What Science Says About Visual Pitching—And 5 Ways To Do It Right
Humans are visual creatures.
Fortunately for startups, even the most seasoned, intimidating venture capitalists (VCs) are human. That means you can hack your VC pitch to get more eyeballs and, hopefully, the funds you need to grow.
If you’re pitching to a VC, it’s tempting to overload your presentation with a glut of data.
But who wants to stare at a page full of numbers? Yawn.
Remember: this is a presentation, and a persuasive one, at that. Your job is to persuade another human being to believe in you.
While the data serves its purpose, that’s not the key to a great VC presentation. Visuals are actually what you need.
If this is your first time seeking VC funding, you’ll notice that you’re competing against a lot of other startups for investors’ dollars.
Do you really want a high-powered VC’s eyes to glaze over during your pitch?
Of course not! That’s why you’ve got to create a visual pitch that grabs so much attention, you’ll have your pick of the litter with VC offers.
The science of visual pitches
And no, visuals aren’t a fluffy approach to pitching, either. Science™ backs us up here.
It takes us just a tenth of a second to understand a visual. That’s way faster than the 5 minutes it takes you to explain your company background. Visual pitching means you can cut through information overload, distractions, and mental clutter faster.
And yes, this matters: verbal presentations paired with awesome visuals are 17% more persuasive.
Humans are hard-wired to love visuals. It’s the first way we process the world: with sight. We learn from visuals before we learn speech.
Because of that, visuals make us emotional. This happens on the subconscious level, so it’s fair to say visual pitch decks are basically a Jedi mind trick.
So, the human brain loves visuals, and those visuals give us all the feels. Since humans are actually emotional (and not logical) decisionmakers, you’re creating a mental shortcut to Fundingville with the right visuals.
Don’t skip these 5 tips for your visual pitch deck
All right, so you know you need cool visuals in your pitch. How in the world do you do “visuals,” anyway?
While visual design is pretty complex, here are 5 tips to steer you in the right direction. Follow them to finally get the “yes” you’ve been looking for.
1. Ditch the small-time design
Please don’t frantically DIY your visuals in Paint. You’re pursuing high-dollar funding for a startup. If you don’t have a professionally-designed template for your presentation or graphic, get a designer.
You might be low on cash at the moment, but the investment in a graphic designer means more VC dollars, faster. If you want VCs to take you seriously, ditch the DIY and let an expert steer the ship on visuals.
2. Use visual storytelling
Don’t barge into the conference room saying, “I want $1 million for 10% equity, guys!”
That would be a little jarring, right?
You’ve got to ease VCs into the feel of your brand. This is a persuasive presentation, and that doesn’t mean becoming a data-obsessed robot. You need to get VCs emotionally invested in your business first.
The best way to get anyone emotionally invested is to tell a story. Start your pitch with a story about a customer’s problem, your solution, and what your startup looks like today. Use high-end graphics on your presentation slides to support the story.
Treat this like your kids’ storytime. You’re the narrator of the story and your charts, graphs, and images back up that story for a cohesive experience.
The last thing a VC wants to see is a complex garble of ideas in your pitch. Visuals should help you simplify the entire process.
After all, a picture is worth 1,000 words. When you play your cards right, you’ll get investors on your side in mere seconds.
Visuals make your presentation more concise. It means giving people essential background information in a quick, engaging way. From there, you’re free to have informed conversations about funding.
But it’s just not possible without great visuals.
Remember to use your visuals as a guide to the presentation itself. Gravitate away from the Bullet Points Of Death on your slides. Instead, rely on cool graphics that back up or give context to your story.
4. Lean into your value
Investors are trusting you with their money, and it’s not a small sum of money, either. For someone to invest in your business, they have to believe it’s a good deal for them. That means you need to prove you’re worth the risk.
Visuals help you showcase your value and potential to investors. Instead of talking about how you’re going to make it big one day, illustrate your projections with thoughtfully-designed graphs. This boosts your brand’s perception and is a great persuasive tool for leery VCs.
5. Use data visualizations
You probably have a lot of data, right?
That’s a good thing! But what’s not good is startups’ love of dumping huge tables of data on PowerPoint slides.
Please, please don’t do that. VCs are busy people, and it’s a little rude to expect them to draw conclusions from your raw data.
By all means, have the raw data available for their review. But for your visual pitch deck, keep everything focused on high-level trends.
Demonstrate this data with clear, customized data visualizations. Oh, and don’t worry: you don’t have to shell out big bucks to make great visualizations. There are ready-to-go graphic templates that allow you to plug and play with your data.
The bottom line
Who says your pitch has to be a scary black hole of data? Visuals make your presentation more engaging and interesting. Wow VCs with a science-backed approach to presentations. Follow these 5 tips to create visually appealing pitches and the VC funding you need to scale.