Having worked with startups for over 30 years now, I'm noticing a trend (while trying to remain aware of the cognitive bias called the "recency (or frequency) illusion") among VC's to request to see the entrepreneur's pitch deck ahead of time, as a condition to deciding whether to take meeting with the entrepreneur.
On the one hand, this seems like a reasonable request. VC's are time-starved, have too many deals to which they can realistically pay close attention, and reviewing the deck seems like a more time-efficient way to triage their deal flow. And, some VC's hold the view that, even without "talking to the deck", any entrepreneur worth backing should be able to tell their story convincingly in a deck that is (only) being read.
There's a problem with this trend. The problem stems from the fact that most decks are NOT drafted to be read. Instead, they are created as a "presentation" support tool; that is, they are created to be presented in a meeting in which the presenter orally explains and elaborates, using the high-level bullet points in the deck as talking points.
Indeed, in most presentation skills training sessions, this lesson is heavily emphasized. One is, in fact, taught to minimize the text on a slide, in order to avoid forcing the audience to try to read dense text on a slide at the same time that they're trying to listen to the presenter elaborate and explain.
So, how does an entrepreneur deal with this dilemma?
My advice is to actually prepare two decks, one that is designed to be read, and one designed for the presentation meeting, where the presenter orally elaborates and explains the high-level talking points in the slide deck.
The good news is that, usually, this isn't a lot of extra work. In my experience, most people who draft presentation decks begin with decks that are more text-intensive, and spend a good bit of the rest of the creation process whittling down the amount of text (usually moving the text to the Notes section of the slide). So, with some modest extra attention, a deck that is satisfactory for purposes of being read can be easily fashioned out of an early, "wordier" draft of the final deck.