. But it might not work for the deck you want to email.
Here’s what I would do (and have done): Start with a slide deck where each and every slide can stand on its own. Assume you give the slide deck to someone who has no context about you and your startup. And at the same time — treat your deck like a deck and not a word document. Keep text short, reduce it to the bare necessity, cut out unnecessary language. Keep the whole deck short — One should be able to flip through your deck in a few minutes and digest the whole thing in 10–15 minutes.
Once you have this, which will be the deck you send out to investors, you take the deck and cut out all the words which are not necessary for an in-person presentation. This will give you the deck which you present. Keeping the two decks in sync with regards to slides, order and design will make it easier for someone who saw your deck recognize it in your pitch.
And then — practice, practice, practice your pitch.