Building an Effective Pitch

Need to create a pitch deck that packs a punch?  Whatever you do, don’t create it last minute (i.e. creating your pitch on the plane to your meeting is a definite no-no).  Pitch decks that are effective take more time and energy than most people realize.   Anyone can create slides within minutes of starting to use PowerPoint, but creating really impactful slides takes time and thought.  Fortunately, there are some useful tips that can help guide you.

In last week’s CIBC presents Entrepreneurship 101, James Smith (VP, Healthcare and Cleantech Group at Equicom Group), gave us tips for creating effective PowerPoint presentations and showed slides that his firm has made for their start-ups to illustrate his points.

One of his most salient points was that “you can’t sell someone a solution until you sell them a problem.”  That’s the “what” of what to include:  the pitch deck should tell the story of the problem, your solution, and the investor opportunity.  The “how” of presenting this narrative means you have to pick the right information to present (hint: less is often more when it comes to the ins and outs of the technology) and put it in a format that’s easily remembered (fewer words, more visuals).   “The closest cousin to a PowerPoint slide is a billboard,”  James noted, as huge impact can be made with few words.  Check out some of his example slides to see how his firm has communicated big ideas without having to spell everything out in words.

Want to hear more of James’ tips?  Watch the video below.

Downloads and resources

CIBC presents Entrepreneurship 101 2009/10 – Week 28 – Building an Effective Pitch from MaRS Discovery District on Vimeo.

Keri Damen

Keri leads the strategic design, development, marketing and expansion of cutting edge business programs in the areas of entrepreneurship, innovation, marketing, HR, management and leadership at U of T’s School of Continuing Studies. See more…