Why 70% of Entrepreneurs Are Ending Their Pitches the Wrong Way

Aaron Dinin, PhD
Dec 5, 2019 · 3 min read
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Whether you realize it or not, from a “minutes-viewed” perspective, the final slide in your pitch deck will usually be seen longer than any other slide in your presentation. That’s because it’s the slide that often remains on the screen once the presentation ends and the pitch moves into a Q&A session. As a result, the final slide in any pitch deck is prime real estate, so use the space to say something important.

Unfortunately, that’s not what most entrepreneurs do. Instead, after seeing hundreds of startup pitches, I’ve noticed more than 70% of them end the same way. The presenters say everything they want to say, look at the audience with a sense of relief at being finished, and then flip to their final slide. Behind them is a giant screen with one word on it: “Questions?”

Here are the three questions I always want to ask the entrepreneur when I see a slide like that:

  1. Why are you ending your pitch by asking people to question everything you just asserted?
  2. Why are you asking people to question your assertions in such a prominent place directly behind you?
  3. Why are you allowing that giant invitation to question everything you said to remain on screen for an entire Q&A session, making it the slide in your pitch deck that gets the most screen time?

Do you see why it’s a bad idea? Instead of concluding a pitch on a strong, emphatic, and memorable point, ending with a “Questions?” slide subtly undercuts everything the presenter said. True, it’s a common way to end presentations and most audience members won’t actively recognize the slide as being bad; however, at a subconscious level, it creates doubt, and that’s a terrible thing.

More importantly, if you’ve always ended your presentations with a “Questions?” slide, you’re missing a huge opportunity to emphasize a message you want remembered.

In that spirit, here are some alternate content choices for your final slide that will, at the very least, be less harmful, and, if you’re smart about it, will actually create additional value:

Your logo and tagline

It’s simple, but at least it will emphasize your brand and your core value proposition.

Your contact info

Make sure people who want to reach out have a clear CTA.

Promotion or discount opportunity.

This is particularly good if you’re pitching a consumer audience. If you’re creative, maybe you can create a promotion that entices audience members to snap a photo of your final slide and post it to social media.

Key takeaways

Summarize the most important information from your pitch to make sure your audience walks away remembering key points.

Partners list

Share a “partner logos” slide featuring all the companies already trusting you to help their businesses succeed. It will be a powerful way to make your audience feel like they’re missing out.

Team photo

Subtly remind your audience that an entire team is behind the project, making everyone in the room want to either be a part of your team or not disappoint them. Either way, you win.

And those are just a few of what I’m sure are dozens of potential options for a final slide. Since I have no way of knowing what’s best for your company, you ultimately have to make the final decision. Whatever you choose, I’m sure it’ll be better than ending your pitch with a giant screen that says “Questions?”

The Startup

Aaron Dinin, PhD

Written by

I teach entrepreneurship at Duke. Software Engineer. PhD in English. I write about the mistakes entrepreneurs make since I’ve made plenty. More @ aarondinin.com

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +733K people. Follow to join our community.

Aaron Dinin, PhD

Written by

I teach entrepreneurship at Duke. Software Engineer. PhD in English. I write about the mistakes entrepreneurs make since I’ve made plenty. More @ aarondinin.com

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +733K people. Follow to join our community.

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