TED talks have done great things for presentation audiences. They set the standard for minimalist slide design, carefully thought through story lines, and well-rehearsed on stage performances. These are great things for investor presentations as well. However, there are differences.

  • TED talks have a broad general audience, investor presentations face highly specialised, knowledgeable audiences that will have heard dozens of similar pitches by similar companies trying to do similar things
  • TED talks have big audiences without Q&A, investor presentations are dialogues before a smaller audience
  • TED talks are watched live or via online videos (i.e., the presenter is there to explain), investor presentations are often read on a screen without someone present to make the points
  • TED talks aim to change the audience behaviour or stun the audience with a new/little known fact/innovation. Investor presentations aim to get you through to the next round of a due diligence process
  • TED talks do not require detailed information, audiences of investor presentations might obsess over the value of very specific benchmarks (web site visitor behaviour, clinical research results)

In short, use all the good things that you learned from TED performances, but don't copy a TED format blindly when pitching investors.

Image by urban_data on Flickr

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