Making Your Pitch Deck Tell a Story Better (

This comes before word choice and long before graphic arts.

Unfortunately, this step is often skipped entirely.

Instead, people pick a template and try to force their story into it. This is bad.

What is even worse is when people pick the wrong template. For early-stage companies, the four common templates are:

  • problem/solution,
  • traction,
  • opportunity/vision, and
  • team

Each type of deck is meant to lead with and highlight the one of those four factors that is most exciting about your company. Too many people only know of the first of the four and push everyone towards it.

Using the right template will almost always give you a pitch deck that doesn’t suck. It will almost never give you a pitch deck that is wonderful. Using the wrong pitch template will give you something that doesn’t suck much. It will probably feel solid but entirely unexcited.

Your job is to find the most exciting things about your company, determine how many of those you can fit into the time you have available, put them at the front, and let everything else be in service to that excitement. Telling one of them well in a way that is emotionally well is more powerful than telling several of them even slightly less well.

That excitement gets you a second meeting. Being solid and not sucking prevents you from being embarrassed, but is unlikely to get you a second meeting unless no one else was exciting.

If you haven’t used our hidden gems worksheet yet, please feel encouraged to grab a copy to help stimulate your thinking about what is most exciting about your company.





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Posted by Russell Brand

Russell has started three successful companies, one of which helped agencies of the federal government become very early adopters of open source software, long before that term was coined. His first project saved The American taxpayer 250 million dollars. In his work within federal agency, he was often called, “the arbiter of truth,” facilitating historically hostile groups and factions to effectively work together towards common goals


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