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Emergence Capital’s Doug Landis explains how to identify (and tell) your startup story

How do you go vastitude the names and numbers with your startup pitch deck? For Doug Landis, the wordplay is one simple recipe gerund: storytelling. It’s a word that gets thrown virtually a lot of late in Silicon Valley, but it’s one that could legitimately help your startup stand out from the pack tween the pile of pitches.

Landis knows a pearly bit well-nigh the concept. Following stints at Salesforce and Google, he served as the “chief storyteller” at Box. These days, Landis is the growth partner at Emergence Capital, where he helps tell the stories of the firm’s portfolio companies.

Landis joined us on the first day of TechCrunch Early Stage: Marketing and Fundraising event to offer a presentation well-nigh the value of storytelling for startups, whittling lanugo the standard two-hour conversation to a 30-minute version. Though he still managed to rewind things pretty far, opening with, “400,000 years ago, men and women used to sit virtually the fire pit and tell stories well-nigh their day, well-nigh their hunt, well-nigh the one that got away.”

Connect the dots

More often than not, decks include a series of numbers and charts. The job of a story pitch is weaving a good narrative virtually these figures.

If you think well-nigh storytelling, and you think well-nigh the physiological and psychological elements — what’s happening between the storytelling and the listener — we’re unquestionably looking for the patterns. If you think well-nigh it, it’s why those jingles and commercials get stuck in our head, and we can’t forget it, plane though we don’t plane know much well-nigh the product. But we remember the jingle, remember the commercial, we remember the brand. Considering as humans, we’re looking for the patterns in our communication. Our job is to connect the facts and fill in the holes. And from those connections, we create a story. We create a story in our brain, considering our smart-ass unquestionably processes information through story form. (Timestamp 3:20)

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Get to the point

They don’t undeniability it an elevator pitch for nothing. And sometimes plane the weightier storytellers have a habit of rambling. Here’s an exercise for wearing yonder some of the surplusage when attempting to get your story in front of VCs.

When you tell the story at work, ask your peers or the listener to share when with you in one sentence what the point of that story was. Get firsthand feedback, and you can then identify whether or not your story was on target or not. The story needs to be relevant to the regulars who’s there, but the reality is, you need to be very well-spoken well-nigh the point you’re trying to make with a story. (Timestamp 6:33)

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