CHAPTER 6

Pitching Exercises

It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.
— Mark Twain, Writer and Humorist
Startup investor decks take time to create and even longer to practice. We've provided a breakdown of some of our favorite pitching exercises to help get you off to a flying start.
30 Word Answers
illustration to pitch deck template guide pitching exercise 30 word answers
Icon time to pitch deck template guide pitching exercise 30 word answers
Time
<15 minutes
Icon requires to pitch deck template guide pitching exercise 30 word answers
Requires
A friend who knows nothing about your venture
Icon purpose to pitch deck template guide pitching exercise 30 word answers
Purpose
Control how your investors view your business and the questions they ask.
In 30 words or less, describe your venture. Sounds easy? Well, after those first 30 words, you can only speak again when your viewer asks you a question. And you only have 30 words to answer it with.

This exercise takes some practice, but it is ideal for thinking about the information you need in your pitch. Use your 30 words to encourage your viewer to ask another question, try to shape the direction of their questions until you have included all the key points you want an investor to know.
Optional: When you have finished, ask your viewer to summarize what they think your venture is about. Do they understand your idea? Is your business model clear? What else do they need to know?
d.School Frameworks
illustration to pitch deck template guide pitching exercise d.school framework
Icon time to pitch deck template guide pitching exercise d.school framework
Time
30 minutes each
Icon requires to pitch deck template guide pitching exercise d.school framework
Requires
A pen and paper
Icon purpose to pitch deck template guide pitching exercise d.school framework
Purpose
Discover how to tell your story
These are exercises from Stanford's renowned d.school, a course for startups and would-be entrepreneurs.
1. The One Word Summary.
Find one word that describes everything you want your audience to understand, think, and feel about your venture.
For BaseTemplates, that word might be: Comprehensive
2. The 3-Act Pitch.
Turn your pitch into a three act story, using no more than 30 words for each act.
Act 1. We meet our hero.
Act 2. We discover a problem.
Act 3. Our hero finds the solution.
For BaseTemplates, this exercise might look something like this:

Act 1: Vasyl is a presentation designer, he works with startup founders and industry leaders to create beautiful and clear presentations.

Act 2: Every conference Vasyl visits it's the same thing, a parade of boring bullet-point presentations. The problem is, not everyone knows where to find a professional designer to help him improve his pitch.

Act 3: So Vasyl made an affordable template that allows anyone to design an eye-catching presentation. Now there's no excuse for a lousy pitch!
3. The Five-Star Review.
Imagine you are your venture's customer and you are writing a 50 word, five-star review of the business, its products or services. What would this person say?
4. The Obituary.
This exercise isn't for everyone. Imagine it is 70 (80, 90, 100) years in the future. Your venture was more successful than you could ever have imagined and you are writing your obituary for the Wall Street Journal. Describe your company, the impact it had on the industry and its legacy.
Practice Makes Perfect
illustration to pitch deck template guide pitching exercise practice makes perfect
Icon time to pitch deck template guide pitching exercise practice makes perfect
Time
<30 minutes
Icon requieres to pitch deck template guide pitching exercise practice makes perfect
Requires
A complete pitch deck and a willing audience
Icon purpose to pitch deck template guide pitching exercise practice makes perfect
Purpose
To learn your pitch deck
A good pitch requires practice. Start by running through your pitch on your own. Once you know each of your presentation slides well, you can face a real audience. Ask them to interrupt you, to jump in with questions and demand extra facts and supporting data. Learn how to handle these interruptions without losing the momentum of your pitch.
Optional: Consider recording your presentation. Take note of the places where your pretend investors ask questions and the questions they ask. Could you prevent them from asking by reordering the slides or adding in new ones? Is something in your presentation deck unclear? How can you make your key points clearer?
Summary
The best startup investor decks are pitched by founders who deliver their presentation slides confidently. These are the people who know their pitches as well as they know their venture; they are the people investors trust.
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Table of Content
Chapter 2
Elements
Chapter 3
Story
Chapter 4
Design
Chapter 5
Delivery
Chapter 7
Investors
Chapter 8
Action Plan