5 Quick Presentation Tips for Startup Pitches

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Invest in Slides – Slides should be visually compelling, even if the investment is modest. Everyone in the audience knows immediately if they’re homemade.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?

2 thoughts on “5 Quick Presentation Tips for Startup Pitches

  1. Couldn’t agree with tell a story more. It seems there’s a correlation between pitching a start-up and selling. I would add “paint the dream.” Painting the dream is when you show them the future of what using your product or service looks like. Of course, the future is bright. Very bright.

  2. These are great tips for creating presentations. Max 10 words per slide would be one of the great tips. You are absolutely right. If we add images in to our slide more awesome. Thanks for sharing.

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