When Do You Need My Slide Deck?

At Launchpad Venture Group, we require entrepreneurs to have their final deck to us three full days before their pitch. Seems arbitrary, but we do this for a couple reasons:

First, our meetings are very tightly scheduled and we want to make sure we have everything in hand well in advance and tested on the equipment so there are no last minute file scrambles, compatibility issues or version mix-ups to throw you off your game and ruin your one shot at a great pitch.

The second, and far more important, reason

is that we want to ensure that people spend their last few days PRACTICING their delivery rather than tweaking their deck until the 11th hour.

Why the emphasis on practice? Because it is the delivery NOT the deck that sells the deal. Some free advice: get out your stopwatch and practice, practice practice. You worked hard to get your pitching slot. It is tightly timed. You are trying to really connect with your audience on a personal level. The last thing you want to do is fumble with your content or timing. Eliminate those two variables. Know your material cold, and have your timing and transitions choreographed perfectly.

Seems like common sense, but amazingly, many start-ups do fumble with the basics. Why do this to yourself? It is so avoidable. Don’t short-change yourself. In fact, get out the video camera along with the stopwatch and tape yourself a few times. You will be amazed at how much it drives you to improve by simulating the pressure of a live environment, and giving you a tape to review for flaws. Plus, if one of the takes comes out well, you can host it and use it to supplement your other pitch materials for situations where you cannot be there live.

This is good advice. Do most entrepreneurs follow it? I’m thinking not. But in Launchpad’s case, it’s not because we don’t carve out the time for them.

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