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How To Create a Slide Deck: Templates & Tips

How To Create a Slide Deck: Templates & Tips

Written by: Unenabasi Ekeruke

How to create a slide deck

Whether you're pitching investors or making a keynote presentation, your slide deck matters a great deal. Well-designed slide decks can pique your audience's interest and win them over. About 91% of presenters say beautiful slide decks boost their confidence during presentations.

Now you're probably wondering how to create slide decks that hit the mark. Look no further; you've come to the right place.

In this article, we'll discuss a slide deck and how to create one. We've also included templates and helpful tips for creating powerful slide decks.

Let's dive in!

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creating a deck presentation

Table of Contents

What Is a Slide Deck

How To Make a Slide Deck in 5 Steps

10 slide deck templates for creating successful presentations, slide deck faqs, create attractive slide decks with visme, what is a slide deck.

A slide deck is a collection of slides used as visual aids during a pitch or presentation. Think of each slide as a single card in a deck with unique content, meanings, value and structure.

Like a deck of cards, you can queue up your slides to tell a story about a topic. Depending on your story's angle, tone and mood , you can shuffle your slides or eliminate some of them.

How you build your slide deck depends on these three things:

Slide decks like the one below are a valuable resource for entrepreneurs, marketers and businesspeople.

creating a deck presentation

When used to pitch a startup or idea , a slide deck is also called a pitch deck . But you could call it a presentation deck when you're using it for other purposes like presenting a proposal in a professional or academic setting.

Slide decks help you present ideas in an organized format and aid delivery during presentations. Many presentation programs like Visme and PowerPoint let you add as many slides as you want to your deck. The best part is that you can design and customize your deck, making it look professional and attractive.

How you craft your slide deck can play a big role in the success of your presentation. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to create an effective slide deck.

Step 1: Build Your Deck Around Your Story

Want to up the value of your presentation? Start by focusing on your core message. Regardless of your presentation type, your slide deck outline should answer these key questions:

Many people, including experienced presenters, tend to fill their slides with points that don't add value. This leaves the audience confused about whether to listen or read the slide.

Remember, the pitch deck should visually enhance your audience's learning experience. Once you weave your narrative around your main story, you can organize your supporting points around it. You're sure to engage your audience and drive your message across.

Step 2: Use Premade Templates

Templates give you a creative head start. They provide consistency in design, layout and ideas. Visme has thousands of editable slide deck templates to help you create presentations quickly.

Here's how to customize your slide deck in Visme.

1. Select and Edit a Template

Each slide deck template in Visme has two or more slides. Feel free to add, remove or reorder slides to your deck as you proceed. Once your presentation structure is ready, pick out slides to edit and input your own content.

If you have an existing presentation in PowerPoint, you can import it and continue editing your slides in Visme.

2. Input and Edit Text

After you've selected your slides, add custom text to them. Our templates have built-in text placeholders. Click and drag the placeholder to change the text position. Or click each placeholder and highlight the block of text to edit it.

Type your text or paste the text you copied from elsewhere. Repeat the process throughout the rest of the slide deck.

Want to add more fun and personality to your text? Visme editor makes it easy for you to change font style, text color, size, style, direction and much more. Animate your text and add other special effects to make your text alluring.

3. Use High-quality Stock Images

High-quality images capture and convey abstract concepts like color and emotions. Upload images stored on your computer and use them in your design. Or select from Visme's rich library of free high-resolution images to find the perfect one for your slide deck.

4. Add Shapes, Icons and Animated Graphics

Use these elements to bring boring presentations to life. They are effective for creating minimalistic designs and explaining complex ideas.

Visme has a comprehensive library of more than one million shapes, icons , illustrations and animations . Click the graphics tab, select the asset, and add it to the slide. You can change the color, position and size of your design assets.

5. Add Data Visualizations

Use data visualizations to share statistics, financial and other numerical data in your presentation. You'll find bar charts, pie charts , graphs , timelines , flowcharts , maps and more in Visme.

Select the chart or graph and customize the title, color, data, legends and more.

6. Eliminate Unwanted Elements

Pre-built slide decks contain lots of placeholder content. They serve as a guide to help you create the perfect presentation. You don't have to use all of it.

Feel free to eliminate anything that isn't useful to your deck. Watch this video to learn more about creating beautiful slide deck presentations in Visme.

creating a deck presentation

Step 3. Make Your Design Count

When preparing for your big day, invest as much time into your slide design as your content. What's in it for you? An engaging slide deck can draw in your audience and get them excited about what you have to offer.

Be Consistent

While designing your overall slide deck, design consistency is key. We recommend a rich blend of strong branding, attractive imagery, consistent typography, styling and color scheme.

If your company has a brand guideline, apply your brand elements to the slides. But if you haven't got one, Visme helps create a strong and memorable brand identity .

Use the brand style guide template below to define your brand personality and ensure consistency.

creating a deck presentation

After creating your logo, fonts and colors, you can save them in Visme's brand design tool . Your team members can easily create presentations in Visme and your brand theme will automatically appear on their designs.

Watch the video below to learn how to set up your branding kit in Visme.

creating a deck presentation

Use the Right Font Pairing

Choosing the right font pairing and sizes can be a big deal, especially for non-designers. But getting it right can turn a boring slide deck into an appealing one.

Stick to two or three typefaces and assign distinct roles to each font—the more contrast between your fonts, the better.

For instance, you can use the same font for headings, another for the intro, another for the body and the fourth for quotes.

Use typefaces that connote your personality and style. If you're pitching art or design themes, incorporate classic and contemporary typefaces that connote creativity and elegance.

Not sure how to pair fonts? We've created this detailed guide to help you choose the right font combination for your designs.

Step 4: Incorporate the Right Visuals

Without a doubt, the human brain is wired for visuals . The mental capacity to process visual content far exceeds that of written and spoken words.

Attractive visual aids help you tell more compelling stories than text. Incorporating images, video animations and sleek transitions to break up static slides will get people's attention.

Bar charts that show patterns or trends can boost investors' confidence and convey excitement. The same goes for pie charts, which are great for comparing growth areas.

Use infographics to condense lengthy text into visuals that people can easily relate to. Luckily, Visme has the right tools for every job. With our infographic maker , you can easily translate your ideas into digestible graphics.

Step 5: Make Your Slide Deck Clear and Brief

One big mistake people make is that they want to keep adding content to their slide deck. They end up filling it up with tedious details irrelevant to their audience.

Remember, your slides are supposed to aid your presentation rather than contain every word you say. If you fill it with text, you could quickly lose your audience. They'll keep longing for the end and leave the room with little or no information.

To make your slide deck impactful, eliminate fluff. Keep it brief yet filled with key action points. Fit your information into three key blocks- a persuasive intro, a strong body and an actionable conclusion. You will have a more focused, shorter, and memorable presentation .

Whether you want to create slide decks for business, education, or nonprofits, Visme has everything you need. We have thousands of templates to help you create stunning slide decks you can be proud of. Here are our top 10 templates from each of these categories.

Template #1: HybCab Pitch Deck Presentation Template

Got a new business idea? Or do you want to scale your business? Get your investors pumped up with this Uber-inspired professional pitch deck template.

The editable 20-slide deck template covers every element of a winning pitch. It features a striking slide layout, a beautiful color scheme, and high-resolution photos and icons. The interactive data visualizations allow you to share compelling numbers that attract investors' interest.

creating a deck presentation

Template #2: Buyer Presentation Template

Use this attractive slide deck template to win over clients for your real estate business. The simple and classy design makes it unique and impactful.

You'll find a lot of space to play around with colors, fonts and other design elements. Feel free to tweak the layout design, add compelling images of your properties, key stats and much more.

creating a deck presentation

Template #3: BuffIT Pitch Deck Presentation Template

This template is a perfect pick for companies looking to pitch to customers or investors. Use this Buffer-inspired slide deck to share your key information like goals, traction, milestones, financial projection and more.

The consistent blue color theme and elegant styling provide a refreshing visual experience. Notice how charts, timelines and images are used to draw attention to critical data. You can add or remove slides, edit the content, and use your brand colors, fonts and logo to keep it on brand.

creating a deck presentation

Template #4: Training Course Presentation Template

Bridge the skills gap in your organization with this training slide deck template. The template has a minimalistic design and seamlessly blends different shades of blue across all 13 slides.

The slides feature valuable elements and sections to help your audience retain the information better. You'll find quality icons, images, a chart, timeline, checklist and evaluation matrix.

Use this template to onboard new hires and get them in the mood for work. You can also use it to prepare training courses or introduce new policies and procedures.

creating a deck presentation

Template #5: Coffee Lover Statistics Presentation

Here's another cutting-edge slide deck template for education, training and informational purposes. The coffee-themed presentation has a rich blend of white, brown and black color themes.

You can use it to highlight the benefits of a product with relevant statistics, charts and graphs to make it digestible. The text, icons and images are evenly spaced, making it easier for your audience to grasp key information.

Create the perfect slide deck with Visme's design collaboration feature. Team members can view, edit and leave feedback on your presentation in real-time. You can reply, resolve and delete comments till the design is top-notch.

creating a deck presentation

Template #6: Nonprofit Report Presentation

Are you starting a nonprofit or growing an existing one? This editable slide deck presentation can serve multiple purposes.

You can use it to share what you and your volunteers have been up to in the past year. It's also helpful in building support for your charitable projects.

It features sections like executive summary, introduction, map of projects, number of incidences, cases, casualties and more. Use images, data visualizations and widgets from Visme's library to tell stories that pique your audience's interests.

creating a deck presentation

#Template 7: Lesson Plan Presentation

With this slide deck template, you can build a learning trajectory for your students. It outlines what students need to learn, how lessons will be delivered, and how learning will be evaluated. You can also list resources needed by teachers and students, methods and assignment types.

Change the color, font and logo to fit your brand and your deck is ready for use.

creating a deck presentation

Template #8: Creative Product Presentation

Weave a captivating narrative about your product with this slide deck template. The template has a dynamic layout, creating room for you to present any information.

It highlights key information like the product mockup, milestones and timelines, revenue projections, product pricing and more. Use this template to visualize the creation process for SaaS-based platforms, cloud solutions and tech products.

creating a deck presentation

Template #9: Financial Report Presentation

Looking to communicate financial activities and performance within your company? This visual-rich slide deck template fits the bill. It contains bars, charts, and graphs, making your data easier to comprehend.

The dark background and bright-colored fonts and elements create the perfect visual contrast. Liven up your presentation with animated icons, illustrations and special effects. Also, incorporate hover effects and clickable pop-ups to make your slides interactive.

Template #10: Parenting Keynote Presentation

Use this appealing keynote presentation template to deliver a powerful presentation on parenting. This colorful slide deck can help you connect with other parents, teachers and child caregivers.

Utilize our crisp stock photos, icons and illustrations to make your audience engagement more rewarding.

creating a deck presentation

Why Is It Called a Slide Deck?

The term slide decks date back to an old technology where slides were physically inserted into a carousel projector and projected on the wall or screen. These slides were shuffled like a deck of cards to create a presentation. Hence, the name "slide deck" has stuck with the modern age.

Today slide decks are created and projected digitally using software like Visme , PowerPoint, Google Slides and more.

What Is the Difference Between a Slide Deck vs. Powerpoint vs Presentation vs Pitch Deck?

A slide deck is a group of slides put together to tell a story. PowerPoint is a software application used to create slide decks or presentations. A pitch deck is a distinct type of slide deck used to pitch a solution, idea, or product when seeking financing from investors.

How Do You Make a Beautiful Slide Deck?

Whether you're sharing strategies or performance updates, you don't need to build your slide deck from scratch. Visme has a rich library of beautifully-designed slide decks that leaves a lasting impression on your audience.

Now you know what makes a slide deck great. It's time to create one for your business.

Visme presentation software and templates provide everything you need to create beautiful slide decks for any purpose. Our software has helped thousands of businesses and professionals nail their presentations.

Each template comes with pre-designed slides. You can replace your content and customize other design elements according to your preference. With Dynamic Fields , you're sure your personal, company and other critical information will be accurate and updated throughout your presentation in real-time.

Visme lets you download your slide deck in multiple formats or share online using a link . You can generate an embed code and paste it on your website or blog. From your analytics page , you can see who has viewed your presentation and other metrics.

Easily put together winning slide decks in Visme

creating a deck presentation

Recommended content for you:

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creating a deck presentation

About the Author

Unenabasi is a content expert with many years of experience in digital marketing, business development, and strategy. He loves to help brands tell stories that drive engagement, growth, and competitive advantage. He’s adept at creating compelling content on lifestyle, marketing, business, e-commerce, and technology. When he’s not taking the content world by storm, Unenabasi enjoys playing or watching soccer.

creating a deck presentation

What is a Slide Deck Presentation? FREE Templates for 2023

15 best investor pitch deck examples from successful startups.

What is a Slide Deck Presentation? FREE Templates for 2023

Being a founder is complicated, and one of the toughest challenges doesn't have to do with running your startup. Instead, it's when you have to present to investors. You've finally landed a presentation after grinding through endless calls and emails. You need to be as prepared as possible, and one tool is essential. 

The slide deck presentation helps get your point across to investors. In a slide deck presentation, you put the utmost essential information. However, creating one can sometimes feel overwhelming. Founders often have questions such as what goes into a slide deck? What doesn't? This article will cover everything you need to know about slide decks. Plus, where you can find the best slide deck templates. 

What is a Slide Deck?

Think about Kleenex or Lysol. You reference any tissue or spray disinfectant by using those names. The same happens with slide decks. For years, founders have used PowerPoint to create slides and present them to investors. So, the term PowerPoint Slide Deck became commonplace. 

For example, a PowerPoint slide deck is a set of presentations with a central topic and a specific audience. So, yes, a slide deck can have more than one presentation. 

The term PowerPoint slide deck has become commonplace, but all it means is that you're using PowerPoint for your slide deck. Right now, there are many other platforms with which you can create your presentation. So, the proper term should be slide deck, and let's dive more into that. 

What's the difference between a PowerPoint and a Slide deck?

The difference between a PowerPoint deck and a Slide deck is that a Powerpoint deck uses PowerPoint to create the slides. A Slide deck can use other software such as Google Drive or this one. 

PowerPoint belongs to Microsoft, so it's mainstream. In fact, for years, it dominated the slide deck sector, but things have changed. There are more options to get your point across, with better technology, accessible platforms, and improved designs. After all, a slide deck needs to look good to engage your audience. 

Most presentation software is easy to use, but some more than others, yet it can be time-consuming. So, if you don't want the hassle of building your own slide deck, you can use Slidebean's templates. They make it easy and accessible to create them on the spot. 

That's the difference between a PowerPoint and a Slide deck. Now, let's talk about the uses a slide deck has.

Related article: Best Pitch Deck Templates

What types of presentations can you give on a slide deck?

So, what do you use a slide deck for? Slide decks are aids for your presentation. So, they usually have the most important content for you and your audience. 

Slide decks can work as reminders for you as you navigate the content of your presentation. They can also guide the audience with essential graphics or data. 

You can present an almost infinite variety of topics on a slide deck, but the most common is in the startup world. Its use goes back to the earliest days of Silicon Valley. The legend goes that the term originates from founders reaching out to investors using a projector. 

Back then, the projector displayed the information against the wall. Each slide was transparent and contained only a small amount of data. 

The presenter had to remove one slide and place another one to change it. So, yes, we've come far, but tradition still remains. You still have to be efficient and straightforward with your slide deck. 

One of the most common uses for a slide deck is to explain what a company is. This includes its origins, mission, vision, and future plans. You can also have content such as a financial model or explain a new product. 

As we've progressed in how we do business, we've migrated more towards efficiency. So, regardless of the type of presentation that you're giving on a slide deck, you must aim for it to be short. Time is of the essence, both yours and the investors'. 

What is the importance of a slide deck?

As we've seen, a slide deck helps the presenter display more information to the audience. After all, it's almost impossible to remember everything that you have to present. 

The audience also needs extra cues to maintain attention throughout the presentation. So, a slide deck is essential because it contains information that complements what you're presenting. 

Without a slide deck, your audience might lose a bit of track of the presentation. This happens especially when there is a lot of data you could present in graphics and charts. 

Slide decks are vital because they also help you with cues. They are aids that help you remember what you're talking about. In addition, a slide deck can set the pace for you and your crucial audience. 

Remember that, in most cases, your audience is investors. Telling a story is vital for getting people on board with your company. A slide deck is an essential part of storytelling, but there's a big question that many founders might have. What information do you put in a slide deck? We'll discuss this in the following section

What must a slide deck have? 

In the startup world, a slide deck is crucial. It's the tool that will get your investors' attention and funding. So, a slide deck must have information that's vital for them. 

As we've mentioned before, it also works as a guide for you, so the information must be perfectly harmonious. Here are some crucial slides that your slide deck must include. 

What's your value proposition? 

There's a saying that goes: keep it simple, stupid. So this slide is usually very brief. That's what you need. Think about it like this: if you can't tweet what your company does and where it brings value, it's not clear enough. The same applies to the first slide. It should contain your company's value proposition. 

To complement this first slide, you can use comparisons between your company and some more prominent names. Again, though, use them with caution. The one thing that will help your first slide stand out is the second slide. 

What problem are you solving?

Your startup needs to solve a problem. Otherwise, there's no appeal to it. So your slide should have the problem that you're solving. It should be clear and concise, but in a way that's appealing. Remember that efficiency doesn't mean that you have to push storytelling aside. 

In fact, the slide deck becomes a crucial tool in explaining the problem. In addition, you can use graphics and charts to get your point across. So, take full advantage of it when presenting the problem. 

What is your solution?

Along with the problem, this slide is one of the most important slides. For every situation, there's a solution, and your startup might be the one to do so. So, take full advantage of your slide deck and include the solution in it. 

Investors want to know how you're going to solve the problem. Also, they want to understand that solution. So, this slide must be clear, easy to understand, and appealing. You're coming to fix a problem, and the slide deck improves the challenge of reaching investors for you. 

What is your strategy going forward?

There are many vital elements that you must include in your slide deck. One of them is what you see as your path in the future. Of course, investors know that nothing is for certain, but they want you to have a plan for the months and years to come. 

So, a clear strategy is vital in your slide deck. It can include everything from sales strategy to a financial model. Plus, it can consist of a roadmap, traction, and validation. What's important with this slide is that you're clear about what challenges might come. 

Who are you?

Who you are is beyond the members of your startup. Sure, the slide deck must include your team, but it doesn't stop there. Investors want to see a team that can handle a variety of topics, such as for example, financials. 

Another essential topic to include in who you are in the competition. After all, by understanding your competition, you understand yourself. So, be sure to have it. Finally, don't be afraid to talk about where you come from. 

Investors have varied upbringings. As a result, they relate to the struggles of creating and running companies. So, talking about what drives you as a founder is valuable, but don't think that you should put aside your human values because the process is stressful. 

The same goes for creating a slide deck. It can be daunting. In fact, these slides that we mention are only some that you can include. IF you feel that you can use more guidance through this process, hit us up. We can help.

12 tips on how to create a Slide Deck

1. think of your story first.

Build your slides around your story, not the other way around. Focus on your main message first, then structure the supporting points around it, according to TED Talk resident UX lead Aaron Weyenberg. For instance, the core of the famous Airbnb pitch deck can be summed up in seven words: “Book rooms with locals rather than hotels”.

With a brief line like that, you can start weaving a story. Outline a beginning, a middle, and an end. Read here about the how the greatest communicators used storytelling to generate interest. Weyenberg adds practicing and timing your presentation. Only after this will you move on to crafting your slides, which serve to supplement and not caption the words you’ll speak. The pitch deck should be a visual enhancement of the listener’s experience.

2. Root for consistency

Your slide deck should be consistent. What this means is creating slides that look alike, display the same range of colors, apply the same fonts, and everything goes along the same broad line. A unified format helps give people the sense that everything is part of the same unified story.

Slide deck example

3. Picture perfect

Use good pictures, especially those that also tell a story. Use as few words as you possibly can throughout your presentation. And remember that you’re not reading the slides, they’re just there to guide you as much as your audience. 

4. Develop Templates for Transition

Think about the way you’re transitioning from one slide and topic to another. Work more on revealing information as you go along rather than presenting everything at once. All of your transitions should contribute to your storytelling. And they should make your presentation a smooth and effortless experience for your audience.  

For instance, present the key points using a light text on a dark background. But also give your audience a break by using a dark text on a light background for transition slides.

Make sure to use the transition template before a new topic. In the PowerPoint universe, transitions also refer to animations. These can only distract the audience, though. And remember that you are wooing angel investors and venture capitalists. They should not feel like you are wasting their time. 

5. Slides are last

Like we’ve been saying, you want to focus on your story. Be clear on the message you want to convey and how you’re going to deliver your presentation. 

Think about the reactions you want to raise in your audience. Consider your VCs and their primary interests. Also, think about your potential consumers and any potential business partners. Then, as the last step to your mental work, start creating the slides that show the picture you have in mind.

Slide deck opportunity slide example

6. Keep your business focus

Don’t want to think too deeply about the style of your slides? You can always just use pitch deck templates. Those are pre-filled template slides with a particular topic or user need in mind. The idea is for them to help you customize a previously outlined design for a new presentation. Use them to save up on time and design efforts and tailor them to your company.

7. Make the most of pictures and videos

Use the technique Aaron Weyenberg, a slide deck master, calls dupe-and-mask . According to Weyenberg, you should bring the viewers’ attention to a part of an image while making the rest transparent. And, you should follow this up with showing the whole picture at the end. With this technique, you direct attention to certain parts for emphasis and avoid losing people’s interest in the entire image. 

For videos, Weyenberg suggests never using the auto-play option. Though it might sound like a good idea to rely on this option to keep the flow going, any faux pas to its workings can end up disrupting your presentation. Keep control on your side to start the video whenever you want that to happen, instead.

Image contains a slide deck example

8. Follow the Rule of Three

Back again to Apple’s most famous orator. In his speeches, Steve Jobs would introduce three benefits of a particular product. Why three? It is said to be the magic number when it comes to the mind's ability to hold information. In February 2007, he teased the audience by saying they should expect three products that night. These were “a new iPod, a phone, and an internet communication device.” It turned out that it was three products found in one: the iPhone.

Three features, three key stats, three words that sum up the user experience. You can always tap into the power of three in your presentation. Three is short enough to entertain, but it is not too short either to lack the capacity to educate.

9. Take the Hero vs Villain Approach

If you have a protagonist, then you must have an antagonist. You can approach it this way: present a problem that an existing competitor cannot solve or has unwittingly created. Then present your solution.

Take again the example of Airbnb. Though the presentation took pieces of information from Couchsurfing.com and Craigslist.com, such as the market size, it also won in one area. It was able to show the investors what set Airbnb apart. After all, the two other businesses were already providing the market with bookings and listings of local places. Yet, Airbnb said they can do better by allowing hosts to earn and guests to book in three simple steps.

10. Detach from Distractions

Go easy on the transitions that are available in your slide deck creator . As mentioned earlier, these can only distract the audience. Worse, they can be annoying. Flipping or dissolving the page can feel like a cheap trick when it comes to gaining the attention of listeners.You know that some of the most important people you will meet in your lifetime are watching.  Why risk falling into that trap?

So do not be boring. If transitions are built into your template deck, take the time to edit them out. You are dealing with the ideal 10-20 slides after all. It will not be too much of a chore. But if you really have to use them, just settle for the subtle ones. And use the same type across the deck.

11. Let the audience speak

When you’re delivering a pitch, you want people to be able to reach you. For any kind of presentation, the best way of knowing the impact you had is by listening or studying up on people’s responses. 

End your pitch with your contact information and open yourself up to dialogue. Make sure the audience can ask questions and give feedback. Doing so is an excellent way of improving and following up with potential business contacts.

12. Moderate Motion

If you need to insert a video clip, do not set it on auto-play. You should be able to control the clip when it is its turn to show up in your presentation. A common scenario would have the presenter clicking to the desired slide and then the player failing to load the video at once. Sometimes this causes a brief moment of panic on the presenter's end. Instead of having the video play with one more click, they cause the deck to advance to the next slide. Weyenberg recommends setting the video to click to play. This way, you have established control over the video clip.  

As the day of the presentation nears, you can also feel the pressure rise. You certainly want to please the investor crowd once you get up on the stage. It can already be challenging, especially for first-timers, to condense the business model and story into a 20-minute pitch. The deck only comes secondary to that.

And yet, building a better, more effective slide deck is an important part of the preparation. It is no easy feat in itself.  To show your commitment, you have to allow yourself to be creative while working within the parameters of a great, time-tested design.

To relieve you of some of the pressure, here are a few more recommendations and examples from other evangelists such as Guy Kawasaki . Online, you can also find templates that you can use on the go, such as the ones crafted by Slidebean. These business presentation templates have been created with startups in mind. Incorporate the 10 tips and tricks you just learned into these templates, and you will be on your way to dishing out a slide deck that will make your story stand out.

Presentation design tips for startups: 

How to make your pitch deck stand out.

Creating a blockbuster slide deck needn't be an agonizing experience akin to passing a kidney stone. It's like any other serious task—you take it one step at a time until you eventually produce something that makes your own eyes light up. Let's examine four critical ideas behind the art of cranking out a top-notch slide deck that impresses even jaded venture capitalists who have already seen numerous elevator pitch examples .


1. reduce your product or service to its elemental form.

Image contains a phone over another phone

It's understandable that after being deeply immersed in the development process for months or even years, you might believe that merely describing your product or service requires many, many words. This is a common delusion. Even a sophisticated metallurgical process for manufacturing highly specialized aircraft parts can be briefly and cogently described to smart laypeople.

Wealthy investors tend to be more knowledgeable than most about an astonishing array of complex topics, but they aren't necessarily experts in their target industries. They reasonably expect you to use your insider knowledge to bring the essence of your startup business and its attendant technology portfolio to them for easy comprehension. The fruits of this exercise will be useful when you start selling your product to customers.

Trying to explain your business model to a bright school-age child will yield ample results. If you don't have children of your own, another company stakeholder or business associate, might. You could run into the most amazingly insightful questions, leading you to refine your explanation for adults.

Consider the following hypothetical explanation to a smart child:

"Jet aircraft fly high and fast. Their engines work hard and get very hot. Some parts in these engines are beaten up thousands of times a second. It's almost as if a mean but invisible wolverine was trying to tear them apart with red-hot teeth. These engine parts have to be amazingly tough. We specialize in making tough metal alloys for jet engine components. Some metals don't mix easily, but we've learned how to make titanium, iron, and aluminum play together. Our jet engine parts are better at fighting that wolverine. We're starting a business to make lots of tough jet-engine parts for aircraft manufacturers like Boeing and Lockheed Martin. This business could make a lot of money."

Simplistic, sure—but you get the idea. Reaching extreme simplicity makes it easier to subsequently tailor the explanation to nearly any target audience.


Image contains people in a train station

No business model is complete without a clear explanation of how you plan to crush your competitors. A detailed, believable plan for first establishing a firm toehold in your chosen commercial niche and then steadily expanding your company into solid profitability and eventual marketplace domination would be perfect.

Defining the boundaries of a marketplace niche can be deceptively difficult. The scope and capabilities of existing software packages tend to expand relentlessly into related niches, and even longstanding physical products can abruptly swerve into irrelevancy as technology advances. You'll benefit greatly from closely studying not just obvious competitors but major players in related industries. It's hard work, and you might want to hire a professional researcher to sniff out recent or obscure developments that could impact your business model.

Quite apart from straightforward competition, the proliferation of broad technology patents could throw a major monkey wrench into your plans. Are you certain a patent troll hasn't already abusively filed for a vaguely worded patent that only anticipates your business idea without actually implementing it? If necessary, a patent researcher can help with this esoteric field of research. Your prospective investors will ask these questions if you don't, so being prepared will forestall potential embarrassment and instant loss of credibility.


3. brevity and clarity are golden.

Experienced investors keep their checkbooks close to their vests and their skepticism primed. The simplest way to avoid turning them off is to say as little as possible while still saying everything you need to say.

Consider a hypothetical example of clarity vs. brevity. Can you spot the essential differences between these two passages?

The second passage is a touch longer than the first, but it feels shorter and sweeter nonetheless because it crams action and vivid imagery into the production instead of turtle words that leave your audience longing for the end.

Slow-moving notions like 'carefully designing' and 'widest possible audience' make way for intensity like 'love the idea' and 'spotting high-flying UFOs, attack crows and approaching tornadoes'.

This sort of enthusiastic efficiency is less common than you might think. Stuffing your sentences with focused images of enthusiastic customers and commercial success across multiple markets works far better than populating them with plodding descriptions that strike potential investors as boring, unimaginative, and unfortunate.


Image contains two computers on a table

The human brain is inherently visual. The available mental bandwidth for visual elements is far greater than for written and spoken words. Whether you use a pitch deck template or hire a professional pitch deck design service ,  your presentation needs to have harmoniously matched colors and hues that tell a richer, more satisfying story that transcends the dimensional flatness of text.

As with every other aspect of a powerful presentation, irrelevancies must be tossed out. Always ask yourself how a proposed visual element contributes to the clarity of the business vision you want to convey.

A picture or even a small movie of a cute puppy romping in a sunlit meadow as it happily anticipates the success of your company might raise a chuckle, but it's not relevant to your presentation.

The same logic applies to random cityscapes, panoramic views of industrial complexes, and close-ups of machinery—unless the machinery is the business idea you're pushing.

Animations that concisely illustrate key industrial and marketing concepts are great as long as they stay on point and stop immediately once they've finished the job. It's easy to fall in love with an animation for its own sake, so keep animations under control. Fancy transitions that contribute nothing are irrelevant. If you must, use quick fades and simple sliding transitions. Your audience will appreciate the courtesy of not being subjected to someone's badly concealed ambition to be a filmmaker.

Needless to say, superimposed text should always clearly stand out from the underlying image. Serif typefaces generally work better because their ornamented letters are less easily confused with natural straight lines and curves in the underlying images. Don't be afraid to let your words strut their stuff in large, bold letters that contrast sharply with the background.

As tempting as it might seem to use software tools make your words jiggle, bounce, and soar, don't do it. Hyperactive letters waste time, are distracting, and will probably annoy your audience.

Do keep in mind that color blindness is common enough that you should test your visual elements on as many volunteers as possible to avoid inadvertently alienating an important investor. For that matter, you might also want to keep an alternative presentation on hand that has entirely textual elements as a backup plan for sight-impaired individuals.

Finally, remember to test your slide projections under realistic conditions before setting them in stone. Ambient lighting can adversely affect the visibility of your projections. Always be prepared!

Are you struggling with your Pitch Deck? We have a Slide Deck Design Service .

Where to Find the Best Free Slide deck Templates in 2023?

So, we've covered everything you need to know about slide decks. Still, one crucial question remains: where do you find the best slide deck templates for 2023? Well, we got you covered. 

Slidebean has the best slide deck templates in 2023, and we have the experience to prove it. We've helped thousands of founders pitch to investors and land crucial funding. We at Slidebean can also help you fine-tune your financial model. Plus, if you have an existing slide deck, we can help you improve it. 

So, check out these slide deck templates and write to us if you need more help with your slide deck.

We have a video about how to create a slide deck for investors.

The Best slide deck templates:


Giving more successful presentations.

Do you want to read more on how to make better presentations? Check our CEO’s article on slide deck presentation design , or take a look at Slidebean Agency for more information on all things startup pitch deck related.ion on all things startup pitch deck related.  


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Year 2021 is passing by quickly, eh? Yet, we’re still in a good time to consider what industries are blooming in the startup world. So we’ve drawn a list of the 14 best innovative startup ideas for you.

creating a deck presentation

Pitching to investors can be a daunting task for entrepreneurs, especially when you're trying to secure funding for your startup. But with the right approach, you can make a compelling case for your business and increase your chances of getting the funding you need. In this article, we'll take a look at some tips and best practices for pitching to investors.

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This is a functional model you can use to create your own formulas and project your potential business growth. Instructions on how to use it are on the front page.

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creating a deck presentation

Christine vs. Work: How to Make a Presentation Deck That Doesn’t Stink

You’re staring at a blank slide deck in agony. Now what?

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Where your work meets your life. See more from Ascend here .

When you land your first job, you’re eventually going to be asked to give a slide deck presentation — whether it’s to propose a new idea, summarize your accomplishments, or report out metrics on a project. But how do you deliver a slideshow that really blows people away? If you’re not a graphic designer or a superstar at presentation software (you know, Powerpoint and the like), what’s the best way to approach building a deck? And how do you succeed at putting on a good show?

In this episode, Christine speaks with Dan Zedek , professor of journalism and media innovation at Northeastern University and a design professional, about how to write and design a presentation with energy and impact.

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CHRISTINE LIU: OK. Confession time. I do not get slide decks. You know, PowerPoint, or Google Slides, all that presentation stuff. When I have to make one, or many, for work, it’s a bundle of emotions. I have to figure out, like, how to jam all this information into slides. I’m not a designer, so I’m freaking out that it, like, looks ugly. I think we are intimately aware of what makes a bad presentation. You know, the horribly garbled visual metaphors. Barbarically misaligned text and images. Oof. And we can all agree, the worst sin of all, reading exactly verbatim copy from the slide. Oh my goodness, their eyes aren’t even leaving the screen. I’m going bananas. Make it stop. Make it stop. Make it stop.

Look. All the information that we’re asked to present, it could theoretically be in an email. But we are being asked to present it, not write and send it. So, in essence, I have to put on a good show. You know, a presentation is a show. The question is, how do I transform just a slide deck into a great show?

DAN ZEDEK: I think a really excellent presentation is one where I feel really engaged. I learned something, but I also feel engaged with the speaker. I’m both taking stuff in, but also leaning forward in my seat a little bit.

CHRISTINE LIU: I talked with Dan Zedek. He’s a professor of journalism and media innovation at Northeastern University, and he’s also been design director for a lot of publications.

My biggest fear is that I see the blank document. I know I have to do a presentation, and I just feel like I’m filling in boxes, while also having this anxiety that what I’m doing is a waste of time and I’m just going to bore everyone.

DAN ZEDEK: As somebody from a design background, I frequently deal with this perception that people can’t draw. They’re not designers. They have a good eye, but they’re not visual. And, really, the real sweet spot for designers is understanding content, and how to organize content, and how to organize information, and that’s really most of it. You know, a beautiful presentation, or one that has beauty to it, but isn’t well-organized, is much worse than one that is relatively simple visually, but is well-organized.

CHRISTINE LIU: So what other sins are there, common mistakes, that you see all the time?

DAN ZEDEK: Well, I think one of the common mistakes comes from people feeling insecure about their visual talent, and they tend to sort of overload things. Too many photos. Irrelevant photos. Too many colors. Too many typefaces. I mean, keeping it simple is always better, because it adds clarity. And I would say that another sin that I see frequently is a slide that’s just up there for, like, five or six minutes. And, you know, your mind wanders, frankly.

CHRISTINE LIU: How long is too long for anyone to expect to pay attention?

DAN ZEDEK: This is a scary answer, because there actually has been some research on this. People’s patience is about six or seven minutes, actually, which is way shorter than your presentation is going to be. So then you get back to pacing. How far is it between big points? If I asked a question at the beginning of the presentation, how long before I answer it? Ideally, every slide should be up there for, ideally, 30 seconds, but no more than a minute. So, if you have a slide that takes four or five minutes to talk across, that’s a sign that you probably have a big idea, which could be broken down into smaller pieces.

CHRISTINE LIU: So, I have another question. Am I supposed to bring some of myself into this presentation and have personality, or is it just stick to the facts, data, clear, organized, done?

DAN ZEDEK: Well, I think it should be all of you, in a way. There’s many different parts of you. There’s a part of you that is authoritative. There’s a part of you that’s organized. There’s a part of you that’s engaging. There’s a part of you that’s funny. Even if all you’re transmitting is your passion for the subject, all those things are personal traits, also, and you can sort of figure out the proportions based on your audience, in a way, and what it is you’re trying to get across.

CHRISTINE LIU: How much does the audience and who’s in the audience change or affect the way you design the visuals of the presentation, if any?

DAN ZEDEK: I think who’s in the audience is maybe the key question, actually, because it’s not just that you want to get some information across, but you want to get it across to specific people. So you need to understand why they’re there, what they’re hoping to get from it, and, also, some of their background and cultural background.

CHRISTINE LIU: I just want to emphasize that. The audience is key. You want to make sure you know what the audience expects out of your presentation, and you want to read the room, or virtual room. You know, if there’s a key stakeholder there, and their style is they love to get to the point, you might want to get to the point.

I just created a new presentation file, and I’m just looking at a blank slate. Where do I even start?

DAN ZEDEK: I often start with, literally, an outline, written in a text edit, or some other way, and then I start putting that into slides, without any visuals, just to see what I have, and how the pacing is working out, and what are my, sort of, key points.

CHRISTINE LIU: Then how do you get from there to not just dumping in text?

DAN ZEDEK: So your top-level points, which are sort of the takeaways, those probably should be text in the slide, as well, because you want people to read those short phrases and remember them. But the secondary things, those are places where you don’t want to put the text up there. You want to think about a visual or a graphic that echoes and amplifies, rather than just merely repeats it.

CHRISTINE LIU: OK. Let’s dig into that a little more. The design. All right. I think I have good taste, but I definitely don’t have visual vocabulary or a skill set. So we have a text outline. Then how do I just bring it to life?

DAN ZEDEK: Well, color and animation are incredibly powerful. And, you know, paradoxically, the less you use them, the more powerful they are. So I see a lot of slideshows where people have these really crazy animations between slides. They pivot. They spin. They twirl. They explode. All those sorts of things. Animations can be something really simple, like a red underline on an important concept, or it can be a chart that unfurls from left to right. It doesn’t need to be really fancy or complex. It should always be driven by the content.

CHRISTINE LIU: This is super important. So your animations, graphics, colors, they must be in service to your content. Otherwise, they’re going to be irrelevant. I just want to verbally underline that.

DAN ZEDEK: I do my presentations, typically, with one color, like, black and one more color, maybe two, sometimes, but that’s a lot already. You know, if you’re just using black and red, or black and yellow to highlight something, you’re making a really strong impression. And I try to use color consistently. So if I’m using yellow, for example, to highlight an important word, I’ll use it all the way through the presentation in the exact same way, so you’re making a mental association for the viewer. Oh, when that little yellow thing comes on, that’s something I should pay attention to.

CHRISTINE LIU: OK. To recap, this is going to be a little meta, but I’m going to build a presentation, based on Dan’s points, that will illustrate how to make a better presentation. It’s going to be a show. BRB.

DAN ZEDEK: Don’t be scared. You know, listen to your audience. You know them. You know this topic. You’ll make it work.

CHRISTINE LIU: OK. Ugh. I’m so nervous now. All right. Here we go. From one friend to another, how to build a better presentation deck. And, yes, I just committed the first sin. Oh, I can’t do this. I’m going to give you five really easy, practical tactics for making your already decent deck even better.

So, one is just get started. Don’t worry about the images or anything. Just create a text outline. I just kind of wrote it out, the story, how I want to present my ideas, and just focus on them. Next, you want to think about pacing. So you don’t want people to be staring at your slide for more than one minute. You want to aim for that sweet spot of, maybe, 30 seconds to a minute. If you find yourself going over, that’s fine. Just either shorten your presentation or make more slides. That’s easy.

Next, you want to think about your images and any visuals that you’re using. Is it really serving and supporting the content and ideas that you’re trying to build? If not, or if you’re on the fence, less is more. You do not want reams and reams of copy on your slides. This is not about scripting. This is about putting words that will help guide your audience and create that impact. Everything else, leave it in the speaker’s notes.

And then, lastly, think about who’s in the audience. What’s going through their minds? Why would they be interested in listening to you? So give them the answers that they need, giving it in a way that resonates with them and connects with them. OK. This is the most important thing to remember, at the end of the day, which is, they want you. Don’t be scared. They’re inviting you to bring your ideas, and expertise, and your voice to the stage, right? So what could be a friendlier invitation than that? Just let your ideas shine and be yourself.

There you go. So I gave the presentation. I think I did a solid job, and I started with a template, but I modified it, and I tried my best. But, you know, I want to hear your thoughts. Was it clear? Did the visuals work? Was the pacing OK? Like, how did I do? Let me in the comments.

creating a deck presentation

Partner Center

Creating a slide deck for any occasion.

Make a slide deck that shows off your ideas, holds your audience’s attention, and even entertains them.

Collage of different presentation slides

Remember that you’re telling a story.

Whether you’re presenting a pitch deck, leading a webinar, or simply sharing your ideas with your team, keep in mind that humans naturally think in terms of narrative. In fact, neuroscientists have discovered that listening to a story can activate all parts of the brain and even lead to changes in behavior. As a presenter, you can take advantage of this human quirk. By sharing a story with a beginning, middle, and end, a presenter draws in audience members and stirs their emotions. Showing sales numbers to potential investors will be more effective when it’s part of a presentation that weaves a compelling narrative. Creating a slideshow highlighting important data can help you relay the high points of a dense report to your employees. No matter the information, before you start thinking about specific presentation slides, ask yourself what story you want to tell. Who is your audience and how do you want them to respond?  

A professional presentation in three acts.

Present your story as a classic three-act play with your audience as the hero. What do they want? What obstacles must they overcome to achieve their goal? Begin with the first obstacle, and build a little suspense before you offer the solution. You might tell a smaller story about facing that obstacle, giving it a place in the larger narrative. Then move onto the next obstacle and do the same.

In the second act, present your solution to the problem. What is it and how does it work? How will it successfully help your heroes reach their goal?

In the final act, your narrative ends with the audience getting what it needs: resolution. Their problem is solved with the help of your solution or product, and maybe something extra — like a problem they haven’t even anticipated — is also solved. Once you’ve filled in the details of this basic structure, you’re ready to start making slides.

Collage of different presentation slides

Put design principles to work.

Slide design is crucial for every deck, no matter the presentation software you’re using. Working elements of visual storytelling into your entire presentation will ensure that even audience members watching on laptops stay engaged. Just follow these simple rules:

Stick to a visual theme. A consistent look — with consistent typography and a basic color scheme — will help your audience stay focused on the content of your slides.

Keep it simple. Avoid cluttering your deck with endless charts, tables, or bullet points too small for everyone to read. Allow for plenty of white space on each slide, so the crucial information stands out.

Find the right tools for every job. Pie charts are great for demonstrating percentages. Vertical bar charts show changes over time better than horizontal bar charts, which are best for comparing quantities. To visually represent trends, a line chart is your best bet. You might also try creating an infographic to help your audience visualize your data or to tell a smaller story within your larger narrative.

Incorporate video or audio. People sit up straighter and pay closer attention when you break up your static slides with video and audio. Use motion and sound to help draw your audience’s focus to your key takeaways.  

Make your design elements sparkle with Adobe InDesign.

To create an impactful and entertaining presentation without starting from scratch, choose one of the many presentation templates in Adobe Stock and open it in InDesign. Then import your brand logo  and other marketing assets for a consistent look.

Once you’ve got the visual theme and color palette you want, consider including surprise elements like high-quality Adobe Stock photographs, illustrations, or even movie clips to help your work really stand out. Plus, in InDesign, a simple two-step command allows you to export and preview, so you can immediately see every single slide through your audience’s eyes.

To start a presentation from scratch, follow these steps:

1.  Find the right page size.

Click on File in the InDesign main menu, then New Document. A dialog box will open. If you’re not sure what dimensions to use, set the page width to 12 inches and the page height to 9 inches. Click Create and a blank page will appear.

2.  Choose your background.

Remember to keep it simple, but look for a striking background image that works with text overlay. The deck’s title can also become part of the background.

3.  Create paragraph styles.

Keeping it simple applies to your text too. Select no more than three text styles to keep the title font, body font, and footnote font consistent throughout the presentation. Creating paragraph styles also allows you to change font and size with a click of a button, saving you time in the long run.

4.  Set up master pages.

Master pages streamline your slide design workflow and ensure your presentation looks professional and well designed. You can create one slide with three columns, one with a big background image as a transitional slide, one that highlights a customer quote — the list goes on. Add image and text frames to the master pages so you can drop your content in later without having to overthink the layout.

5.  Add images and text.

Once you’ve created the master pages, it’s easy to drag and drop Photoshop (.PSD) files, PDFs, Illustrator (.AI) files, JPEGs, PNGs, or GIFs into the image frames. To add text, just copy and paste text files or select the Type Tool from the toolbar and type directly into the text frame.

6.  Add page numbers.

Page numbers will help you and your audience keep track of any sequentially paged documents. To insert page numbers, select Type from the main menu, then Insert Special Character, then Markers, and finally Current Page Number. InDesign will automatically number the slides.

7.  Add finishing touches.

From movies and sound clips to hyperlinks, cross references, and page transitions, you’ve got plenty of interactive options to make your story as compelling as possible.

8.  Export your slide deck.

When you’ve finished creating your deck, the final step is to export it in a format that can be projected or distributed. Exporting as Adobe PDF (Interactive) lets you play or click through interactive content directly in the presentation.  

To export, just click File in the main menu, then Export. From the Format dropdown menu, select Adobe PDF (Interactive), and then click Save.

By using InDesign and Adobe Stock as part of a  Creative Cloud for teams  membership, you can get the exact look you want from your presentation, creating a slide deck that educates, entertains, and maybe even enlightens.

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More From Forbes

How to create a pitch deck.

The pitch deck is a presentation that entrepreneurs put together when seeking a round of financing from investors. On average pitch decks have no more than 19 slides.

As described in my book, The Art of Startup Fundraising , ultimately founders need two different sets of pitch decks. One version will be with a lot of text and information which will be shared with people via email. The other version will be the pitch deck that entrepreneurs present to investors in person with more visuals. Having more visuals will contribute to having investors focused on you.

In essence, the three keys to powerful pitch decks that get funded are:

I do a deep dive on pitch decks in a piece that I published not long ago where I cover the pitch deck template that was created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel ( see it here ). Moreover, I also provided a commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400M ( see it here ). In any case, below are essentially the slides that you want to include inside your presentation:

Note that according to research done by DocSend, investors spend on average 3 minutes and 44 seconds per pitch deck. From their study which analyzed 200 pitch decks, investors spent the most amount of time reviewing the slides concerning financials, team, and competition.

The slide covering the problem should be a way for you to explain what gap you are filling in the market. This needs to be a painful problem that people can relate to and that investors would not have issues with understanding.

Furthermore, you are only resolving one problem. Not two or three. You need to come across as someone that is focused and relentless to resolve a known issue.

Normally I would recommend startups to create different slides for the problem and the solution as you don‘t want to overwhelm the investor in one slide.

Note when an investor gets involved with your venture is either because one of the following things:

If an investor falls inside the three buckets of interest cited above at the same time, that means you got your lead investor. This may result in you securing at least 20% of the financing of the entire round that you are looking to raise.

2. Solution

The solution needs to be concise and very clear. Especially if you are a tech startup, your solution needs to be scalable. Scalability is the capability of a system to increase its total output under an increased load when resources are added. This is what investors essentially want to see. A company in which they can invest in order to have the wheel turn much faster.

Moreover, it makes sense on the solution to outline why it makes sense now. As you may know timing is everything in business and being at the right time in history is what really matters. Being too early or too late to market can be the main cause of failure for startups.

Avoid statements referencing you being the only one doing this, you being the clear leader, etc. Just like Mark Cuban puts it, there are at least 100 people that have come up with that idea before you and other companies that may be tackling that same problem with a different approach.

The market is going to determine the potential exit of the investor. If you are operating in a small market also the returns could be impacted by this.

Remember that any market that is under $1B might not be that attractive to an investor in hyper growth businesses. The reason for this is mainly because these investors are on the hunt for investment opportunities that may provide a 10x return in a horizon of 5 to 7 years.

Ultimate investors, and especially institutional investors, look for companies that will not only transform or disrupt their industry but have the potential to fundamentally reshape the way consumers interact with a market.

My recommendation is to show on this slide a graph that outlines the market growth in the past and the future potential growth so that investors can quantify the upside and potential ROI on their investment. Make sure you are including sources from research papers.

This slide is all about showing screenshots of your product in action. To make it even more powerful you may want to add some description about the product itself and some quotes of some of your existing clients talking about how much they love your product.

5. Traction

This slide should show the month over month growth of the business (e.g. revenue, metrics, etc). This is the slide where you would include hopefully the famous hockey stick that investors want to see on every pitch deck they review. Getting to this type of “promise land“ for startups is not easy.

In the event you are very early stage or your growth is not that interesting I would avoid including it. To give you an idea, accelerator programs like Y Combiner expect at least 15% month over month growth.

The team is probably one of the most important slides in any pitch deck. The investor wants to know who is driving the bus and what makes them so unique to execute on that mission and vision. Note there are at least 100 other people that have also thought about your same idea. For that reason idea is 10% and 90% is from execution.

If you have the right people seated on the right seats of the bus the company will end up finding its direction to success.  Unfortunately when you are investing in a first time founder you are also investing in that individual‘s education and all the mistakes he or she will make during the early days. This is always part of the journey and there is no way to go around it.

The best way to showcase the team slide is by just describing the members of the leadership team (ideally cofounders). List in bullet points what have been the two or three achievements from every member. Ideally those would be related to the company that is seeking capital.

7. Competition

A diagram is a good idea to show the investor the competitors that you have executing in your space. How you compare to them and where you land with your value proposition.

You want to clearly differentiate yourself from the rest so that the person that is reviewing the slide gets what makes your company so unique.

Perhaps another slide that you want to include is one that describes how much capital each competitor has already raised in the past and at what valuation. This could help in providing some perspective of how much the market is paying. This could also play in your favor when the time comes to negotiate the terms of the deal or proceeding with a potential investment.

8. Financials

Normally you want to shoot for at least 3 years of projections. There are some institutional investors that even ask for 5 years of projections but in my experience these investors tend to be the least sophisticated ones.

Even though projections are a shot in the dark when you are dealing with startups, they do provide a good idea of where the business is heading and potential outcomes. It also give a good idea to the investor as to how grounded the management of the the company is.

This slide is more important than entrepreneurs normally think. When you first connect with an institutional investor they will ask for your pitch deck. 3 months later they will ask you on your next meeting where things are at and then they will make a decision. With this in mind, it is always a good idea to be more on the conservative side and to over deliver. Worst thing that can happen is for you to completely miss the mark and under promise.

Additionally you will need to have ready your financials in Excel format as investors may want to see that after reviewing your pitch deck. For that reason you do not need to go into much detail on the deck. All you need is to provide a summary.

9. Amount being raised

On the ask slide you want to be strategic. Do not put a specific amount that you are raising. For example, if you would like to raise $5 million, I would suggest putting a range between $3 million and $5 million. Firms have limitations on their investment which means that if you place $5 million in your pitch deck and that firm has a mandate to not invest over $3 million, you will most likely have them pass. By including the range from $3 million to $5 million on the raise amount you are also including such firms. For that reason you want to be attractive to as many targets as possible, so go with ranges instead of specific amounts.

Most founders forget to include in their pitch deck their contact information. If you have a large following on social media you should include the links on the cover slide. I find this would provide social proof. Interested investors will most likely look you up and will also reach out to people in common in order to ask for references.

If you are serious about your pitch deck it is not a bad idea to ask someone with a high-level understanding of sales psychology to take a look at your deck. A couple of tweaks to images, placement, and words could make a multi-million dollar difference.

Alejandro Cremades

10 tips on how to make slides that communicate your idea, from TED’s in-house expert

creating a deck presentation

When your slides rock, your whole presentation pops to life. At TED2014, David Epstein created a clean, informative slide deck to support his talk on the changing bodies of athletes . Photo: James Duncan Davidson/TED

Aaron Weyenberg is the master of slide decks. Our UX Lead creates Keynote presentations that are both slick and charming—the kind that pull you in and keep you captivated, but in an understated way that helps you focus on what’s actually being said. He does this for his own presentations and for lots of other folks in the office. Yes, his coworkers ask him to design their slides, because he’s just that good.

We asked Aaron to bottle his Keynote mojo so that others could benefit from it. Here, 10 tips for making an effective slide deck, split into two parts: the big, overarching goals, and the little tips and tricks that make your presentation sing.


Aaron used this image of a New Zealand disaster to kick off a slide deck from TED’s tech team — all about how they prepares for worst-case scenarios. He asked for permission to use the image, and credited the photographer, Blair Harkness. View the whole slidedeck from this presentation.

The big picture…

Here, a lovely image from a slidedeck Aaron created about the redesign of TED.com . View the whole deck from this presentation .

And now some tactical tips…



Lastly, I’d love to leave you with a couple book recommendations. The first is Resonate , by Nancy Duarte. It’s not so much about slides, but about public speaking in general – which is the foundation for any presentation, regardless of how great your slides are. In it, she breaks down the anatomy of what makes a great presentation, how to establish a central message and structure your talk, and more. (One of her case studies comes from Benjamin Zander’s charming TED Talk about classical music, a talk that captivated the audience from start to finish.) Think of this as prerequisite reading for my second recommendation, also by Duarte: Slide:ology . This is more focused on presentation visuals and slides.

Happy slide-making.

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5 Tips for Creating an Amazing Slide Deck

Ceri Savage

Slide decks are becoming increasingly popular as people from all industries celebrate them for what they are: a platform for sharing ideas. More than just a presentation support tool, a slide deck is a modern and engaging way to capture a message and pass it on.

Websites like SlideShare are rapidly expanding beyond the realms of business. Freelancers, average workers, and entrepreneurs are all embracing the platform, making more and more critical for you to be able to create high-impact, powerful slide decks.

This slide deck is from Nomadic Matt, a popular travel blogger, also using the platform to spread his message on cheap travel:

How to travel the world on $50 a day from Nomadic Matt

Why slide decks are important

Recent research shows that people view 7 million SlideShare pages every day . Rather than reading through blog posts and articles, in a new age of streamlined efficiency, people prefer to flick through slides. The information is immediate, straightforward and accessible. Furthermore, the same research shows that the platform receives 500% more traffic than LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook from business owners. That makes it a 500% more efficient social networking platform than the most obvious choices.

Getting Started With SlideShare from LinkedIn SlideShare

The potential of slide decks is growing – and you should be a part of the rising trend. Read on to find out how.

How to set up a slide deck

Firstly, you have to face the technicalities of setting up a slide deck. Thankfully, they are simple to create, use and share. So anyone can do it. Find a software like Keynote or PowerPoint to get started. The templates are all there ready to go. Play around, customize slides and learn how to insert material. Remember: if you are creating a slide deck for a presentation, know which projector you are using, its resolution and the format required for the computer.

For more details on the technical setups of a slide deck, check out this article for the basics .

Although it’s important to know how to create a slide deck, most professionals agree that the more significant question is how to format and design the content. There are thousands of articles, posts and slide decks out there telling you how to create the perfect presentation. And telling you what not to do…

5 Presentation Design Mistakes to Avoid from Presentation Panda

We have researched the key advice from the experts for you. We have collaborated all suggestions into 5 top tips on which everyone agrees. So follow the tips below for the ultimate pathway to a perfect presentation!

1 – Establish the idea

Capital isn’t that important in business. Experience isn’t that important. You can get both of these things. What is important is ideas.” – Harvey S. Firestone.

Step one – forget about your slides! First of all, think about something more important: your message. Develop a narrative around it; create an effective story to affect the audience in a personal and emotive way. Decide how to structure your presentation for the most impact. Your idea is the focus. Your message is where the energy is. Once the content is solidified, then you can create the support system – the actual slide deck.

2 – Embrace simplicity

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo DaVinci

One golden rule of slide decks is keeping to a single idea per slide. Texts and images are then there to support that one concept. This valuable technique structures your slides in an easy-to-follow format. Both for you and your audience. It establishes a clear narrative and reinforces the most important elements of your presentation. Keep up the simplicity of effects. Avoid the temptation to overload with animations and transitions between slides that only distract from the content.

Not sure where to start? Stick to the averages: 14 slides per presentation and 25 words per slide.

3 – Words, words, words

“Some people have a way with words, and other people…oh, uh, not have the way .” – Steve Martin

Have a way with words! Make them powerful and impacting in your slide deck. One of the best ways to do this is by portraying your idea with straightforward language. Then discuss deeper concepts through speech if you are presenting. But keep the text on screen simple. Break down your message into small chunks and display them one chunk at a time, one slide at a time.

However, the text isn’t just about content. It’s just as much about the format, image, and presentation of the words as it is about what they are actually saying. They are another source of visual stimulation – an additional image to your slide deck. Find different and exciting fonts. Try out Ubuntu or Cantora One and forget about your standard Arial or Times New Roman. Choose an engaging color scheme and stick to it consistently.

One more golden rule: Don’t display more than 15 words per slide! Less is more.

4 – Use captivating visuals

“Create your own visual style…let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.” – Orson Welles

There are countless benefits to using visuals in your slide deck. They support a storytelling narrative to your presentation. They enhance emotive impact. And, they materialize abstract concepts. But there is another fantastic thing they do, which people forget – they personalize your presentation. By using images, you create your own visual style. So be aware of the images you use – they can act as a template for others to identify your work and your ideas.

Check out this article to find out the best sources for slide deck images.

Simple but strong visuals go a long way. Make sure the images pair with the text and support it. Don’t be afraid to fill a whole slide with a picture, in order to keep the message focused. Be funny, inspiring, bold, and most of all, make an impact!

5 – Call the audience to action

“Many great ideas go unexecuted, and many great executioners are without ideas. One without the other is worthless.” – Tim Blixseth

What starts as an idea, ends in action. Just like at the beginning, take a step back from design and refocus on your message. You’ve put it all out there, now what do you want back from your audience? Include contact details, social media titles, and links to further information. Hyperlink the text and let your audience act on the message your slide deck has presented.

You can also use links throughout to support your ideas. Just remember: on SlideShare, you cannot input a link into the first three slides of your presentation.

Before you jump up to conclusions, have a look at these 10 tools to help you create the perfect PowerPoint presentation.

Get creating and share your message!

So create your slide deck and enjoy the great potential of the platform for advertising, social networking, and promotion techniques. Now you know how to make the perfect presentation – so share it with the world!

If you don’t have time for mastering your own slides, at 24slides , we create beautiful PowerPoint presentations, using professional design techniques and loads of creativity. Check out some of our presentation examples and let’s get in touch .

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creating a deck presentation

Slide deck presentations are broken.

I once sat through a presentation by a CEO who had prepared two 50+ page slide decks for an important all-hands meeting.

Just the act of building two decks ensured the message would be messy. And using 50+ pages to tell a company story left everyone in the room exhausted (and confused).

Why are building slide decks so tricky? Most people think each slide needs to describe every thought in their head, even if they know better. And I bet you have read all of the articles about preparing slide decks and know this. Yet, you’re still wondering how to communicate the inspiring quote, the graph with all of this detailed data, and the story of how big your company will be if you just owned 1% of the trillion-dollar TAM.

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be this way. You can build beautiful, simple, and effective slide decks that will engage your audience and help you make your point.

And in this article, I will show you how to avoid retrofitting your content into giant presentation templates like this. (This gives me nightmares)

A massive amount of presentation templates

First, avoid opening up your slide deck app

If building a slide deck was the length of a 10k race, opening up the slide deck software would put you at the 8k mark without all of the preparation. You just skipped all of the most important work, which all happens outside of Powerpoint. (I use Figma!)

It can feel compelling to open up Powerpoint, Google Slides, Keynote, or any other fun piece of software. (I lied, Powerpoint is not fun.) But this forces you to think about the design of your slides and everything else that doesn't matter at this point.

So here's what to do first: Open up your favorite writing app and start thinking about the story you want to tell, not how your slides should look. (We'll get to that in a moment.)

Now, we'll look at ways to think about building your slide decks.

Seven tips for structuring your content for an effective slide deck presentation

Even if you're running a company and your employees are being paid to listen to your presentation, they won't. It's you against the audience, and they don't owe you anything.

Now that many presentations are given virtually, it's more important than ever to make sure every slide needs to be there. It's too easy for someone to shut their camera off and tune out.

Tip #1: Build your slide deck like a book

Structure your slide deck like a book

For a moment, think about holding a book in your hands. Just holding it in your hands, it reveals several characteristics that tell us a bit about it.

Books are great examples of setting expectations before we even flip to the first page. Our presentations—no matter how big or small—should help our audience similarly.

We want people to know where they are, and how much time they have left. These unanswered thoughts are running through the minds of your audience, and creating a basic structure like this puts them at ease.

Your slide deck presentation should include:

Tip #2: Every presentation deck should tell a story

Takeaway titles for your slides

Most people immediately start putting too much information into slides. It's easy to make the mistake that your slide decks need a lot of information.

Instead, the story arc of a slide deck presentation should mimic a movie. You'll have a beginning, middle, and end. Each deck should communicate one large idea, and within that, you're sharing supporting ideas, each on its own slide.

How you organize your slides is up to you to create the narrative you want. If you're designing a startup pitch deck for your business, your story will take up a large percentage of the presentation.

“Storytelling is an art combined with science. The artistic part is to understand that a story’s goal is to persuade an investor who most likely starts with the fear of losing their money, and to transition that through your story to a fear of missing out.”— Keith Teare, Accelerated Digital Ventures’ US Managing Partner

Even when trying to persuade investors, if you present a deck with too much information, it will complicate the overall story you're telling.

As Keith lays out for executing a great pitch deck to investors, the key is to answer the following questions:

Tip #3: Present one takeaway per slide

Slide titles should contain the insight or takeaway

It's better to have five slides, each with one main point, versus one slide with five points. One way to focus on this strategy is to title the slide with the ultimate takeaway.

This helps the overall flow of your slide deck and enables you to think only about what the audience needs to hear.

A trick is to view the slide deck presentation in outline view and read through the titles. It should have an overall flow that your audience can understand, as well as be incredibly informative.

If there's one piece of text your audience will read, it's going to be the title. Make sure it summarizes the insight.

Tip #4: Communicate your ideas using the Pyramid Principle

The Pyramid Principle

Your audience is busy. If you're presenting to the C-suite, you might not get through all your slides. The Pyramid Principle was created by Barbara Minto at McKinsey as a method for logically structuring your arguments.

Starting with the answer first and then sharing your supporting ideas seems counterintuitive for many people. But it skips the preamble and delivers the message clearly while giving you time to explore the supporting ideas if there's time.

Tip #5: Avoid too many bullets (stick with 2-3 per slide)

Forgetting what to say is a common fear of giving a presentation. One bad presentation will leave you stuffing your slides with every thought you have, to avoid forgetting everything.

This is how slides with too many bullets create a false sense of safety.

"Each subject saw one representation format only. Subjects who were exposed to a graphic representation of the strategy paid significantly more attention to, agreed more with, and better recalled the strategy than did subjects who saw a (textually identical) bulleted list version."

When you're presenting every single thought you have, the audience has to choose one. Should they listen to you or read the words on your slide? When you're reading aloud, it will create a conflict between your voice and their internal dialogue.

This division makes for a poorly formatted presentation, making the audience choose one or the other.

Tip #6: Aim for 10 slides or less 

We should all have reasonable goals when creating a slide deck. Giving ourselves a goal to have less than 10 slides might feel impossible, but most slide deck templates tempt you to create more than necessary. 

10 slides is a good number to aim for because it forces us to focus on the most important takeaways. Remember, our slide deck does not need every thought we have, so start by creating your deck template with just 10 headlines or less, and see if you can still communicate what you need. 

Most of the time we spend on our presentation template is due to the number of slides we have. Also, the more slides, the longer it takes to deliver. 

Having just 10 slides means we can usually keep the presentation under 20 minutes. 

Tip #7: End with a free call-to-action reward

Aside from the main theme you want to articulate in your presentation, what action do you want them to take?

One of the biggest missed opportunities is to leave the audience without something to do at the end. Maybe it's a URL to fill out a form, or simply a way to contact you. Whatever you do, make sure you use this as the reward for listening to you speak

While asking for their information is the default use case, you can take this further and create something for your audience. If you're giving a talk about being more productive in the workplace, create a list of free ideas for them to do just that, and give them a way to download it after the presentation.

Showing up for your audience shows that you care, and it's a way to connect with those afterward.

How to design your presentation slide deck without relying on free templates

I once redesigned a website for a client, and they had never thought about creating one from scratch before. "I just thought you picked a template and filled it in."

This is what most people do with their own slide decks, which leads to an inconsistent experience and stuffing their slide decks with too much info.

My general advice is not to rely on free slide deck templates. Most are overdesigned, gaudy, and dated. You're also overthinking the layout, and how to retrofit your content into the templates.

This is difficult, and a waste of time.

Instead, start with one idea per slide, then we'll make simple, timeless design decisions to prevent you from redesigning your templates from scratch in the future.

Creating a simple presentation deck template using 2-3 colors, 1-2 fonts, and a basic content structure is all you need to design a slide deck that stands out.

Don't over-design your slide deck presentation

It doesn't matter what kind of slide deck presentation you're giving, you don't need to over-design your slides. This applies to all types of deck formats. A pitch deck, a strategy deck, an informational deck... these all should be using timeless design principles.

Stick to the basics. Where do you start?

Start with a blank template

While this might seem like I’m adding more work, in the end, this reduces the amount of design decisions most slide deck apps force on you. 

Add your titles to each slide

In most apps like Powerpoint or Keynote, you can change the view to “Outline” which will let you see the title of the slide. This is another way to avoid thinking about design for as long as possible, and start putting your content into the slides. 

Even if your presentation doesn’t look great yet, don’t worry! We’ll get there, and we won’t even worry about gradients, drop shadows, video, text effects or animations to build a good looking slide deck. 

Colors: Use three colors + light and dark versions for the body text

Just a few colors take you most of the way

Three colors are all you need when designing a presentation deck. If you have a brand deck, please use those colors and don't deviate from them. Building reputable brands means using the same consistent choices over and over.

Applying brand decisions should be boring.

Here's the simple formula:

I always use this combination of

Primary color

Your primary color is your main brand color. You can use this for your dark backgrounds or any other primary instances. 

This will be the color you use in 80% of cases. When in doubt, use this color for your design decisions. 

I usually bookend my slide decks with this color, using it for the cover slide and end slide. I might also use it for the Table of Contents, and then use a lighter background for the interior pages, just like a book. 

This adds a bit of personality and the sterile look and feel most slide decks have. 

Neutral color

Neutral colors are great for lowering the amount of contrast in a slide. I like to use my neutral color instead of a pure white background, which often gives the presentation a sophisticated feel.

Feel free to experiment, but neutral colors are almost white. In the example above, I'm using the hex value #F9F5F3.

Accent color

An accent color is useful when you need to call out or highlight an important word or section. If you're trying to highlight one of the most important takeaways, try using this as the slide’s background.

The purpose is not to overuse this color, but to use it strategically when necessary.

Avoid using true black and white for body text

Choose colors just inside the black and white spectrum

Most templates will use pure black and white for body text. But these colors are high-contrast, and demand unnecessary attention. Pure black and white don't exist in the world because of the way light reflects off surfaces. Even shadows aren’t pure black because they absorb the color of the surface. (Unless maybe you're in a pitch-black float tank?)

Instead of just going with the defaults, I’ll pull in the ends of each just slightly, so to soften the intensity overall.

Imagine a spectrum of white and black on opposite ends. I choose colors that sit at around 95% of each end. It's hard to notice without comparing them, but that's the point. It creates a more soothing experience, even if no one can tell you're not using pure black and white.

Fonts: Choose a maximum of one or two fonts

First, if your company or brand already uses specific fonts, use those and forget this section! Consistency matters, and you'll only make it more difficult when everyone is choosing a font that matches their attitude that particular day.

You only need one typeface, as long as it has multiple weights. A typeface with multiple weights means it has bold, regular, semi-bold, black, and so on. Those give you a much more flexible family to work with than typefaces with just one.

If you need to use two fonts, you'll want to pick fonts with contrast. This creates visual intrigue, and it’s easy to accomplish using a serif or sans-serif combination. Like, Helvetica and Georgia. 

Avoid picking two fonts that look too similar, like Helvetica and Arial. These two in particular look similar, but they’re slightly different. This makes the overall design look confusing or off .

Use images that have a clear meaning

If you're in a pinch for a photo, try to resist the temptation to find a generic or cheesy stock photo. They make your slide deck look unprofessional and dated. It's better to use no photo than one that adds skepticism to your presentation deck.

If you do use images, make sure they support your story. They should also touch the edges of your slide deck, without any white padding. This will help give your slide deck a more polished feel and help the placed images avoid looking like clip art. 

Illustrations can be useful

I won’t lie and say illustrations can’t be powerful and creative. I’ve used them in my decks. But they aren’t necessary to communicate a good story. The problem with stock illustrations is that they usually look off-brand, or confuse the message more than anything. I try to avoid them at all costs unless you have the budget to hire an illustrator to build them specific to your business. 

Charts and graphs

Charts or graphs can be extremely useful to tailor a story with data. Most of the time you’ll end up using screenshots or displaying other existing work, but if possible, try to create these yourself using your brand colors and aesthetic. 

I use Figma to create all of my charts, but there are plenty of great creative tools like Canva, Keynote, and Figma. (If you want to learn more about using Figma, you can learn more here .)

Use simple grid layouts in your slide deck

creating a deck presentation

Laying out content can always cause a bit of a struggle. It’s best to keep things simple for your content. 

Use a simple grid structure

Imagine your slide deck divided between 1-4 equally spaced columns. This gives you a basic grid when planning how to lay out content in your slide deck. 

Don't add a logo or copyright information on every page

Many slide deck templates will have a spot for brand logos, page numbers, and other elements to make your slide deck feel more professional.

If you need to add copyrights, page numbers, or disclaimers, reserve that for a printed copy of the slide deck. Or go ahead and make a duplicate deck for sharing purposes, because that won't help you during a live presentation, and gives the audience more to look at during your presentation.

Presentation takeaways

During that long presentation with two prepared slide decks and over 100+ slides, we all left that conference room confused and unsure of what we should do next.

So in your next slide deck presentation, remember to do these things:

the 80/20 Design challenge for non-designers

Want to make better decision decisions in the least amount of time? Sign up for the 20-day email design challenge and learn the best tips on typography, layout, colors, and more. Each email will include a video and a design file to help you apply what you learned, immediately.

The 11 Slides You Need to Have in Your Pitch Deck for 2022

An impressive pitch deck is a key part of your fundraising toolkit. Use this detailed guide to figure out exactly what you need to include in your pitch deck to get the attention of investors.

If you’re raising money for your business, having an impressive pitch deck is a key component in your fundraising toolkit. A great pitch deck gets potential investors excited about your idea and engages them in a conversation about your business, hopefully leading to an investment.

In this article, I’m going to give you the formula for what you should include in your own pitch deck. 

I’m leveraging the knowledge I’ve gained from listening to hundreds—if not thousands— of elevator speeches and pitch presentations . I’ve seen all different kinds of pitch decks and presentation styles and found that there’s a simple formula that just works.

I’ve also built my own and presented to major Silicon Valley VC firms over the years and have learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t.

What is a pitch deck?

A pitch deck, also known as a slide deck or start-up deck, is a presentation that provides a brief but informative overview of your business. It should cover the key points of your business plan, the products and services you provide, high-level financial projections, and funding needs. Your pitch deck should work well on its own as a visual document, but it will primarily be used as a tool to tell the story of your business.

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What is the purpose of a pitch deck?

This may sound counterintuitive, but the goal of your pitch deck is not to raise money. What? I know that doesn’t sound right, but the real goal of your pitch deck is to get to the next meeting.

Remember, your pitch deck and pitch presentation are probably some of the first things that an investor will see to learn more about your company. And because investments rarely are made after just one meeting, your goal is to spark interest in your company. You want investors to ask for more after they hear your pitch and not just show you to the door.

So, while a solid pitch deck is critical to raising money, the key goal of the deck is to get to the next step—another meeting and a request for more information.

What to include in your pitch deck

While every business is different, I’ve found that the following format works for most businesses and is most likely to generate interest from potential investors.To get started, download our free pitch deck template , and read on for insight into the importance of the following 11 slides as you develop your own deck.

1. Vision and value proposition

This is a quick one-sentence overview of your business and the value that you provide to your customers. Keep it short and simple. A great way to think about this slide is to imagine it as a short tweet—describe your business in 140 characters or less in a way your parents would understand.

It’s common for tech companies to make their value proposition a comparison to another well-known company. For example, you see many pitches that start with things like:

“We’re the Uber for Pets”
“We’re the Netflix for Video Games”

This can work, but be careful to make sure your comparison makes sense and you’re not just using a high profile company like Uber to signify growth potential. Your business model has to truly be similar to the company you are referencing.

2. The problem

If you aren’t solving some problem in the world, you are going to have a long uphill climb with your business.

Use this slide to talk about the problem you are solving and who has the problem. You can talk about the current solutions in the market, but don’t spend too much time on the competitive landscape on this slide—you’ll have a chance to do that later on.

Ideally, try and tell a relatable story when you are defining the problem. The more you can make the problem as real as possible, the more your investors will understand your business and your goals.

3. Target market and opportunity

Use this slide to expand on who your ideal customer is and how many of them there are. What is the total market size and how do you position your company in the market? If you can find the data , investors will want to know how much people or businesses currently spend in the market to get a sense of the total market size. This is where you tell the story about the scope and scale of the problem you are solving.

If it makes sense for your business, you’ll want to divide your market into segments that you will address with different types of marketing and perhaps different types of product offerings.

Be careful with this slide, though. It’s tempting to try and define your market to be as large as possible. Instead, investors will want to see that you have a very specific and reachable market. The more specific you are, the more realistic your pitch will be.

4. The solution

Finally, you get to dive into describing your product or service. Describe how customers use your product and how it addresses the problems that you outlined on slide two.

You’ll be tempted to move this slide closer to the beginning of your pitch deck, but try and resist the temptation. This is classic storytelling where you build up the problem and describe how bad it is for lots of people. Now your product or service is coming to the rescue to help solve that problem.

Most entrepreneurs are very focused on their product when instead they need to be focused on their customers and the problems those customers face. Try and keep your pitch deck focused with this format and you’ll tell a better story.

If possible, use pictures and stories when you describe your solution. Showing is nearly always better than telling.

5. Revenue model or business model

Now that you’ve described your product or service, you need to talk about how it makes money . What do you charge and who pays the bills? For some businesses (content sites, for example), advertisers pay the bills instead of users, so it’s important to flesh out the details here.

You can also reference the competitive landscape here and discuss how your pricing fits into the larger market. Are you a premium, high-price offering, or a budget offering that undercuts existing solutions on the market?

6. Traction and validation/roadmap

If you already have sales or early adopters using your product, talk about that here. Investors want to see that you have proven some aspect of your business model as that reduces risk, so any proof you have that validates that your solution works to solve the problem you have identified is extremely powerful.

You can also use this slide to talk about your milestones. What major goals have you achieved so far and what are the major next steps you plan on taking? A product or company roadmap that outlines key milestones is helpful here.

7. Marketing and sales strategy

How are you planning on getting customers’ attention and what will your sales process look like? Use this slide to outline your marketing and sales plan. You’ll want to detail the key tactics that you intend to use to get your product in front of prospective customers.

Finding and winning customers can sometimes be the biggest challenge for a startup, so it’s important to show that you have a solid grasp of how you will reach your target market and what sales channels you plan on using.

If your marketing and sales process is different than your competitors, it’s important to highlight that here.

Why are you and your team the right people to build and grow this company? What experience do you have that others don’t? Highlight the key team members , their successes at other companies, and the key expertise that they bring to the table.

Even if you don’t have a complete team yet, identify the key positions that you still need to fill and why those positions are critical to company growth.

9. Financials

Investors will expect to see your financials : sales forecast , income statement (also called profit and loss statement), and cash flow forecast for at least three years.

But, for your pitch deck, you shouldn’t have in-depth spreadsheets that will be difficult to read and consume in a presentation format. Limit yourself to charts that show sales, total customers, total expenses, and profits.

You should be prepared to discuss the underlying assumptions that you’ve made to arrive at your sales goals and what your key expense drivers are.

Remember to try and be realistic. Investors see “hockey stick” projections all the time and will mentally be cutting your projections in half. If you can explain your growth based on traction you already have or compared to a similar company in a related industry, that is extremely useful.

10. Competition

Every business has competition in one form or another . Even if you are opening up an entirely new market, your potential customers are using alternative solutions to solve their problems today.

Describe how you fit into the competitive landscape and how you’re different than the competitors and alternatives that are on the market today. What key advantages do you have over the competition or is there some “secret sauce” that you have and others don’t?

The key here is explaining how you are different than the other players in the market and why customers will choose you.

11. Investment and use of funds

Finally, it’s time to actually ask for the money. That’s why you’re doing this pitch deck, right? I know—I said that this pitch deck isn’t about actually getting funded. That’s still true, but your potential investors do need to know how much money you are looking for.

More importantly, you need to be able to explain why you need the amount of money you are asking for and how you plan on using the money. Investors will want to know how their money is being used and how it is going to help you achieve the goals you are setting out for your business.

If you already have some investors on board, now is when you should be talking about those other investors and why they chose to invest.


Other slides you might include in your pitch deck

While you do want to keep your pitch deck short, sometimes you may need or want to include a few extra slides that help explain your business. You likely won’t utilize them when you present, but it can be a great resource for investors to review after the fact.

Here are a few additional slides that are often found in investor presentations.

Exit strategy

If you are raising money from investors, you’ll need to show them how you plan on giving them a return. You do this in the form of an “ exit strategy ” slide that outlines who your potential acquirers might be if you manage to grow your company and be successful. Having an IPO and going public is a viable option for some high-growth startups, while other businesses are more likely to be bought by larger players in your market.


Some businesses have key strategic partnerships that are critical to their success. This can often be in the form of intellectual property licensing from a university or a key distribution partner who will be taking your product to market. If your success relies on these types of partnerships, it’s important to showcase them.

Demo and screenshots

If you have a prototype of your product, screenshots of your online service, or any other “show and tell” opportunities, it’s great to include a placeholder slide in your deck where you will actually show your potential investors how your product works and what it does.

Other documentation

Keeping your pitch deck as short and succinct as possible is critical. Remember, your goal isn’t to provide investors with all the information they need to make an investment decision. Its primary purpose is to tell a story, build excitement, and help get that all-important request for additional information and a follow-up meeting.

In addition to your pitch deck, you should have more detailed, additional information that you can provide if requested. Preparing these additional documents can also help ensure that you don’t try and fill your presentation with too much overwhelming information.

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Tips to make your pitch successful

Here are a few tips to make your presentation as successful as possible:

Keep your pitch simple 

All entrepreneurs spend countless hours “in the weeds” thinking about every last detail about their business. But, for an investor pitch, less information is better than too much. You want your slides to be simple, convey high-level ideas, and leave room for questions. Simple and straightforward presentations always do better than detailed presentations full of bullets.

Skip the bullets 

Speaking of bullets, skip them. Slides full of bullet points are boring and don’t help tell a story. Try and use large fonts and limit the number of words on each slide. Use images wherever possible to help tell your story and build an emotional attachment to your ideas.

Tell a story 

Don’t just talk about the facts. Instead, focus on grabbing interest and getting your audience excited . Your deck doesn’t need to be the complete guide to your business. It just needs to generate interest so you can move on to the next step. 

One of the best ways to do that is to tell stories about how your customers use your product, how they currently experience problems that need to be solved, and how your company will make the lives of your customers better. The more you can tell stories that investors can relate to, the more you’ll be able to build excitement for your company.

Keep your presentation short

Make sure you have plenty of time for questions, demos, and discussion about your business idea. If you have a one-hour meeting, aim for your presentation to take 20 to 30 minutes.

Don’t overstate the market opportunity

Instead of top-down forecasts where you “only need to get one percent of a huge market” to be successful, focus on bottom-up forecasts where you detail your expectations for how you’re going to acquire customers. 

If you already have data on how an early version of your product is selling, use those numbers to help drive the rest of your forecast.

Ask for the money 

Yes, it’s a slide in the presentation deck above, but entrepreneurs sometimes forget to ask for the money. When you ask, it’s very important to be able to intelligently discuss how the money will be used. Your detailed financial forecasts should also take an influx of cash into account.

Keep your deck current 

Fundraising takes time. You’ll likely pitch your company many, many times before you get an investment. As legend has it, Pandora pitched more than 300 VC firms before getting investment. 

Assuming you’re working to build your company while you pitch to raise money, make sure that you keep your deck up-to-date with your latest progress, roadmaps, and so on. There’s nothing worse than presenting an out-of-date deck to potential investors.

Send your deck as a PDF 

You’ll almost always be asked to either send your slides ahead of time to investors or to leave a copy behind. If this happens, don’t send Powerpoint or Keynote files. Instead, send a PDF. This means that anyone who looks at the deck will see it as you intended with your chosen fonts and styles.

Make sure your deck stands alone without your presentation 

Your pitch deck will always be better when you present it, but it should ideally be able to tell some of your story without you being there to tell it. Investors might want to flip through the deck again after you’re done with your presentation and it needs to have enough content that the deck can stand alone and communicate some of your core ideas.

Documents to have prepared after you pitch to investors

Developing your pitch deck is only the start of your business planning journey. You’ll want to follow-up on a successful investor pitch with the necessary planning documentation to support your presentation. The following are just a few documents that you should have prepared to send after you pitch.

Executive summary

An executive summary sometimes called a summary memo, is a two-to-three-page overview of your business. It’s a document that investors can share with their partners and others in their firm to provide an overview of your business. Your executive summary should cover what’s in your pitch deck but in written form.

Technical documentation 

If you are starting a tech company or medical company, you may be asked to provide some additional detail on your technology. Investors in these types of companies will often want to vet your technical claims with an expert, so providing more detailed documentation, diagrams, workflows, and so on might be important.

Detailed financial models 

Any investor that’s seriously interested in your business will want to see detailed financial forecasts for at least the next three years so they can get an understanding of the underlying assumptions that are driving your forecasts. 

Investors will want to see your plans for hiring and employee-related expenses, R&D expenses, manufacturing costs, marketing expenses, and so on. Be prepared to provide a detailed sales forecast, profit and loss forecast, and cash flow forecast . A balance sheet is also often required. Whenever possible, visually represent your data with graphics . It’s proven to be more effective.

Detailed market research 

You may be asked to provide more details on your target market and the market research you’ve done to date. This isn’t always the case, but if you have the information it’s a good idea to be ready to present it in some format. Again, this data shouldn’t be part of your initial pitch deck, but instead should be ready if it’s asked for.

Start developing your pitch deck

Ready to get started? Download our free pitch deck presentation templates and start working on your pitch in either PowerPoint or Keynote .

You can also find plenty of additional advice in our Elevator Pitch Guide . You’ll learn how to deliver an impactful elevator speech and find all the resources you need to perfect your pitch.

Hear more pitching tips with Peter and Jonathan on the tenth episode of The Bcast, Bplans official podcast:

Click here to subscribe to The Bcast on iTunes »

AvatarNoah Parsons

Noah Parsons


Noah is currently the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of the online business plan app LivePlan. You can follow Noah on Twitter .

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