Your company has unique value it can provide to potential investors. However, communicating it in a concise, logical, data-rich, and digestible presentation is no easy task. This blog post will go over tips and resources to improve your investor deck and how to present it more effectively.
Investor Presentation Deck – Keep Your Audience in Mind
The investor deck should be used as a visual tool to back up your verbal presentation or Zoom call. Afterwards, it will be most likely sent to investors. So, it needs to be both simple and visually appealing, but also contain useful figures that go towards supporting the investment decision.
Unlike a sales or consumer facing presentation, investors prefer information that pertains more to their needs (e.g., meaningful numbers, tables, graphs). Therefore, selling through emotion like commercial products is less applicable here, and the focus should be more on logical reasons to help them understand the value and want to invest in your stock or subscribe to your bond, and to answer their questions and doubts. Therefore, the deck should have a simple, clean design, using few colors, and if using images, they should be real photos of facilities, infrastructure, or behind the scenes shots. Unlike a public speech presentation, its not the place for memes and cartoons.
For an already public company, some investors will know very little about you, some may know a huge amount, and many will be in between. A presentation that works perfectly for all audiences is nearly impossible. For that reason, you need a presentation that is flexible and can work with different audiences, that contains both a broad message, and detailed answers on the most frequent questions from those that follow you closely.
Content – Follow the Essay Composition Logic
Just like the standard essay structure, your presentation should start with the investment thesis, then back up your thesis with evidence in the body slides, and conclude with a summary and reiterate your ask/next steps.
The investment thesis slide at the beginning of the presentation needs to be condensed down to one slide, even if you have a very complex proposition. It can be helpful to follow this structure of one-sentence bullets:
- Business model
- Target market
- Additional highlights (partnerships, financing, etc.)
- Financial highlights (results)
- Ask/next steps
It’s important to maintain a conversation like narrative flow throughout the deck. Think about how a chat with a potential investor would normally go, and what questions would logically be asked next. Sticking to a clear narrative flow can be done by making sure that each slide has one clear point, that ideally is stated at the top of the slide. The reader should be able to scan through the deck and quickly answer, what is the main point of this slide and why does it matter?
The conclusion should be a quick recap of the investment thesis and clearly lay out your ask, or the next steps that you’d like them to take. This should also be included in the beginning of the presentation if you feel that your audience wants the ask upfront.
Your content, beyond a financial view of your company, should also give a sense of your company’s values, integrity, knowledge, experience, passion, and vision, such as dedicating a slide to your ESG commitments. Investors want to get a general idea of what this relationship will be like over the years to come.
It’s vitally important that the presentation address the key issues investors and analysts actually ask about, even if you disagree with their concerns. If supply chain constraints, or refinancing debt, or high input costs or mobility restrictions etc. is the key investment topic, address it, and take ownership of the narrative around that. If you find at the end of your presentation that the slides were not very related to the subsequent questions asked, then you probably need to redo the presentation. Given that key issues often change, it’s also central to update your presentation at least once a quarter.
Design – Keep it Clean and Focused
Investors and analysts want to get the key information that will help lead them to an investment decision or recommendation, and their time is precious. That means an investor presentation should be designed in a simple and clear way. In terms of design, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Charts and graphs need to have a quick takeaway, within 10 seconds an educated person who has never seen the graph before should be able to recognize the main takeaway.
- Avoid graphics, animations, etc., as this is for the financial community, they are interested in no frill numbers. Also keep in mind that the presentation will often be printed on paper.
- Keep color palate minimalistic, 3-4 colors.
- Pictures should be high quality images. Avoid stock images.
- Avoid commercial images, focus more on the behind-the-scenes photos such as the plant, facilities, or employees.
Presentation –Rehearse it and Get Coaching
The verbal presentation is just as important as the information that is being presented and can make or break an investment decision. Factors such as confidence, experience, and trustworthiness will be assumed from the quality and style of your presentation. Consider these tips to improve:
- Add notes or cue cards to guide you through the presentation to make it more concise and impactful.
- Slide deck is a tool, not a crutch. Don’t read the slides to your audience, this is a visual guide to demonstrate the main takeaways of your presentation.
- Practice many times until you are very comfortable with the material.
- The audience will be more receptive if you are excited and persuasive about the material you’re presenting.
- Don’t be afraid to get coaching in effective corporate communication. There is almost always room for improvement. ROI can be very high here.
- Be respectful, personable, and don’t get frustrated.
- If the presentation isn’t in your native language, take the time to practice key phrases and work with a language coach specialized in financial communication. Alternatively, write out your notes in that language and have a native speaker correct them.
Good Example – Pfizer
To see a good example of an investor pitch deck, check out Pfizer. Their presentation covers the essay style narrative format that we covered in this post. The presentation is short and simple, and easy to read and understand. They used few words and images to capture the attention of the audience and not overwhelm them with too much information. Their color palette follows the same order in each of their slides. See below a few screenshots and at this link.
In Strategy and Patient slides note only 2-3 colors and a few key data points
Pitch Development Resources
Two popular presentation methods are the Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 rule and the Garr Reynolds’ Presentation Zen.
Guy Kawasaki – 10/20/30
- Is a pitch deck method centered around the “10/20/30 rule of PowerPoint”—10 slides, 20 minutes and no font smaller than 30 point.
Garr Reynolds – Presentation Zen
- In his Ted talk, “Presentation Zen, 10 Ways to Make Better Presentations: Lessons from Storytellers”, Garr emphasizes the importance of turning off your computer first to make the outline and focusing on using the PPT as a tool for telling your story.
For pitches to invest in new companies, Business Insider has compiled a list of about 725 pitch decks, including those of Airbnb, Postmates, Uber and many others that are now household names. It’s fascinating to see how often a great PowerPoint got turned into a company that then changed the world.
At Miranda Partners, we’re more than happy to help you strategize your investor presentation, draft deck content, and provide executive communication coaching, so please feel free to reach out.
Contacts at Miranda Partners