Feedback First: Strategies for Using Critique to Improve Your Pitch Deck

As an entrepreneur, you know that creating a winning pitch deck is critical to attracting investors and convincing them to invest in your venture. However, even with the best intentions and a great idea, it's not uncommon to struggle with putting together a compelling pitch deck that resonates with your audience.
One of the most effective ways to improve your pitch deck is to seek out and use feedback from others. Whether it's from potential investors, mentors, or colleagues, feedback can help you identify gaps in your pitch, clarify your messaging, and optimize your visuals.
But not all feedback is created equal. In this article, we'll explore some practical strategies for using feedback to improve your pitch deck and increase your chances of securing funding.

Embrace the 'Feedback First' Approach

The feedback first approach is a philosophy of starting with feedback before spending too much time on iterating draft after draft. Instead, it advocates seeking input and guidance early on, allowing you to improve your pitch on the first try.
Using this approach, you should aim to get feedback at every stage of the pitch deck creation process, asking for guidance on structure, messaging, storytelling, and design. Doing so will help you to identify and correct any problems early on, thus saving you vast amounts of time.

Select the Right Feedback Group

Not all feedback is equal, and not everyone is qualified to provide quality advice on your pitch deck. This is why selecting the right feedback group is paramount. Choose individuals who have relevant expertise or industry knowledge or those with experience in startup investing or coaching startups.
Moreover, choose people who can offer constructive critique and honest feedback. It can be tempting to only seek feedback from individuals who will tell you what you want to hear, but this won’t serve you in the long run. Instead, opt for those who can help you spot your weaknesses and provide actionable feedback to help you improve.

Prepare Questions in Advance

When asking for feedback, make sure you’re prepared to receive it, instead of rushing to seek it out. This means setting a clear agenda of what aspects you want to get feedback on, such as specific slides or design areas.
Prepare some open-ended questions to encourage your feedback group to share their opinions on various aspects of your pitch. For example:

- Does the story resonate with you?

- Do the visuals illustrate the points well?

- What potential risks or challenges do you see with this idea or business plan?

Having prepared some questions in advance means that you'll get more useful feedback that you can action on to improve your pitch deck.

Actively Listen to Feedback

When receiving feedback, it can be tempting to view all comments as negative criticism or even as an attack. However, this mindset will hold you back from gaining valuable insight to improve your pitch deck.
Instead, when you ask for feedback, ensure that you listen carefully to what your feedback providers are saying. Take notes on their comments and ask clarifying questions to understand their feedback. Reframe feedback that seems vague or negative into actionable steps you can take.
Be willing to admit your faults and rework sections of your pitch accordingly. In the end, listening and acting on constructive feedback is essential if you want to improve your pitch deck.

Test Your Pitch in a Controlled Environment

Once you've used feedback to improve your pitch, be sure to test it in a controlled environment before putting it in front of investors. This means presenting it to a small audience of friends, family, colleagues or through virtual pitching events to solicit final feedback.
Testing in a controlled environment will help you identify if areas of your pitch deck that still need improvement, or if any audience members are confused by what you're putting forth.
The controlled environment will help you improve the final polish that can make a world of difference.

Final Thoughts

Receiving and action feedback on your pitch deck is a crucial step if you're serious about securing funding from potential investors. It can help you identify areas of your pitch that aren't working, thus allowing you to iterate early and often until you have a winning pitch deck.
So, use all the strategies outlined above when putting together your pitch deck and improve over time by embracing feedback and testing as part of your pitch preparation. Remember, if at first, you don't get the response you want from investors, don't get discouraged – go back, iterate and improve until you finally nail it down.

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