PITCH THINKING #3: The importance of narrative in your pitch deck

Tl;dr: Understand the most critical point about writing a pitch deck. It’s about telling a story to the investors that you want to raise from. 

Pitch deck thinking course outline

You are now on part three of the pitch deck thinking course.

  1. What pitch material do you need?
  2. What is a good deck?
  3. The importance of narrative
  4. What are the key questions investors will want to get from your deck?
  5. How to approach writing decks
  6. The flick test
  7. Who do you trust with the pitch deck? Can I have an NDA?
  8. How do you know if your deck is good?
  9. How to send your deck to investors
  10. Formatting your deck
  11. 25 tips

If you can’t face them all at once, you can join the course and get these sent straight to your mailbox here:

The importance of narrative (Tell me a story, daddy!)

Who doesn’t love a good story? When you were a kid (and didn’t have Netflix) you demanded mother tell you one.

Investors, unlike you, are not ashamed to still want to be told a nice mid-morning-meeting story.

It’s rude of you to not tell them a good one, only so few people do.

The difference between an ok and killer deck is a compelling story (or narrative) that shows through.

What’s a story?

There’s a beginning, a middle and an end. Duh.

AKA, who, what, where, when and why… only, all story-like.

Long, long ago (setting the stage), there’s a damsel (customers) in distress (Problem). The knight (startup) goes to battle against the dragon (competition) with the hope his magical (special sauce) sword (solution) will slay Dragonor and take his massive treasure (market size). The knight has proven his worth (traction) on the training field will great applause (social proof), and his squires are ever on hand to assist (team). Only, he lost his armour and needs the king (the ask) to support him… on the promise the king gets 20% of the gold (and a board seat, liquidation preference, anti-dilution rights…).

Yes, you can tell a story too

You’re writing a short novel, and I mean short.

But let’s not get things twisted like Keith Sweat. You’re selling, so it’s more like a Coca Cola advert at Christmas. Santa does something in 30 seconds… and then you find yourself drinking 12 pounds of sugar in a bottle.

How you tell the story is simple, but hard to get right.

You tell the story in the header of each slide, which is broad like a Haiku. Each slide has a header that tells a chapter of the book. You are NOT writing ‘PROBLEM.’ That’s so lame.

  • No: Problem
  • Yes: The beautiful maiden Serena has been kidnapped by the evil dragon… argh!

Then like a children’s’ book, you add a pretty picture of the dragon and a few short points which support that fact

The next slide is the same…

  • No: Solution
  • Yes: If only a brave night with a magical sword was able to save her, that would solve a problem

The last slide of course is… give me moneyyyyyyyy!


Each slide is making one big point. The next slide follows that point and builds the narrative.

You can mix up the order if it makes sense for your story.

You could say:

  • There is a massive market of small businesses looking for customers
  • The competition doesn’t support them in making more revenue
  • The problem is difficult to solve by normal means
  • This is how we solve it

Or you could say:

  • Customers need more revenue, the problem is they don’t know how to find customers
  • This is a massive problem for a market of 100m businesses
  • We offer our solution to target the core part of their problem
  • The timing is right because of…
  • The competition can’t adjust due to their legacy infrastructure

You see, there are a lot of different ways to explain your story. There’s not really a perfect structure. What matters is that you tell a story.

Honestly, the hardest thing is mapping out your story. Decks are easy to write if you know what you want to say.

So figure out what story you want to tell first BEFORE you start writing your deck. Seriously, this is such profound learning for me, that it took me years to figure out.

I literally delete decks and start with a clean electronic document when I write them.

Romeo done

So Solid Crew reference… throwback…

That’s that. The next installment is here: Key questions investors need answering from your deck

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