The perfect startup pitch according to Maurizio La Cava

An investor pitch is not just any kind of pitch. It has specific characteristics and, often, also the “power” to decide the success or failure of an entrepreneurial initiative. That’s why, for the next “Talking Heads” appointment on March 21st, we invited Maurizio La Cava, CEO & Founder of MLC Presentation Design and Startup Pitch Strategist. Maurizio created the Investor Pitch Canvas: a tool to create the perfect investor pitch presentation. We interviewed him to get some advice in advance.

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A definition of the Lean Presentation Design method and its distinctive properties

You know the feeling when you are starring at the white slide in PowerPoint not knowing what to do and how to position elements in order to maximize the visual effectiveness? Often it happens you do not know what information to include and in which order to present it. Unfortunately, you are always in a rush as presentations are done last minute.
Normally, we start by choosing fonts and colours that we like. The next step is combining them as we like and creating layouts that look beautiful and effective to us. But are you sure that a slide that you think is well done is actually effective on your audience?
Lean Presentation Design is a methodology that changes the way in which presentations are created. With the Lean Presentation design, you’ll change your approach from creatively designing slides to logically solving layouts. Thanks to the Lean Presentation Design, anyone, even less creative people, can build an effective presentation by logically solving layouts.

Who is this method for? Is a special background necessary to learn and apply it?

Lean Presentation Design is a problem-solving method for making objectively effective presentations. It is specifically dedicated to non-creative people who need to communicate their projects in a persuasive way but does not have a creative background.

What are the main criteria with which you evaluate the effectiveness of a presentation?

In my opinion, a presentation is a dialogue between a speaker and her audience, with a specific objective. A presentation is a means that allows to communicate ideas to others and push those who listen to do something they would have not normally done without the presentation.

Why is it important for a startup to know how to make effective presentations? What specific characteristics should these have?

Funding is essential for startups. To explain an entrepreneurial idea and get it to be financed, the founder must be able to keep investors interested and persuade them to invest. An investor pitch is an “extreme” presentation because there is little time available and the stakes are often very high.

What specific characteristics must an investor pitch have?

Unlike many presentations related to more structured realities, the investor pitch, to be successful, needs a very specific communication logic. What to say and what not to say? In which order is it better to communicate information to attract investors attention? In my opinion, there is a logical, benchmarked scheme of information that answers these questions: the Investor Pitch Canvas.

Three mistakes not to be committed when preparing a presentation

  1. Focus on beauty and not on effectiveness.
  2. Do not have a well-structured communication flow.
  3. Use a self-standing presentation for a speech that brings people to read instead of listening.

In the financial sector, must presentations have specific characteristics? Are there any “winning” trends?

A presentation is like a tailored suit, it must be sewn onto a specific audience. There are communication strategies that can enhance the effectiveness of each presentation but, beyond the graphics, a good presentation is the result of a useful dialogue between people.

Presentation design: Italy vs the world. How much is known and considered?

Like many other cases, the United States has played a first mover role. Some of the best-known references are Nancy Duarte and Garr Reynolds, authors of multiple publications on the subject, including Slideology and Presentation Zen. Observing those who move first allows us to learn faster and gives us the opportunity to create something truly innovative. Lean Presentation Design is the first “made in Italy” methodology exported abroad that has the ambition to make presentation design accessible to everybody, even non-designers.

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