The best pitches don’t just entertain. They inspire.
Learning to deliver a 1-5 minute venture pitch that is powerful, interesting and compelling moves people, changes minds, and inspire people to join you in your cause. There is not one way to do it – you must learn the basics, then deliver an authentic pitch that is uniquely yours. The best part? If you can pitch, you can communicate. This skill will be helpful for life.
This page contains resources to help you get started on your own. We are always happy to help our Tufts students and alumni practice. Book a meeting on our coaching page and we can help.
Learn to pitch
There are three components to pitching: Content, Delivery, and Narrative. Start with content. Then, learn to use your voice and body language. Finally, rework your content into a gripping narrative to tell a compelling story.
Video: The perfect elevator pitch
Watch this video on the perfect elevator pitch by Patrick Dang.
Guy Kawasaki's 10-slide template
Guy Kawasaki, an investor, author, thought leader and former Apple strategist, has a timeless 10-slide infographic that outlines everything you need to include in a new venture pitch.
Sequoia Capital's Guide to Pitching
Sequoia Capital, an elite VC firm in Silicon Valley, has a much-cited pitch deck template in circulation. This is the original post where they outlined what should go into the pitch deck.
This is a helpful artist’s interpretation of the bare bones outline.
"How to design a pitch deck that doesn't suck" - Hubspot
Hubspot, a marketing software company that pioneered “inbound marketing”, has a fantastic post about how to design a pitch deck that doesn’t suck. This post also includes best practices for a modern take to slide design.
Video: Public speaking for beginners
Watch this short video on public speaking for beginners.
Video: Optimizing your Zoom presence
Watch this short skit by Rachel Cossar and Scott Kirsner on how to optimize your Zoom presence.
Video: How to stand and walk on stage
Watch this video about how to carry yourself on stage and have good stage presence.
Video: 4 essential body language tips
A great presentation takes more than smart preparation and execution of verbal skills. Body language is just as important, and the 2014 Toastmasters International world champion of public speaking Dananjaya Hettiarachchi reveals his four best tips.
Blog post: Creating a narrative with sticky notes
Read “Great talks start with Sticky notes” by Professor Elaine Chen of Tufts University.
Blog post: How to write a Series A Narrative
Underscore.vc has a great article that explains how you can tell your pitch as a compelling story. Read on to learn more.
"And, But, Therefore" framework for narrative tention
Randy Olson, a former professor turned speech coach, has a book titled “Houston, we have a narrative” in which he uses the easy to understand “And, But, Therefore” (ABT) framework to help scientists and technologists learn to stop boring their audience with technical jabberwocky and start telling emotionally interesting stories about science and technology.
Video: Kurt Vonnegut on the shape of stories
The inimitable Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) gave a hilarious talk about the shape of stories, using Cinderella and other such examples to illustrate the importance of varying the emotional content while telling a story.
Master the 5-minute Demo Day pitch
Watch these three videos to learn the art form for the 5-minute pitch.
Startup Pitch Deck Hall Of Fame
Following are a few well known pitch decks. Proceed with caution! Some of these pitch decks are dated. Times change and the bar for raising money changes as well. Use the decks as inspiration – don’t draw conclusions about what is investable based on the subsequent success of these well known companies.