Five Steps to Nail Your Pitch Deck — Part I

What you need to know to score a second meeting

Yair Reem
Yair Reem
Jul 6, 2020 · 10 min read

Find your story

3 minutes and 44 seconds. That’s the average amount of time a VC spends reading a 20-page early-stage pitch deck.¹ 12 seconds a page — if the investors read it at all.

VC deal-flow funnel vs. time spent with the entrepreneur

Why Stories? It’s Science

First, I want to share with you insights taken from neuroscience and human psychology that will help you understand why stories matter and make a difference.

The triune brain is a model proposed by the American neuroscientist Paul D. MacLean in the 1960s

So what does this mean for your pitch deck?

Stories provoke an emotional response — excitement, anger, sadness, empathy or enthusiasm.⁵ A good story makes us feel something for the person telling the story, which helps create connection and trust. Stories go directly to our reptilian and limbic brains and answer their questions with a firm YES — this is safe, and I like it!

It took Disney 70 years to come up with its all-time best animated movie

So the big question is: What is your story?

A good story has all the elements of a Hollywood blockbuster movie: drama, excitement, vulnerability, and triumph. Every screen-ready story has a hero who comes up against a villain. The two confront each other, and eventually the hero wins, then lives happily ever after.

The Hero’s Journey

The first story, which highlights the founder, is the classic “Hero’s journey” story. In this tale, the emphasis is on WHY you decided to start the company, where you come from and what motivates you. Making the story personal gives you the best shot at bonding with your audience.

So how do you get started?

I like to use Simon Sinek’s approach to “Find Your Why”. According to Sinek —

The New Game

The second approach to storytelling that I take with my clients is to focus their story around their customer. As popularized by Andy Raskin, this approach to your story doesn’t start with “I am” but instead with a description of a major fundamental change that is going on the world. This is what Andy calls the “Old Game,” and the message is basically that change is imminent and will impact every one of us. Those who will not adapt will disappear. But if you do adapt, then you reach a promised land of greater performance and success. (Just think of the companies that did introduce remote working, videoconferencing and digital offices long before COVID-19 and those who didn’t…)

Your Story is Your Strategy

Once we’ve got both stories, it’s time to play with combining them. A good way to combine the two approaches is to start with the big imminent change, then say you have witnessed the change first-hand and tell your WHY.

Garmin, General Aviation webpage, June 5, 2020

Summary — stories matter

If you’re raising money for your business, a pitch deck is a key component in your fundraising toolkit. Counterintuitive as it may be, the goal of your pitch deck is not to raise money. Rather, you want your pitch deck to spark interest in your company and score you a second meeting with the investor (where investors really start to listen and engage).

References:

¹ Docsend fundraising research
² Based on own historic data plus Grayscale, Homebrew, and Speedinvest
³ How do we really make most of our decisions? | CIO
Why Branding Matters, Bob Hardt
The science of storytelling

About Yair Reem

I am a founder, investor, board member and sparring partner to entrepreneurs across the globe. Engineer by trade, a Storyteller by heart. I engage with leadership teams to craft a narrative — a compelling and authentic strategic story — to power success in sales, marketing, fundraising and recruiting. Together, we design winning pitch decks, frame communication strategies and build go-to-market plans. I am also passionate about climate action and invest in technologies that can help reduce greenhouse gases emissions. To learn more or get in touch, visit www.yairreem.com

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Yair Reem

Written by

Yair Reem

Founder, investor and sparring partner for entrepreneurs. Engineer by trade, a Storyteller by heart. Climate-tech evangelist. More @ yairreem.com

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +799K followers.

Yair Reem

Written by

Yair Reem

Founder, investor and sparring partner for entrepreneurs. Engineer by trade, a Storyteller by heart. Climate-tech evangelist. More @ yairreem.com

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +799K followers.

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