Every entrepreneur is familiar with the concept of a pitch deck. But there’s a substantial difference between the average presentation and a compelling one. If you want to impress the people that have power and influence, you need to prepare enough to go the proverbial extra mile.

The Purpose of the Pitch Deck

Also referred to as a startup or investor pitch deck, a standard pitch deck constitutes the initial communication a startup presents to an audience of potential investors. The content consists of what the business is about and why it might be worth putting money into.

“The investor pitch deck is usually used during the face-to-face and online meetings with the potential investors, customers, and partners,” entrepreneur Aashish Pahwa writes. “Unlike the business model canvas, a pitch deck is a representative tool for the external audience which is used to represent your business model and structure for better understanding.”

First impressions with the people who could be your future partners or backers are made during a pitch deck. As useful as it might seem to deliver the facts and figures, it’s at least as critical to make a splash.

The more your pitch stands out — the more it can intrigue the listeners — the greater your chance of landing a follow-up meeting and/or securing fiscal support for your brand.

Three Ways to Set Your Pitch Deck Apart

If you do a little online research, you can find formulas and templates for an effective pitch deck. For example, one popular approach is to create 12 slides that settle into the following structure: Introduction, Team, Problem, Advantages, Solution, Product, Traction, Market, Competition, Business Model, Investing, Contact.

Although structure can be worthwhile, you should be careful not to get so caught up in the technical design of your presentation that you neglect to generate excitement with regard to your idea or innovation.

As you build your pitch deck, keep the following three specific tactics in mind to make your presentation more compelling and magnetic.

1. Use Impressive Visualizations

Research shows that 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and that the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. Given this data alone, you should recognize that visuals will be an integral part of an effective presentation.

In addition to using startling charts, graphs, and images, your pitch deck might add engaging photographs that bring your idea to life. This can be especially worthwhile if you’re still in the ideation phase and lack any physical item for people to hold and examine.

Visualizations can come in a variety of shapes and forms. Say, for example, that you’re pitching a new mixed-use real estate development to some property investors in your town.

Instead of showing them 2D floor plans and drawings only, you could potentially employ 3D rendering software to bring the building to life and show everyone what it would look like in reality. That would make a statement!

2. Unleash the Power of Three

Steve Jobs was one of the best communicators of his time. He had a way of simplifying complex ideas and conveying meaning and value to people almost effortlessly.

One of his favorite tricks was to talk in terms of three: a number that he believed to be “magic.” In fact, on a day in February 2007, he teased his audience by saying he would announce three products that night: a new iPod, phone, and Internet communication device.

The results turned out to be only one product: the first iPhone. “Three features, three key stats, three words that sum up the user experience. You can always tap into the power of three in your presentation,” entrepreneur Sarah Bennett writes.

“Three is short enough to entertain, but it is not too short either to lack the capacity to educate.”

3. Show Some Emotion

Emotion can be especially gripping in a pitch deck presentation. No matter how good your visuals and slides may be, your audience will spend more time looking at you than whatever’s on the screen. By showing emotion, you can deliver a raw and engaging experience that could connect with your audience on a personal level.

Make Your Pitch Deck Count

If you’re trying to attract funding for your startup, you’re almost certainly going to have to create a pitch deck at some point or another. You can either go through the motions and compile a fairly safe and standard pitch deck, or you can take some risks and spend the necessary time, effort, and money to make the pitch magnetic, compelling, and unique.

Every pitch deck should be different, of course, but the goal this article was to provide you with a couple of practical takeaways with regard to how you might make yours stand out from the crowd. Are you ready to get started?