Reading Deck Vs. Presenting Deck Explained!

We’ve worked on more than 500 presentation design projects, spanning Pitch Decks, Sales Decks, Corporate Overviews, and Board of Directors (BoD) Decks. And more than 90% of them have one common mistake.

Presenters, whether they’re Founders, Consultants, or C-level executives, often use the same deck to ‘present’ and then send it as a ‘reading’ deck (leave-behind).

Even though they are for the same target audience, it would not work effectively if it’s not optimized well.

In this blog, we’ll explore the key differences between a reading deck and a presenting deck with the help of an example.

Reading Deck Vs. Presenting Deck

When you are presenting, YOU should be the hero of the story, and your deck should be the supporting cast in telling a better story. A presenting deck needs to have;

More visuals, such as images, icons, and brand elements will help you convey your story better.

Less text to prevent your audience from reading the slide and losing their attention from you.

On the other hand, a reading deck needs to stand on its own and answer all the questions to the reader in your absence. it needs to have;

More text, to provide detailed information.

No slide with only visuals because without any context and captions, a reading deck can not stand on its own.

Examples From a Recent Pitch Deck

Let’s take a look at examples from a pitch deck we crafted for a medical wearable device. We identified a couple of slides, like Features Slide and Market Slide, that can have different versions based on the use cases.

Features Slide

Pitching Version

  • Emphasizes more visuals – Images, Iconography, Background shape, etc.

  • Less text to keep the audience focused on your key points

  • Creative layout to make it more interesting

Presenting deck of a feature slide for healthcare startup

Leave Behind Version

  • Includes more copy to provide specifications in detail (Useful for a technical VC who wants to know the tech in detail)

  • Simplify the design for easy reading and comprehension

  • Functional layout for easy navigation of information

Reading deck of a feature slide for healthcare startup

Market Slide

Pitching Behind Version

  • Focus on a single market (Healthcare), supported by a graph that shows the trend and numbers

  • Maintain a clean layout makes it easy for a reader to just ‘glance’ at the slide and quickly get an idea about the market size

Presenting deck of a market slide for healthcare startup

Leave Behind Version

  • Talks about 4 different markets in detail with all the data points. Gives ideas about future opportunities

  • Clean layout with table to present all the numbers

Reading deck of a market slide for healthcare startup

Pro Tip

You don’t need to create two entirely separate decks altogether. Just create a master deck with all common slides and alternative versions (Presenting + Reading) of selected slides. This way, you can easily the slides and re-arrange the order if you want to present it or export it to send it.

Key Takeaway

In this blog, we’ve discovered the critical difference between a reading deck and a presenting deck. When presenting, keep it simple with more visuals and less text to make yourself the hero of the story. For reading, offer more detailed information and avoid slides with only visuals.

Companies we’ve helped build a ‘Presenting deck’ along with a ‘Reading Deck’ version have seen 60% more engagement with their audiences.

And if you need help in designing high-quality presentations and pitch decks in both the version, we have got you covered!

Just contact us or book a discovery call, and let’s begin!

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