In an elevator pitch, you are it: words, body language, timing, ask…everything. But if you’re doing a pitch with a slide deck, that changes the dynamics of your presentation quite a bit. Here’s one way to approach doing such a presentation, regardless of how long or short that presentation is.

Your slides are the cake. You are the icing. This is a fun way of saying that your slides should have little or no text at all ever, unless it’s absolutely necessary. We have the interwebz, so you can find a picture to illustrate anything, or you can use Fiverr and pay someone a few bucks to create an image that illustrates your point. Then you tell the story behind that picture, much like Instagram: image first, then tell the story.

Are there exceptions to this “no text at all ever” rule? Sure, but that should be your starting point. When you are presenting, ask yourself one question: do you want the audience to have their eyes on you or on your slides?

[Tweet “do you want the audience to have their eyes on you or on your slides?”]

There are times when you want the audience to really see something on your slide. At those times, it is appropriate to be silent and allow your audience a moment to soak up whatever it is you want them to see. But at all other times, your slides are the cake, and you are the icing. They should be looking at you the entire time. For you, that means you must command their attention.

For your slides, it means that they must make a point very quickly, and then enable the audience to refocus back on you for the story or explanation behind that particular slide. Here are 4 points to go by when creating your slide deck for a presentation.

  • A picture tells a thousand words
  • People read at different speeds
  • Text is boring, pictures rock
  • Our brains process images faster

With these in mind, just as you can use the Pitch Practice structure as the very starting point for your elevator pitch, use the “no text at all ever” rule as the starting point for your pitch deck. Start with 0, and work from there. If you do have to add text, make sure it’s brief and huge.

This is just one of the many lessons we’ve learned at Pitch Practice in the last 3 years and 1,000 pitches from startup entrepreneurs. We’ll be sharing one pitch and a few lessons on every episode of the new Pitch Practice Podcast that we’re launching on June 27th. Will you help us launch to No. 1 on iTunes “New & Noteworthy” category? Click here to join the launch team.

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