At this stage, you should have everything you need in front of you. All the key messaging is ready, you’ve decided what you need to include, and you’ve trimmed a lot of the fat. If you haven’t yet gone through the ‘content’ stage, check out our article ‘How to write investment winning content for my pitch deck’ for help. Once you’ve got the content ready, it’s time to move onto the next stage.
In the ‘clarity’ stage, you’ll be doing some intensive editing to ensure every word has earned its place. You can look at the pitch overall to ensure the structure and narrative works and then examine each slide.
With the complete pitch in front of you, it’s time to refine it.
Step 1: How clear is your content?
When entrepreneurs ask us, ‘how many times do I need to reassess and refine my pitch?’ I give them the same answer. You need to go through the process as many times as it takes for your pitch to be understandable by anyone who reads it. It could be the investor leafing through your pitch deck, but it might also be the intern or junior they use to filter pitch submissions. Either way, you want the person who picks it up to understand it.
You are an expert with plenty of knowledge about the industry you work in and the context around your business idea. Not only do you have to assume that anybody reading the pitch deck might be new to the sector, but you also should presume that they are not familiar with any jargon you might use.
Go through the pitch deck and make sure the case you are making is understandable, that the narrative progression is logical and that it’s jargon-free. If you want to double-check, hand the pitch deck to a trusted contact who knows nothing about your idea and ask them if it’s easy to grasp. Their answer will tell you whether you need to go back and do another round of editing.
Step 2: Is your content concise?
Keeping your content to the point is difficult, particularly when you are passionate about the idea. But if your slides are going to pack a punch and be effective, they need to be concise and short. As a guide, you should be aiming to use under 50 words per slide, which isn’t a lot. However, if you can strike the right balance between brevity and detail, you’ll have a concise pitch to wow investors.
On reflection, you’ll probably find you’ve been repetitive on some slides. Refine it, so the message is delivered once perfectly, or twice if you are going for dramatic effect. You can also use imagery like charts, graphs and infographics to demonstrate your points succinctly. They can help build or underline your case effectively.
Don’t be afraid to restructure sentences. You can make powerful points in just a few words. Keep working at it until you’re satisfied the content is sharp, and the word count is low.
Step 3: Is your content compelling?
Every winning pitch has a bit of magic about it. It sticks with the investor after they’ve put it down because it’s memorable and exciting. You need to make sure your pitch is so compelling that people won’t forget it.
You are excited and passionate about your business – that needs to come across in the pitch. On every slide, make sure there’s one powerful nugget of information that’ll stick with the reader. It could be a shocking statistic that proves the need for your product or service. It could be a conclusion they’ll draw from the information you present them. It could be the vision you have for how your idea can change the world. A good business plan is bursting with those takeaways, so use them wisely.
Remember, great pitches have a healthy mix of logical and emotive content. Don’t be shy to inspire excitement and passion, but make sure you back it all up with a realistic plan. If you can capture both things in your pitch content, it’ll be compelling.