Tonight I had the opportunity to hear startup pitches at the Harvard Business School New Venture Competition regional final at the Atlanta Tech Village. Being a regional final, this group represented the best HBS-affiliated teams from around the Southeast. Here are five quick presentation tips for startup pitches after seeing tonight’s event:
- Tell a Story – Most of the pitches were product-heavy and not story-oriented. The winner of the event told the best story and made the problem/solution most relatable.
- Invest in Slides – Slides should be visually compelling, even if the investment is modest. Everyone in the audience knows immediately if they’re homemade.
- Don’t Read Slides – One of the presenters read multiple slides to the audience, word for word. Ouch. Engage with the audience and don’t read to them.
- Max 10 Words Per Slide – Slides to be used as handouts are different from slides for a visual presentation. For presentations, don’t use more than 10 words per slide and ensure a sufficiently large font such that the furthest person in the room can see it.
- Infuse Passion – Excitement and genuine enthusiasm need to come through when pitching a startup. If the pitch isn’t passionate, don’t do it.
Overall, the idea is to passionately tell a story with supportive slides. Pitching a startup is more involved than that but this is a good start.
What else? What are some more presentation tips for startup pitches?