The Rules


There is no one form that is guaranteed to make a great pitch.

(As much as possible) Know who is in the audience.

Know what you want from the audience.

Know what the audience expects from you.

Start with the standard pitch form, but do not end there.

Start your pitch with a story.

Grab your audience’s heart.

Never let the audience stop to think.

Do not ask the audience a question.

RULE 10:
Be consistent (in all facts, numbers, units, etc.).

RULE 11:
Each slide needs to have a single purpose.

RULE 12:
Your first pitch deck is just a first draft.

RULE 13:
Remember to make a good first impression. Start strong.

RULE 14:
The opening should be creative, grabbing the audience’s attention.

RULE 15:
Provide a hint that you know what you are talking about.

RULE 16:
Begin by describing a problem and, specifically, whose problem it is.

RULE 17:
Trends convey the importance of a problem.

RULE 18:
Don’t dwell on the problem.

RULE 19:
Avoid leaps of logic.

RULE 20:
Present in “English” rather than jargon.

RULE 21:
If you can present a visual “walk-through,” do it.

RULE 22:
If you have a physical object for “show and tell,” bring it.

RULE 23:
If you are pursuing a big opportunity, flaunt it.

RULE 24:
All organizations need money to operate. Explain your income!

RULE 25:
All companies have competitors.

RULE 26:
Do a thorough job in researching the competition.

RULE 27:
In a competitive matrix, your company is the leftmost column, your competitors are in the other columns, and the features/benefits are in the rows.

RULE 28:
In a competitive matrix, if is important that your company does not appear perfect.

RULE 29:
In a competitive matrix, show only five to seven features/benefits and no more than seven competitors, aggregating them if needed

RULE 30:
If the competitive matrix requires more details, use varying-sized marks, Harvey Balls, or actual values.

RULE 31:
In a magic square, pick two measures and plot the competition such that your company lands in the top-right corner.

RULE 32:
Show how your efforts create a barrier to future competition.

RULE 33:
Present financials as big, simple models that are easy to understand.

RULE 34:
Show off your team, without modesty or boastfulness.

RULE 35:
Every presentation includes an “ask.”

RULE 36:
The pitch is not over on the last slide, but rather after the Q&A.

RULE 37:
Practice your Q&A.

RULE 38:
Write down every question asked.

RULE 39:
Ensure the presentation answers the obvious questions.

RULE 40:
Make sure to address the risks of your plan.

RULE 41:
If pressed for time, skip or shrink a section and provide that information in the allotted Q&A.

RULE 42:
Take control of the close; do not let the last answer linger.

RULE 43:
Less is more. Fewer facts. Fewer words. Better presentation.

RULE 44:
Your presentation needs to stand out. Be a purple cow.

RULE 45:
If you are not excited, the audience won’t care, either.

RULE 46:
Never turn your back on the audience.

RULE 47:
Own the room.

RULE 48:
Scope out the venue.

RULE 49:
Ensure your slides are readable when projected.

RULE 50:
Stick with the black or white text to ensure your slides are legible.

RULE 51:
Design your presentation to be presented to a large room.

RULE 52:
Minimize the wasted space on your slides.

RULE 53:
Use widescreen slides whenever possible.

RULE 54:
No rhetorical questions or any questions that ask the audience to stop and think.

RULE 55:
Don’t tell the audience about themselves.

RULE 56:
No list should have more than seven items.

RULE 57:
Do not read the words off your slides.

RULE 58:
Round all numbers or two to three digits of detail.

RULE 59:
Pick one person on your team to present the whole presentation.

RULE 60:
Supporters should speak only upon request.

RULE 61:
Avoid adding second answers to the Q&A questions.

RULE 62:
Redirect questions to the right member of your team.

RULE 63:
Do not start and end each sentences with the same phrase.

RULE 64:
Entertain the audience.


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