How to Create a Consulting Presentation (with examples)

how to make a presentation consulting

How can you design a consulting presentation that instills trust and wins you clients? You focus on both substance and delivery. By knowing your brand and communicating in your own authentic style, you’ll give potential clients a taste of your expertise. When clients see the value and see what’s in it for them, they’ll be happy to work with you.

How to Create a Consulting Presentation

The consulting industry is a highly competitive field, hence the demand for high-quality output. Creating a consulting presentation is totally different from an ordinary presentation. If you want to learn from the best, look up to consultants as they consider crafting presentations an art form.

Here are the steps to take to create a consulting presentation:

Make an Outline.

A clear, logical, and cohesive structure is paramount to a presentation’s success. Walking someone through point A to point B is challenging enough, persuading and convincing them are different stories. Consultants tell us that the most optimum approach is to do the following:

  • Start with the main point, which is your solution or answer
  • Organize your supporting arguments
  • Order your supporting ideas logically

This allows your audience to assess your logic and reasoning as you go along with your presentation. They won’t have to try and figure out what exactly your point is. Hence, the key here is to give the info without them having to try hard to comprehend it.

Give your presentation structure by dividing it into three parts. These are:

  • An introduction
  • A conclusion & next steps

Knowing these will help you structure your presentation with only the necessary details. These will help you determine how many slides you need and what goes into each of those slides. A more comprehensive list would be the following:

  • An executive summary
  • Table of contents
  • An appendix

Include Visuals that Support the Story.

consulting presentation with a large audience

How to create a consulting presentation that gets you credibility? You need to craft a story that makes sense and inspires. This is what will sell your idea or solution. However, simply dumping evidence on all the slides won’t cut it. 

What helps is graphic design that can pull in your audiences, highlight your main points, and make the presentation a resounding success. We’ve listed 15 of the best consulting presentations below to serve as inspiration. And if you read until the end of the article, we’ll show you why Penji is an excellent design partner. Watch our demo video here to learn more. 

How to Include Graphics in Your Consulting Presentation.

presentation design example for a business

  • When developing your visuals, always keep in mind that the simpler your graphics are, the better. 
  • Avoid the use of distracting colors, illustrations, or font styles
  • Use negative space
  • Don’t overdo the designs, each element you add should have a purpose, otherwise, ditch them
  • Limit your presentation to one message per slide
  • Take note of formatting, sizes, and other details

McKinsey & Company and BCG, the world’s top consulting firms, use the following guidelines in their PPT presentation slides:

  • If possible, ensure that all text within a slide is of the same font size
  • Create margins and make sure that the content doesn’t go outside of these
  • Titles should only be two lines or less and use the same font size
  • And as earlier mentioned, one slide per one point

These are only the key points, there may be more, but a reputable graphic design firm will know. They will utilize their knowledge to ensure that your consulting slides follow these rules.

Showcase Your Best Data.

This needs no explanation, but you must have your information organized to place them in the correct order. Think of your presentation designs as having a story to tell and doing so in a coordinated and appealing way that gets the audience’s attention. 

Use infographics, charts, illustrations, or images to stress a point. This may seem simple, but some abstract concepts and ideas may be hard to relay in a single slide. This is the best time to consult a graphic designer who knows how to create a consulting presentation that shine.

Check for Errors.

Some people may consider this part boring, yet, it is crucial to your consulting presentation’s success. What you can do here is run through your presentation and check if there are any errors. In some cases, you can ask a colleague to check your work. Any incorrect grammar or wayward icon can diminish the value of your message, so make sure you edit your work before you publish it.

15 Consulting Presentations that Get the Job Done

1. mckinsey & company.

McKinsey & Company consulting presentation example

This digital globalization presentation from McKinsey & Company, one of the world’s largest in its industry, is a great example. It has beautiful graphics that use a minimum of colors and charts that are easy to read.

2. BCG Consulting

BCG Consulting presentation example

Composed of 11 slides, this consulting presentation example from BCG Consulting remains consistent throughout. The presentation is about sustainability which may be the reason for using the color green, which is very appropriate.

3. Deloitte

Deloitte presentation with infographic

In 2017, Deloitte created this consulting presentation about their Technology, Media, and Telecommunications outlook. This 47-slide long presentation encouraged the audience to participate, which made them engaged and interested.

KPMG slides from a presentation

As mentioned above, keep your graphics as simple as possible. This consulting presentation example from KMPG may seem ornate, but it’s only the action title page. The rest of the slides are easily understandable as they are minimalistic in design.

PWC tech CMO presentation slides

Your content is the most crucial part of a presentation. PWC blended fine aesthetics and meaty content with this consulting presentation example. It has actionable recommendations as well as case studies included.

6. McKinsey & Company

woman reading from her phone presentation slides

With clear, actionable plans, data-rich charts, and charming photographs, this example from McKinsey & Company shows its authority well. People look up to them for consulting presentations, and this is proof of it.

7. Deloitte

Deloitte graphic about us physicians with data

Another Deloitte consulting presentation example uses a minimalistic approach that gets the point across quickly. The image on the title slide is colorful, but the rest of the slides use very few colors.

consulting presentation example

For the World Economic Forum, PWC published this eye-catching consulting presentation. It includes learning points showed in multicolored graphics.

9. Ernst & Young

presentation by earnst and young

Ernst & Young, another consulting giant, released this presentation template in 2015 for their Business Pulse in 2013. The slides have photos of landscapes that are very pleasing to look at but definitely not distracting to viewers.

powerpoint presentation slides by BCG

With each slide carefully planned and executed, this consulting presentation PPT from BCG is genuinely noteworthy. It has done an excellent job of explaining abstract ideas clearly with the graphics and images they used.

11. Ernst & Young

consulting presentation example

The clever use of icons, photos, and other graphics made this consulting presentation from Ernst & Young land on this list. The key points were made clear in the slides using charts, maps, and other design elements.

12. McKinsey & Company

consulting presentation example

On their 50th anniversary, McKinsey & Company released this PowerPoint consulting presentation. As they are the gold standard in creating consulting slides, this one is where you should be getting your inspiration from.

Get free Powerpoint slide designs here.

13. Deloitte

consulting presentation example

One of the best consulting presentations we found is this one from Deloitte. It uses a storytelling format with infographics, icons, and is tied down with different shades of green for consistency.

consulting presentation example about private sector opportunities

This beautiful and easy-to-follow consulting presentation is another one for the books. This was created by BCG, a consulting firm that’s in the high ranks with McKinsey.

15. McKinsey & Company

presentation slides about airport complaints

The use of custom illustrations is what made this consulting presentation unique and engaging. The need for texts is reduced, resulting in slides that are easy to follow.

Let Penji design your consulting presentations

Consulting presentations need not be stressful and time-consuming. You’ve got the expertise. You just need to demonstrate it simply and confidently. Penji’s graphic design team will do the heavy lifting for you.

For a flat monthly rate, you can send unlimited design requests, get revisions, and walk away with the presentation designs you need. We also design ads, website, social posts, logos, and just about anything you need for your consulting business – the sky’s the limit!

Try out Penji today with no contract and no risk.

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Building Strategy Consulting Slide Decks: The Complete Guide

Table of contents.

There’s something different about slide decks from strategy consulting firms like McKinsey, Bain or BCG . For some reason, they just seem more convincing. But it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what makes those presentations good.

As a strategy consultant, you very quickly realize there are two important components of a compelling strategy presentation:

  • The ‘thinking’. This is the rigorous problem definition, analysis, synthesis, and insight that happens before you open up PowerPoint. Without this, even the most well-crafted strategy presentation lacks impact.
  • The presentation.  This is the distinctive, structured, and clear way that strategy consultants build their slide decks. Without this, even the most powerful insights lose their force.

In this guide, we show you how to do both those things. In chapters 1-3, we discuss how to structure your slide deck, define your objective, and craft a compelling argument and storyline.

Then in chapters 4-6, we show you best practices for building your slides and reviewing your slide deck.

By the end of this guide, you’ll have the ability to craft a compelling strategy slide deck with a clear and compelling storyline that leads your audience to your desired conclusion.

Structure your slide deck

Before we get into the detail of building your slide deck, it’s important to understand how to structure your presentation.

There is a common structure that is used for almost all strategy presentations. It’s based on a concept known as the Pyramid Principle , which was popularized by Barbara Minto at McKinsey & Co.

According to Minto, there are three components to a well-constructed slide deck:

  • The executive summary: Provides the reader a full summary of the argument and recommendations within your slide deck for readers that are more interested in the ‘so what’ than the detailed analysis.
  • The body slides: Illustrates the analysis that supports each claim you make in your slide deck’s argument and thus slide objective.
  • Next steps or recommendations slides:  Clearly outlines the key implications or ‘so what’ of your slide deck, as well as any next steps required.

In this guide, we will walk you through how to tackle each of these sections one by one. But first, we start by setting the objective of your slide deck, and crafting your argument and storyline.

Define the objective of your deck

Let’s start at the beginning. The purpose of your slide deck isn’t to show off all the things you know… or how great you are at analysis… or how beautiful your slides are.

Instead, the purpose of your slide deck is to persuade your audience and lead them to an objective. And, as the author of the slide deck, you need to set the objective before you start building your slide deck.

Having a clear objective for your slide deck is important for a number of reasons:

  • It helps you focus your research and analysis on things that are relevant to your objective.
  • You can quickly test the quality of your content by testing whether it is sufficient to achieve your objective.
  • It helps inform the tone and positioning of the messages in your slides.

Your objective can take many forms. For example, it could be simply to inform your audience, to gain endorsement for a decision, or to achieve a specific action or next step.

As the author of the slide deck, you must ensure that the objective is clear and agreed upon. All the work that you’re about to do to build your slide deck is guided by your objective.

Craft the argument and storyline

Now that you’ve determined the objective of your slide deck, you need to craft an argument and storyline that leads to your objective.

To some extent, your slide deck’s argument will naturally appear from insights gathered through research and analysis. As you conduct research, you’ll slowly uncover the “real state of affairs”, which will be supported by data.

It’s your job to translate this argument into a compelling story; one that grabs the attention of your reader and communicates your argument in a clear and easy-to-understand way.

To do this, you should use a situation-complication-resolution storyline .

This is a universal structure; it’s used in books, plays, films, advertising, religion, politics, and more. It looks something like this:

  • The scene is set and the characters are introduced (situation)
  • Something goes wrong (complication)
  • They fix the problem and live happily ever after (resolution)

When storytelling in PowerPoint, you should use the same structure. But in the context of your slide deck, your storyline will look something like:

  • This thing is important  (situation)
  • There is a problem with this thing  (complication)
  • Therefore, we need to respond — and here is how  (resolution)

The dot-dash structure

Writing a storyline for your presentation doesn’t happen in PowerPoint. In fact, you don’t open up PowerPoint until you’re completely satisfied with your storyline.

Instead of jumping into PowerPoint, you start by writing out your storyline in a text document using the dot-dash structure .

By writing your slide deck’s storyline in a text document, you can easily identify any faulty or missing logic in your story and ensure that you have the data required to support each claim you make.

And when you’re completely satisfied with your storyline, you can move it into PowerPoint. Your storyline should be communicated in the slide lead-ins, like so:

And once you’ve built the skeleton of your slide deck with the storyline communicated “horizontally” across the leads-ins, you’re ready to start building individual slides and the “vertical flow”.

Build body slides

Before you jump into building individual slides, there are two main components of slides that you need to understand:

  • The lead-in:  The text at the top of your slide. This should be written as an action title that communicates the implication or ‘so what’ of the slide, not describes the content of the slide.
  • The slide body:  The content of your slide. You should only communicate one insight per slide and choose the simplest method possible.

Components a PowerPoint slide: slide lead-in and slide body

There is a close relationship between the slide lead-in and slide body. And this relationship is best explained by the Golden Rule of slide building.

The Golden Rule of slide building is:

“One slide, one insight, fully articulated in the lead-in, and supported by the body”

In other words, each slide should only communicate one insight. That insight should be fully explained in words in the lead-in, and fully supported by data in the slide body.

In addition, there should be nothing in the lead-in that’s not in the body, and nothing in the body that’s not in the lead-in.

Data, charts, and other quantitative slides

Claims that are supported by data are naturally more compelling than claims supported by ‘expert’ opinions, focus groups, and other qualitative evidence.

Therefore, where possible, you should always prioritize quantitative slides over qualitative slides.

But don’t go overboard with your data visualization. Sometimes it can be tempting to show off our technical skills by choosing the most complex visualization available. This is bad practice.

Instead, you should always choose the simplest chart to demonstrate your insight. But it can be tricky to determine which chart to use. So we’ve put together a simple decision tree to ensure that you always choose the most appropriate chart for your data .

Text, conceptual, and other qualitative slides

There are some insights that simply cannot be communicated with charts or data. In these cases, you need to find the most appropriate conceptual chart.

Unlike qualitative slides, there are no simple guides for text and conceptual slides. And because of this, the ability to craft well-structured conceptual slides is the mark of a skilled consultant.

It’s surprisingly tricky to be able to communicate a qualitative insight in a clear and structured visual manner. The best way to build the skill is to practice. But you can also learn by exploring common qualitative slides used by strategy consultants .

how to make a presentation consulting

Download 120+ strategy consulting presentations for free

Looking for slide inspiration? Download 120+ consulting slide decks from top strategy consulting firms, such as McKinsey, BCG and Bain!

Write the executive summary

An executive summary slide is the first slide in your presentation but the last slide you build.

The executive summary slide fully summarizes the argument, storyline, and supporting evidence of the body slides. Because we already need to have finished every other part of the slide deck, we write it last.

Executive summary slides help the reader “follow along” with your slide deck. There are a few main benefits:

  • They provide context to help the reader understand why the topic of the slide deck is important.
  • They communicate the high-level argument before the reader gets into the body of the slide deck. This helps the reader understand your more detailed body slides.
  • They are a “map” that the reader can reference back to if they start losing the line of argument in the body of the deck.

A typical executive summary looks something like the following slides, which are from a BCG report on “Melbourne as a Global Cultural Destination” and can be downloaded here .

how to make a presentation consulting

Good executive summaries follow three best practices:

  • They are structured with bolded text for summary sentences and bullet points for supporting data. This ensures that every claim is clearly supported by data.
  • The bolded summary sentences can be read alone to tell the slide’s storyline (i.e. you don’t need to read the supporting data in the bullet points).
  • The bolded summary sentences reflect the SCR storyline structure of the slide deck

One other good practice (that you don’t see in the BCG example) is to reference the associated body slide throughout the executive summary. This helps direct a reader to the detailed analysis behind every claim in the executive summary.

Review your slide deck

Now that you’ve finished building all your slides and writing your executive summary, it’s time to review and finalize your slide deck.

There are three things that you need to check as you review your slide deck:

  • Chart completeness : Check that your charts are comprehensively labeled, including chart titles, axis labels, units, time periods, etc.
  • Text brevity : Review your slide text, including your lead-ins, and ensure that you make your points with the minimum number of words possible.
  • Slide consistency : Review your slides and ensure that there is consistent formatting across the slides.

Reviewing your charts and visualizations

There’s a surprising amount of detail contained in charts and it’s quite easy to forget to key include key information.

Some examples of common charting mistakes include missing chart titles, labels, axes, units, dates, and legends. You should also consider how you highlights the implication of your charts.

To make this easier, you should use a charting checklist to methodically cross-reference your chart with best practice.

Refining your slide text

There’s an important place for text in slides. Not only can your use text to provide important context to support your visualizations, but also to communicate insights without data.

Most people use too many words in their slides. They tend to use fancy “consulting speak” or long, verbose explanations that actually obsure their message.

As you review your slide deck, you should review all of the text in your slides and savagely sharpen your text by removing unnecessary words .

Ensuring consistency across slides

Finally, you should use your last review to check for consistency across slides.

Start by ensuring that the formatting is consistent. For example, your slide format, spacing, fonts and slide numbers should all be consistent across the slides.

And then finish your review by ensuring all concepts are communicated consistently across slides. For example, if you’ve numbered or colored concepts a certain way, then ensure that they remain consistent throughout your slide deck.

how to make a presentation consulting

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15 Consulting Presentation Examples from Industry Leaders: Bain, Deloitte, and McKinsey

Written by Rishabh

Rishabh leads the content strategy at Content Beta, an on-demand creative video and design team for Tech & SaaS companies.

  • Last updated on June 9, 2023

Consulting presentations are more than just a collection of slides. They are tools used by consultants to share their findings, insights, and suggestions with clients.

If you’ve ever wondered –

  • What sets apart a consulting presentation from a regular one?
  • How do top consultants manage to convey complex information in a clear and compelling manner?

Then you’re in the right place.

These presentations play an important role in decision-making and organizational changes.

Table of Contents

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how to make a presentation consulting

What is a presentation?

A presentation is a way of sharing information. You can use it in different settings, such as group discussions, meetings, or when you’re explaining something to your team. It could be a demonstration, a talk, a lecture, or a speech. It’s usually set up to share information systematically to an audience.

The aim is to share information effectively with listeners. It should be interesting, easy to understand, and convincing. It’s an important skill in many fields, such as business, teaching, science, and public speaking.

What is a consulting presentation?

A consulting presentation is a document that outlines their findings, analyses, and suggestions for a client. It is typically used as a tool to explain the work in a structured and logical way.

The goal is not just to present information. It is to persuade the client to take action based on the consultant’s suggestions. Therefore, it needs to be clear, impactful, and based on solid data and analysis.

how to make a presentation consulting

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15 examples of Consulting Presentation

Here are 15 examples of consulting presentations. Let’s explore their unique characteristics and the elements that make them stand out.

The consulting presentation is a detailed financial analysis of NYCHA. It includes the current financial situation and challenges faced by the organization.

The unique element of this presentation is mapping out how to implement recommendations in detail. It includes a timeline, key milestones, and roles and responsibilities.

The presentation is neat and consistent in terms of font and color palette.

how to make a presentation consulting

2. McKinsey

This consulting presentation talks about the impact of past technologies and potential impact of future technologies on the minerals industry.

The unique elements are detailed case studies on specific commodities and the outline of specific implementation strategies.

It delivers important information that isn’t readily available elsewhere. They used interesting graphics to easily show changes and movements over time.

The white background with simple design minimizes distraction from the key points.

how to make a presentation consulting

3. Deloitte

This consulting presentation provides a comprehensive analysis of the global, regional (East Africa), and local (Kenya) economic outlook.

The features that stand out in this presentation are a detailed agenda and a list of speakers with their roles.

A specific layout is followed by all the slides of the presentation. The vibrant color palette resulted in vibrant visuals that work well together.

how to make a presentation consulting

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This consulting presentation talks about the scope and the process of the Operational Excellence diagnostic. It includes a detailed discussion on the five opportunity areas and two enablers found by the Operational Excellence Steering Committee.

It provides a detailed timeline of the Steering Committee meetings, which is not commonly seen in many presentations.

The presentation layout is neat and uncluttered. The typography and colors are consistent throughout.

how to make a presentation consulting

5. Accenture

The consulting presentation includes a detailed analysis of intelligent operations. It discusses the importance, components, implementation steps, and benefits of the concept.

The presentation talks about the five essential components of intelligent operations (Innovative Talent, Data-Driven Backbone, Applied Intelligence, Leveraging the Power of the Cloud, and a Customer-First Approach) and the role of each of these components in creating it. It provides a clear roadmap for businesses looking to implement these operations.

The consistent use of the same colors and typography keeps the presentation harmonious.

how to make a presentation consulting

6. Alvarez & Marsal

The consulting presentation provides a thorough list of distressed credits.

This list includes a wide range of details (the company name, country, sector, debt instrument, maturity, total debt, percentage of total debt, EBITDA, and debt/EBITDA) that is not commonly seen in presentations.

Another unique element of this presentation is the forward-looking view of the situation presented here.

Every slide includes the company logo. Although a small detail, it builds brand affinity and familiarity.

how to make a presentation consulting

7. Roland Berger

This consulting presentation is an analysis of the supply chain risks associated with the Lithium-Ion battery market. It discusses the impact of recycling in mitigating supply chain risks and provides insights into risk mitigation strategies.

It discusses the role of different stakeholders (including OEMs, cell and CAM suppliers, mining companies, and legislators) which serves as a unique feature.

The most unique element here is the slide design on a dark background. The color palette consists of various tones of blue and gray that compliment the background perfectly.

how to make a presentation consulting

The consulting presentation is about project management and its importance.It includes a brief profile of the presenters, outlining their experience and expertise. This provides credibility to the presentation.

It lists out the warning signs of a failing project. This is a unique element as it provides valuable insights into the common pitfalls in project management.

Another unique element is the section with key takeaways towards the end.

The color palette, typography and visuals catches attention and highlights key points.

how to make a presentation consulting

9. Strategy&

This consulting presentation talks about powertrain technologies in detail, including their advantages, disadvantages,techno-economic characteristics etc.

The unique element here is the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) analysis for different powertrain technologies. It also includes the effect of selected opportunities and threat

Detailed market outlook, including sales projections and market diffusion, is not commonly found in many presentations either.

The infographics are visually appealing and add value to the presentation

how to make a presentation consulting

The consulting presentation provides a thorough report on the impacts of COVID-19 on various sectors of Australia.

The report uses a unique framework. It is based on a wide range of public data and targeted consultation, making it a reliable source of information.

The report does not only include the opportunities, challenges, and current impacts. It also talks about how it could affect the future. It is an unique element that provides valuable insights in the infrastructure sector.

The presentation design is simple, precise and consistent. That makes it easy to understand.

how to make a presentation consulting

11. Booz Allen Hamilton

This presentation design is a detailed investor presentation for Booz Allen.

The most unique feature of this presentation is the company history illustrated as a timeline. This is a great way of establishing brand credibility.

With a clean and consistent layout and muted colors, this presentation design showcases a professional approach.

how to make a presentation consulting

This consulting presentation is a report of ICOs, including their performance, the reasons for their success or failure, and the trends that have emerged.

The report includes key takeaways and an outlook for the future. This unique feature provides valuable insights for investors and other stakeholders in the ICO market.

Discussing the methodology is another unique feature of the report.

The simple presentation design looks neat and keeps the focus on the data.

how to make a presentation consulting

13. Oliver Wyman

The consulting presentation gives fundamental facts and recommendations for corporate leaders as an effect of covid-19.

The table of contents (ToC) of this consulting presentation do not just mention the various sections. It also has a list of key topics and a brief summary of that section. It is a unique element.

Another unique element is the executive summary. It is written in a table format and includes the unknown facts along with the known ones.

The variety in colors and typography add visual interest to the presentation.

how to make a presentation consulting

14. AT Kearney

This consulting presentation discusses the specific impact of COVID-19 on Turkey. It especially talks about economy in terms of sectors like, tourism, automotive, and textile.

It provides a customized actionable plan for business owners. This approach adds a unique and personal touch to the presentation.

The presentation design includes multiple visual elements, such as graphics, flat icons etc to make it more accessible to everyone. The consistent color palette throughout makes it even more appealing.

how to make a presentation consulting

This consulting presentation offers advice and tools to audit committees to enhance their skills and understanding.

It includes a unique communications network diagram that shows the interaction between different entities (the listed company, institutional investors, sell-side analysts, and media).

It highlights key areas. This unique feature provides insight into the areas that are important for clients to understand and consider.

The presentation deck is basic and has a professional approach.

how to make a presentation consulting

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A well-built presentation can be very effective. Consulting presentations are about organizing your message, explaining complex details simply, and convincing your audience effectively. They guide decision-making and motivate action.

Consulting presentations reflect the consultant’s understanding, analytical abilities, and capability to provide practical solutions.

The main goal of a consulting presentation is to be of value to your client. Concentrate on their requirements, clearly present your findings, and make suggestions that result in significant improvement.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

A presentation is a method of communicating information, ideas, or findings to an audience. It’s often a speech or lecture accompanied by visual aids such as slides, charts, or videos. The goal is to inform, educate, persuade, or share insights on a particular topic.

Who is the target audience for a consulting presentation?

The target audience for a consulting presentation usually includes decision-makers and stakeholders in a business. This could be executives, managers, team leaders within a company. Sometimes, it can also include employees, shareholders, or even clients and potential investors.

What are the key objectives of a consulting presentation?

The key objectives of a consulting presentation include:

  • Communicating findings and insights from a analysis of the client’s situation or problem.
  • Providing tailored, practical recommendations for improvement.
  • Persuading the audience of the value and feasibility of these recommendations.
  • Creating a dialogue for further discussion and refinement of the proposed solutions.
  • Building a roadmap for implementation, including next steps and potential challenges.

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Consulting Presentation in PowerPoint

How to Create the Perfect Consulting Presentation!

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As a consultant, presenting is an everyday part of your job. Elaborate slides illustrate coaching, strategies and analyses. Projects are presented to your clients or to management, new concepts are developed, and management consulting results are communicated.

A lot of work goes into a consulting presentation. Slides need to be carefully thought out and highlight important aspects clearly and concisely. In this article, we’ll show you how to create the perfect consulting presentation.

Consulting presentation: What is it?

In most cases, consulting presentations are held by people from outside the company : Management consultants . The presentation provides a closer look at the company by an objective third party . Problems, opportunities, etc., are analyzed and potential solutions are outlined.

The consulting presentation shows new opportunities for the future growth of a company. Managers or the executive board can then pursue new strategic paths. That is why a well-thought-out presentation is essential.

5 tips for creating the perfect consulting presentation

5 tips for creating the perfect consulting presentation

Tip 1: The key message

The key message of your presentation is invariably the central idea that your presentation is built around . Naturally, the first priority is to develop it. You can get tips and detailed information on this in the article, Key Messages in Presentations .

What’s important is getting the key message across correctly . You’re a professional in your field. You’ve spent weeks working on the presentation subject and know it inside and out. Now imagine that the people sitting opposite you in your presentation don’t have the same amount of insight as you do.

Keep in mind: Your audience doesn’t want to know everything.

Much of the information you’ve researched and painstakingly analyzed is simply not interesting to your audience . So don’t overload your presentation with content. Especially not with content that has little relevance.

Also, managers and executives are often short on time. In other words, you have no choice but to keep it short and include only the most important points in your consulting presentation. Get to the point quickly. And at the same time, deliver a clear key message.

Align yourself with your target audience . Remember that less is more. Get to the heart of your key messages. Reduce your presentation to the essentials . If there are any follow-up questions, you still have your notes with more in-depth content as a backup.

Tip 2: Know your audience

In most cases, the audience for your consulting presentation will be managers or executives. In some cases, staff representatives or employees may also be present.

Design your consulting presentation with your audience in mind . For example, you may need to address executives differently than employees. Staff representatives often have different questions than managers. Find out in advance which stakeholders will be present and think about how you can address each group’s interests.

In general, the following stakeholders are interested in this:

  • Business leaders are interested in the company as a whole. They want to know how the presentation will move the company forward and what impact it could have on the company and corporate culture.
  • Staff representatives advocate for employee interests. Consequently, they primarily look at how corporate changes could affect employees. Issues of trust and opportunities for collaboration are scrutinized.
  • Employees have personal interests: How could changes affect their position in the company? Will there be new points of contact? Could they imagine continuing to work here?

Tip 3: The right slide design

the right slide design for your consulting presentation

What structure should you use?

Limit yourself to one message per slide . Use the Pyramid Principle as a guide. The key message is at the top and the supporting arguments are arranged in a hierarchy below it.

Use one slide for each part of the pyramid. Start with the headings. Make them as meaningful as possible. Feel free to use action titles. You can find an article on this topic in our blog called, Action Titles: How To Use Your Key Messages as Slide Headers .

What design elements should you use?

Quite simply: Preferably none.

It’s often said that the design is as important as the content. But this doesn’t necessarily apply to a consulting presentation. If anything, a white or blank background looks more sophisticated and makes for a calm, non-distracting presentation. It puts essential elements in the foreground.

Design your slides sparingly. A few important statements with sufficient room on the slide are enough. This allows your audience to absorb important aspects more quickly.

Also, don’t experiment with the font. Avoid anything ornate and go for a font that is clear and legible. Readability is a must. When it comes to font size, you can rely on about 20 points.

Colors should be used purposefully. Overly colorful backgrounds and slide elements are distracting. If you use colors, use no more than three colors from a standard palette.

Few design elements – what does that mean for text, images and diagrams ? Even with these elements, you should stick to the principle, “less is more” . You want your text to be easy to digest. That is, you should avoid long blocks of text to keep the audience listening to your presentation, rather than reading it. Reduce the text as much as possible. Turn whole sentences into single (key) words . 

Be economical with images , too. Never overload your slides. Only use images that are relevant to your content.

With diagrams , you need to pay attention to simplicity . Again, reduce content as much as possible and focus on the essentials. Create diagrams that are well organized and don’t experiment with too many colors. Concentrate on your key message and align your diagram with it.

Accentuate what is important . Leave out anything less than or keep it in the appendix for follow-up questions.

Minimalism on slides also means: Don’t use effects or animations. 3D effects and moving elements are out of place in consulting presentations and only interfere with the core content on the slide.

Tip 4: Practice

One point that should be clear is: A consulting presentation needs to be well rehearsed . This will make sure that any gaps in your presentation or points where you feel insecure will become apparent before you present.

As a consultant, you have to be a confident presenter . Your company is relying on your qualities and experience. You have to deliver. Don’t forget to practice and take practice seriously. You could present in front of a test audience or have colleagues review your presentation.

An important thing to keep in mind is the length of the presentation . As mentioned earlier, management often has little time. In your practice sessions, focus on the key points and have more details ready when asked. Allow a few minutes for questions during practice. You can find tips on how to prepare here and how to manage your presentation time here .

Some tips for giving a strong presentation include :

  • Speak loudly and clearly!
  • Involve the audience (tips can be found in the article, Interactive Presentations ).
  • Establish a personal connection with the audience (click here for storytelling tips).
  • Maintain eye contact with the audience.
  • Be attentive and pay attention to the audience’s reactions.

Tip 5: Structure presentations according to time

Consulting presentation: think about your time limit

Often a consulting presentation will have a set time limit that can’t be exceeded. Some examples are:

  • The 20-minute presentation

To stick to the time limit, but still communicate all the important points, you need a common thread . Think about how you want to build the structure. Here’s a structure you can use as a guideline:

Situation: Describe the current situation. Stick to facts known to the audience.

Problem: Explain the problem that has occurred. Describe what effects this can have. It must be clear that a solution that is relevant to the audience needs to be found.

Solution: Present the solution. Make it clear that this can positively influence the consequences of the problem. Briefly address what the solution needs to do.

What comes next : Stay specific and provide suggestions. Now it is the company’s turn to act.

  • The 60-minute presentation: Status report

An hour gives you the opportunity to deliver your presentation in much greater detail. That said, you should still stick to the principle of less is more . Even though you have more time to present, don’t go overboard and risk losing your audience’s attention.

This structure is quite similar to the Pyramid Principle we discussed earlier. It can also be modified depending on the topic. The structure is as follows:

  • Introduction
  • Issue/objective
  • Solution/status

The introduction provides an overview of the topic. Frame your presentation in a way that the audience will understand.

This is followed by the issue or objective. At this point, you recap why you’re presenting and clarify the key question.

Next comes the solution or status (3). Present the solution to the key question. Make clear that your proposal will solve the problem. Depending on time, you can add details or keep them ready for follow-up questions.

In the details section, provide a comprehensive description of your solution (4). Make sure it’s well structured – put it down on paper first. Cover quality, costs, resources, time and all other important aspects. Make this section as clear as possible.

The decision/next steps slides follow. At this point, remind your audience again of the problem (2) and its solution (3). Now it is up to your clients to make a decision. The next steps are to give an outlook on how the subsequent actions could proceed (in terms of time/resources, etc.).

  • 60-minute presentation: Comparing options

If want to compare options, you can use the following structure in your 60-minute presentation:

  • Provide an overview of the topic and context for your audience.
  • First, describe the negative impact of the issue that has arisen. Don’t present solutions yet.
  • If you had an objective, explain it briefly. Address the person who gave the assignment. Describe your approach to investigating the problem. Don’t present any solutions yet.
  • Describe the first option . Really go into detail and consider all factors, such as time, money, resources, etc. Highlight all factors and implications. Keep this part neutral and avoid giving your personal opinion.
  • Describe the second and potential third option, as in point 3 . Again, avoid giving any kind of personal opinion.
  • Compare the options with each other. This is the main work and core point of your presentation. Conduct the comparison on one slide so that the points are clear and can be evaluated at the same time. Be prepared for follow-up questions.
  • Now you can make your recommendation for an option. Justify it in detail.
  • At the end of your consulting presentation, combine the problem or objective with your recommended option as a solution.

Example: McKinsey 7-S framework

The 7-S framework was created in 1980 by McKinsey management consultants . It represents seven core elements that are fundamental to a company, and which can be included in the consulting process .Many management consultants use the model as a starting point for their consulting presentation.

The seven elements are:

  • Strategy: The company’s strategy must deliver a competitive advantage over rivals.
  • Structure: How the company is organized, and departments structured.
  • Systems: The company’s activities and processes that are used by employees daily.
  • Skills: The competencies of employees (corporate skills).
  • Staff: Company employees, their abilities and demographics.
  • Style/culture: Corporate culture as defined by management.
  • Shared values/superordinate goals: The values and standards that are shared throughout the company (mission statement, corporate identity).

Strategy, structure and systems are the hard factors . The remaining elements are soft factors that are easier to define and present.

Feel free to use PresentationLoad’s professionally designed 7S model for your next consulting presentation!

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Here are some things to watch out for and avoid in your consulting presentation

  • Creating presentations from the wrong perspective: Stay client-centric. Avoid any “I” phrases, even when the presentation was written by you. It’s not about you but about providing advice to the company that has hired you. Put your audience and their needs at the forefront of your presentation.
  • Misunderstand and mischaracterize presentation objectives: Think carefully during your preparation about why you’ve been hired. What is the purpose and goal of the presentation? Are you simply expected to share information as facts, or are you expected to dive deeper and make recommendations?
  • Not use enough impactful headings: Go for clear, punchy headers. Optimally, you should also use action titles. For tips, see our article, Action Titles in PowerPoint . Avoid long-winded headings that go beyond two lines. Stick to a length of about 6-10 words.
  • Leave open-ended questions: Use concise text that covers all key information. Answer the “so what” question, that is, keep the purpose of the presentation in mind, what does XY mean to your client? What is the significance of the projected numbers?
  • A lack of authority and technical preparation: Your client has entrusted you with their problem. You need to be sure of what you’re talking about and stay as calm and poised as possible. Speak freely whenever possible and, most importantly, without making mistakes. Consider all technical obstacles beforehand. Make sure your slides are crisp and easy to read.
  • A weak ending: Avoid using “Thank you for your attention” at the end of your presentation. Rather, end your presentation with an interactive, open-ended question to your audience. Or give an alternative outlook on the future. You can find more ideas in our article on how to end your presentation .

Conclusion: Create a professional consulting presentation

The key to successful presentations lies in the right preparation and dedicating enough time to work out all the important points. Take our tips to heart for your next consulting presentation assignment. In no time at all, you’ll see a difference in the quality of your PowerPoint presentation.

Do you have questions about consulting presentations or PowerPoint in general? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch at  [email protected] . We’ll be happy to help you!

Are you looking for visually impressive and professionally designed slide templates ? Feel free to have a look around our shop. We have countless templates on a wide variety of (business) topics for you to download as ready-made slides. Take a look around today! ► To the shop

These articles might also interest you:

  • 8 Tips for a Winning Company Presentation
  • How to Create an Outstanding Report Presentation

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Three Key Principles Behind Making Impressive Consulting-Style Presentations

Management Consulting Presentations

“How do I make my presentations ‘speak’ to the investor?”

Working with startups, this is a question that we get asked frequently. Startups are driven by the need to impress, persuade, and eventually have a successful outcome in the form of funding or an investor meeting.

The first time I encountered the power of presentations was in 2005. That’s when I realized how much I loved creating presentations where excellent design and informative content come together flawlessly.

In my previous life, I worked in a well-known management consulting and research firm. I was there for a decade, working crazy hours, analyzing, ideating, and working on research reports. Among all the things that took a large chunk of my time was presentation design.

Ever wondered why management consulting presentations are the gold standard? What makes them pop out among the millions of other presentations?

In those ten years at the consulting firm, I had talked to partners, research directors, management consultants, and numerous other people who make a management consulting firm what it is. They all had different roles, but with one common trait - they were all strategists.

A management consultant approaches presentations uniquely. Their goal is to project the biggest value in the shortest time. This helps keep presentations focused on solving the problem at hand with crisp, light messaging and persuasive with facts. My stint and interactions at the management consulting firm taught me all about consulting-style presentations that are emulated all over the world.

Here, I share three of the most enduring principles that form part of the secret sauce behind those mind-blowing presentations from the consulting world.

The Pyramid Principle: to structure for impactful storytelling

“The great value of the technique is that it forces you to pull out of your head information that you weren’t aware was there, and then helps you to develop and shape it until the thinking is crystal clear. Until you do that, you can’t make good decisions on slides or video.” Barbara Minto

The Pyramid Principle is an oft-proven method to craft a compelling story that will pass an elevator pitch test making it perfect for time-crunched investors. First defined by Barbara Minto of McKinsey, the Pyramid Principle suggests structuring the presentation so that the key message is right on top. Start your presentation by answering the problem and then follow up with data that logically support that answer. A typical investor pitch based on the Pyramid Principle will look like this -

Bottom line or answer the XYZ app is an incredibly important app for people with diabetes

Supporting data or information the XYZ app is useful because of reason 1, reason 2, reason 3.

Key message summary the XYZ app makes it easier to manage diabetes.

This line of thought, when paired with the MECE principle, would make a doubly compelling case.

The MECE Principle: to make your presentation persuasive

“In the case of all things which have several parts and in which the totality is not, as it were, a mere heap, but the whole is something besides the parts.” Aristotle

Mutually Exclusive and Collectively Exhaustive (MECE) is a way of grouping vast blocks of information into different buckets for easy consumption and retention. Again, developed by Minto the method is based on Aristotle’s philosophy that a comprehensive picture can be made only by joining different parts. Applying the MECE principle to your presentation makes it

  • Increases clarity
  • Raises comprehension levels

The MECE framework helps break down information into categories and subcategories to make your argument persuasive to the maximum.

For example, using the MECE framework to show the XYZ app’s scalability or its income models would mean listing revenue generation as a broad category, followed by the number of ways to reduce cost under that.

The KISS principle: to make the presentation visually arresting

“My mantra is that it takes the same amount of time to present five ideas on one slide as it does to present one idea on each of five slides.” Gene Zelazny

One of my biggest influences has been Gene Zelazny’s book “ Say It With Charts .” Zelazny, who is the Director of Visual Communications at McKinsey, reveals that one of the biggest challenges behind presentations is to keep it simple.

His driving force is the KISS principle, which simply says Keep It Short and Simple. Allowing the audience to absorb the maximum information in the shortest time with the aid of intuitive design. Some of the components in the KISS framework include bullet points, images and illustrations, visual representation with charts, and large fonts.

Working in a management consulting firm helped me realize that presentations are like mini novellas. They need to engage and hold the reader’s attention till the very end to be successful. They,

  • Act as thought-starters
  • Give actionable plans
  • Present the entire journey of a problem to solution without overwhelming the audience
  • Persuade the reader to take the next step

Above all, it taught me the power of simple yet effective communication and crisp messaging. It is what makes investors take a chance on you. It is what gets you the next meeting for possible funding. A presentation that impresses is one that makes dreams a reality.

Nitin Mahajan is an entrepreneur, strategist, and presentation consultant. He is the voice behind this website and, of course, Qcept. Nitin lives and breathes presentations and his mission is to help businesses grow through quality communication and content.

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This is so relatable to me. Start your presentation by answering the problem and then follow up with data that logically support that answer.

Great post Nitin!

Awesome writeup!

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Consultant's Mind

Make a good presentation in 4 steps

by Consultant's Mind

Yes, consulting = PowerPoint

One colleague joked that he gets to the client sites, turns on the computer and just opens up PowerPoint – even before opening email or anything else. Like a baker who turns on the oven as soon as he enters the kitchen. It’s a large part of what we do. Here are my 4 steps to create PowerPoint that matter.

To be clear, it is more than just making fancy graphs. There is tons of hypothesis -based consulting, excel , interviews , benchmarking , industry research , and analysis . The presentation is just where it all together, like the finals of a tournament. It is “game day.”

Presentation development

This usually comes toward the end of the project (phase). In the diagram below, it is assumed that you have already collected the data, analyzed it, come up with some potential solutions, and really gotten smart on the topic. Now, you are putting those great ideas on paper so it can be communicated effectively. The presentation should be so good that your client can use it over and over again when they sell it internally to their peers and bosses .

1a.  Define the narrative

What is the story line? If you were trying to explain the project and recommendations to your teenage niece, or the waiter at your local restaurant, how would you tell the story? Would the punchline be at the front , or the back of the story? How important is the background?  What is the big take away?

1b. Define the presentation structure

Think of this like chapters in the a book. If you have a sense of the narrative, how many sections does the presentation have? Is it chronological? Is organized by geography?  Sorted by function? It all depends on what you are trying to say and how the audience thinks about the topic.

3 presentation structures

Larger projects typically follow this structure since it is easy to follow. For example, a large project might have a separate deliverable for each phase (1,2,3) and the final deliverable would simply be the sum of the previous presentations. No surprise these tend to be very long, a bit boring, but demonstrate a lot of rigor. Good “thud” factor. (the sound of the dense stack of pages hitting the table, impressing your client)

You see this type of presentation when the client it responsible for a geography (e.g., US sales, European manufacturing, Asia Pacific HR). This lens helps the client compare between regions and weight the pro/con of centralizing or de-centralizing activities and comparing across geographies.

As a corollary, it can also be a functional review when you are looking at the entire company or enterprise. For example, if it were cost reduction across the entire company, it would only make sense to review things methodically from one department to another.

Prioritization

Most executive presentations follow this format. They are shorter presentation which are very direct, and usually target a response from the audience. Consultants use the  pyramid principle  a lot with this type of approach. I believe 80% of my presentations follow this approach. Start with the conclusion on an executive summary  – which helps the executives fine tune their thinking as they hear the supporting data .

2. Draft the content of the slides

There are entire books written on this topic, but the key point is that you need to put meaningful stuff on the page. Don’t put crap on the page. If your content is obvious or blah-blah marketing talk – don’t bother putting it on the page. The question you need to constantly ask is “ SO WHAT? “. If you don’t ask it, your boss will. The presentation must answer the key questions and scope of the project.

3. Refine the slides

During this time, a lot of slides get combined, thrown away or re-invented. A presentation is a living document, edit and refine as you go. If the slides lack accuracy, logic or organization, you have some serious problems that need addressing. In the same vein, you want it to be persuasive, brief and professional. It is a bit cathartic, but you actually develop a stronger point of view the longer you refine the slides. You cut away the fat that needs to be edited away.

This is where collaboration comes in. A partner, or senior manager will review because there are different ways to make the slides easier to understand. It might seem trivial, but clients pay $$$$$ for deliverables, and expectations are high. It pays to listen to feedback. For collaboration, I believe you need 3 ingredients :

  • Diversity of skills: After all, what is the use if you have the exact same skills
  • Trust: If you don’t trust each other, any feedback will seem like nit-picking
  • Mutual understanding of the goal, their input will be useful.  Be open to the feedback

4. Socialize findings with key people

The last thing you want to do is go into a key meeting and surprise the client with an off-base recommendation. All good consultants pre-sell their recommendations with key people before the key meeting. Japan is the home of consensus-based decision making and the Japanese word for this pre-selling of the decision is called “ nemawashi ” which literally means “digging around the roots” to prepare a plant for transplant.

Executives are often very visual people

They have busy schedules and short attention spans. They want to see an executive summary of 10-15 pages in PowerPoint, not a 300 page novel full of words.  Sometimes, you only have 2 hours with a CXO (CEO, CFO, COO, COO, CIO, CMO) at the end of 4 month project – so you need to make sure that your presentation makes an impact.

Story telling

Consultants are good at a lot of different things, but in the end it always ends with a presentation that tells a story . There has to be a narrative. Sounds idealized, but it’s all about story-telling. Business development and sales professionals tells stories verbally. Marketers tell stories with public relations, branding, and advertising.

There was a project where the team spent almost 2 days crafting a single slide that was notoriously named the “$10,000 slide” because that was the facetious estimation of how much consulting time was spent putting it together. (hat tip: LB, DD). Sometimes it is that important.

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How to Craft Slides like a MBB Consultants?

In consulting , every day is about spreadsheet and presentation slides. Also known as “deliverables”, this electronic visual document is used to deliver information to customers while pitching, providing project updates, or sharing the end results, in a clear, compelling, and engaging way.

The article is going to analyse what makes an MBB-standard slide deck, including its structure, fundamental elements, and formatting tips.

Table of Contents

What is the structure of an MBB slide deck?

An MBB-standard slide deck consists of 5 sections: title page, executive summary, contents and exhibits, key takeaways, and appendices.

how to make a presentation consulting

Section 1: Title page

Title page is the first slide, representing the purpose of the whole deck. It consists of a title, a headline, name of company, date and time. The title is usually less than 10 words long. It answers the question “What is the presentation about?”. A headline is an optional second description line, used for further elaboration.

Name of company depends on the owner of the slide deck, not who made it. If it belongs to the consulting firm’s authority, the slide will have that company’s name and use its signature colour-font scheme. Vice versa, if it is made for clients, the slide is owned by that organisation, using its logo and own design. Normally, the in-house designer will have a template in advance, the consulting firm only needs to insert data. When finished, the slide deck will be forwarded to the VGI centre for the final touch.

how to make a presentation consulting

Section 2: Executive summary (or At a glance)

Executive Summary, or also called At A Glance, briefly summarises the presenting “story” with key points of the slide deck. Based on the purpose of the presentation, the content in the Executive Summary varies. Normally, it gives a snapshot of key initiatives in the strategic plan, company capabilities in the business proposal, customer profile, business updates in review meetings, or merely a project summary. T his helps readers, who have no time to read them all, be able to scan only the Executive Summary for overview and take away the most important insights. Due to its nature, usually, the Executive Summary takes the most time to write.

how to make a presentation consulting

Section 3: Contents and exhibits

The primary purpose of slide deck is to visualise data in a clear and compelling style. Typically, there are 2 types of data in a presentation:

  • quantitative content, which will be converted to charts, and
  • qualitative content, which will be presented with diagrams or concept maps.

Specifically, to quantitative content, there are 6 chart families: bar/column family, line chart family, percentage family, Mekko family, scatter plot family, and waterfall family.

Content and Exhibits is the central section of the whole deck, where it decides if the presentation is well-qualified or not. There are 2 approaches that help keep the flow in a structured but engaging fashion: (1) Vertical Flow , which focuses on the key takeaway of each slide by applying Pyramid principle and MECE fashion, and (2) Horizontal Flow, which concentrates the storyline of the slide deck by connecting all titles to a meaningful story. 

how to make a presentation consulting

Section 4: Take action or recommendations

Take Action, or Recommendation, is a conclusion with proper solutions for addressing issues, usually containing more than one slide with supporting quantitative and qualitative data. In consulting culture, result-oriented is the fundamental mindset, of which every decision must clearly show the outcome/ impact. So do the MBB slides.

Section 5: Appendices (optional)

Appendices section is supplemental material added at the end of the deck, composed of additional slides and information that do not include during a pitch. This section is optional, some decks have it but some don’t. They are usually detailed and back up such as data, process clarifications, additional charts or testimonials for further researching. Packing slides with loads of information only get audiences jumbled in details and miss the big picture. Therefore, incorporating appendix slides at the end of deck will keep the slides clean but still have backups to flip back if questions arise.

What are the key components of an MBB slide?

Top of slide – title.

  • Action Title (or Lead) is a short summary of about 5-6 words, displayed at the top of the slide, in charge of 2 things: (1) represent the main ideas of the slide itself, and (2) direct the reading flows of the slide deck as a whole. The title should be specific and straightforward, rather than a generic one. For example, use “…” instead of “Market Size”. More importantly, it should make sense when it stands alone as well as when connected together in the presentation.
  • Headline is an additional 10-word description down below the Action Title, in charge of supplementing ideas or explaining further the context of slide or just merely giving units of data.

Middle of slide – Chart

  • Charts, there are 6 chart families: bar/column family, line chart family, percentage family, Mekko family, scatter plot family, and waterfall family.
  • Legend, also called the graph series, is an area of chart describing metrics of charts, appears as a box to the right or left of the graph.
  • Bubble (or callout): is an attached message, giving additional information in front of an element, and is usually used to state what has not yet included in the analysis.
  • Stickers: normally displayed at the top right of the slides, working as a note for the purpose of the slide. Common stickers are (1) “For Discussion” – means the representing data and statements are quite controversial that need more discussion from listeners; (2) “Preliminary ” and “Highly preliminary” for those slides that have not come to the final conclusion; (3) “Indicative” implicitly shows that the given numbers are not 100% accurate but gives a good direction/the right picture for the slide deck; and (4) “Illustrative” to note that data are precisely true but rather hypothetical numbers, showing the relationship among variables.

Bottom of slide – Additional information

  • Date: is the current date of making slides, stays at the bottom of the slide. Slide is not always for presenting, sometimes it circulates within the firms for referencing, the created date line helps readers know exactly when the slides are made and if the given fact/statement is suitable or not.
  • Footnote is an additional explanation for the designated data above it, which is no need for onscreen presentation, placed at the bottom of slide.
  • Page number & On-page tracker are for readers to easily keep track during the presentation, and able to refer to if needed.
  • Sources are usually cited below the footnote, showing the credibility of the shown data as well as giving proper credit to authors. Besides, it helps readers locate the sources for further research.

how to make a presentation consulting

Managing the flow of contents within a slide

It is important to keep a smooth flow within each slide and throughout the deck, making it easier and more enchanting to follow the slides. There are 2 main flows:

Vertical flow

Vertical flow is applied for the slide itself. This approach focuses on the purpose of each slide: “Why is the data meaningful to the situation?”, “What is the takeaway?”.

To fully and efficiently deliver the information, besides the basic elements mentioned above, each slide must consist of 3 main parts: (1) KEY MESSAGE as headings; (2) MAIN ARGUMENTS as subheadings; and (3) SUB-ARGUMENTS with SUPPORTING DATA for deeper analysis in form of charts.

The structure of each slide can be drafted based on the Pyramid principle in a MECE fashion. The Pyramid Principle is an approach for creating a logical and structured storyline, backed up by data. Quite similar to Issue Tree, a Pyramid starts with an introduction mentioning the issue and answer, and the rest are arguments to support the answer. Meanwhile, MECE means “mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive” – breaking down items into small pieces without overlapping and no gap.

Besides, try to avoid clotheslines. It is a long list of bullets with no illustration, which is usually assumed as not structured but rather displayed in a random style. A solution is to group these bullets into big categories, with sub-arguments if needed, to show a MECE and strategic structure.

Horizontal flow

Horizontal flow is a story-based approach that concentrates on the slide deck as a whole. It helps connect all slides to make a meaningful flow and grab the audience’s attention. There are 2 basic steps:

  • Step 1: Draft your data by sketching all ideas, arranging them chronologically, and connecting titles into a story flow. This plan is called “Mickey Mouse Master” or “straw-man”
  • Step 2: Make slides based on the sketch. Consultants can both do it themselves, or hand it over to a specialised department called the VGI centres.

Tips on how to read MBB slides

Consultants have to read mountains of decks at a time. Literal mountains. Hundreds of slides. On Friday nights. However, way too little time they have to read them all. Therefore, a smart approach is extremely necessary, to digest the most knowledge from those slides in the shortest time. Here is how a typical consultant will do:

After being assigned to a project, the very first thing to do is to find all materials. Normally, consultants will go straight to the company content library. At McKinsey people call it PD – Practice Development, which contains all documents of internal research and findings from previous client work.

Usually, these materials are in form of slides, which are organised in a structured and MECE fashion, which helps the reading process easier and faster. However, to read them efficiently, skim and scan in a top-down fashion. The order is to read the Executive Summary first, then Index, Titles, and Leads. This approach helps cover the fundamentals of the topic and easily spot out the right position of one specific

During the researching process, there are parts that consultants need to turn back the source and do some deeper research. With that previous skim-scan, consultants can easily spot the exact position of that section immediately.

Sometimes, when information from PD sources is rare, consultants can get additional information from the internal network, This will help find out similar projects that have done elsewhere in the world and contact the key personnel in charge of them. One significant point about the MBB network is that either that colleague already left the firm or still working, they are all super supportive and willing to help at their best. Consultants can have a call with the authors who made those slides to ask for more information. Normally, they will provide additional raw data files, or simply explain via phone. 

how to make a presentation consulting

Tips on how to write MBB slides

#1. Have a top-down mindset. It is an analysis approach, found across the consulting industry, that goes from general to specific, focusing on identifying the big picture and all of its components. Especially in making slides, this helps structure the content systematically to communicate effectively and drive decision-making.

#2. Do Ghost Deck first. This is an early draft of a PowerPoint deck, planning only titles and headlines to create a meaningful storyline in advance. In addition, there can be some quick sketches of exhibits such as tables or graphs in this draft. Ghost Deck is used as a work plan, aligning on the approach and direction to get to the final version while minimising wasted work. Once the team or client agrees with the storyline, the rest of deck then continues to develop.

#3. Ensure writing concisely and wording professionally. As consultants have so little time to read all the material, a to-the-point consulting writing style will help ease this process. Besides, the use of words in slides are extremely important. Therefore, make sure to use the right consulting terms in the right place.

#4. Keep the Vertical Flow in each slide and Horizontal Flow in the whole deck. This ensures each slide defines the key issues clearly and persuasively, as well as organises a meaningful storyline and keeps a logical but engaging flow throughout the deck.

#5. Every content exhibited on slides must be data-supported. An argument is regarded as gibberish when it is not proven by credible evidence. Evidence can be hypothetical, anecdotal, testimonial, or statistical, visualised in forms charts, diagrams or tables.

#6. Every title must be specific and detail-oriented. Titles are the key takeaways of the slide itself and the whole deck, where consultants pay their foremost attention to quickly skim-scan the content before reaching deeper. Therefore, they must be clear and straightforward to deliver the right message in the shortest time.

#7. Every chart must have measurement units and source citation as it makes the visualised data meaningful and gives credibility to the chart itself. Unit is usually noted below the title of charts, while the source is cited at the end of the slide. Also, in case readers want to do further research, a citation of source will help them trace back to the original version much easier and faster.

how to make a presentation consulting

Tips on how to format MBB slides

  • Reach out to VGI. This is a Design Centre at McKinsey that specialises in creating MBB-standard slides. Consultants only need to draw up ideas, frames, or sometimes a complete slide with dummy text on papers, in other words, the Mickey Mouse Master. Take a picture. Send it to India. Set a deadline. Include a charge code of our project. 99.9% of the time, the VGI will send back output perfectly on time. This is the fastest and most guaranteed way to get a flawless well-qualified slide deck.
  • Be meticulous. Consultants themselves must hold extremely high standards of everything to make sure every bullet, every spacing, every detail is on point, even if they are done by the VGI or not.
  • Same elements on different slides at the exact position. This helps keep consistency among all slides. In order to do this, one way is to duplicate that slide, then fix the remaining elements. Another way is to select that element, copy it, then go to a new slide, and press paste, it will be shown at exactly the same spot as the previous one.
  • Bold for highlight is a great way to emphasise key elements or important ideas, attracting readers’ attention.
  • Have a consistent format scheme of colour, font, and size for an even look. This depends on the owner of the deck – the consulting firm itself or the client – to follow its scheme. Specially, to some clients, the in-house designer will have a template in advance, the consulting firm only needs to insert data.
  • Consistent alignment of top – bottom – left – right and leave a small margin around slides, avoid missing information.
  • Line spacing in between bullets and paragraphs to improve scannability.

how to make a presentation consulting

Terminology & Recap

  • Deck, or “PowerPoint presentation”, is a series of slides about one specific topic, used in almost every consulting situation, including final reports, formal presentations, and detailed analysis documents.
  • Ghost Deck is the skeleton of the whole deck, consists of titles and headlines only. Most ghost decks are blank, however, some include rough sketches of exhibits (tables, graphs, etc.). Ghost Deck drafts out the storyline before going into details, helps minimise wasted work if there is any popup change in data.
  • E xecutive summary is a summary, briefly recapping the most important insights of the presentation, placed as the second slide in the deck (after the Title Page).
  • Appendix, also referred to as “back-up pages”, is a supplemental section of additional data that do not include during the pitch, placed at the end of the deck.
  • Mickey Mouse Master, or “straw-man”, is a draft of a presentation, presenting the Ghost Deck on a 3×3 grid paper.
  • VGI is a support centre at McKinsey, in charge of creating an MBB-standard slide deck by request. Consultants can send their Ghost Deck with specific data to the VGI office, give further explanation or requirement if needed, at set a deadline. The VGI office will take the request and send back the presentation to further touch if needed.
  • Action Title is a short summary, about 5-6 words long written in a concise and to-the-point fashion, representing the key ideas in a meaningful story flow. It is placed at the top of the slide.
  • Lead is an additional description presenting supplementing ideas or further explanation of the slide, placed below the Action Title.
  • Legend is an area of chart describing its metrics, explaining characters, symbols, or marking patterns that are usually unfamiliar to readers, placed as a box to the right or left of the graph.
  • Bubble, or “callout”, is an attached message, giving additional information in front of an element, and is usually used to state what has not yet included in the analysis.
  • Sticker is a note stating the purpose of individually that specific slide, placed at the top right of it. Common stickers are “For Discussion”, “Preliminary”, “Indicative”, “Illustrative”.

Scoring in the McKinsey PSG/Digital Assessment

The scoring mechanism in the McKinsey Digital Assessment

Presentation Geeks

When & Why You May Need A Presentation Consultant

Table of contents.

When you’re drafting a presentation but not sure where to begin, engaging in presentation consulting may save you more time and money in the long run while closing more business .

One of the key pillars of running a successful business is strong communication .

Without proper communication in place, information tends to get miscommunicated, misinterpreted or completely missed altogether.

Look at your presentation as a communication tool. Without the proper structure or messaging, you’ll completely miss the mark on what the end goal of your presentation is.

Think of it like a stack of cards. If there is no solid foundation on how the information will be communicated, all information will be tarnished. If you don’t have the main point of the presentation identified, it becomes harder to identify strong supporting ideas or supporting arguments.

By engaging a professional to consult on presentation structure, design, key points to focus on and overall delivery, you’ll be on your way to have a strong communication tool you can be confident in using.

What Is A Presentation Consultant?

Two women at a standing desk discussing

Over the past decade the consulting industry has exploded with more and more consulting firms opening up targeting different industries. It seems as though there is a consultant for almost everything!

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As we continue to innovate, time begins to become the most valuable asset we have. By hiring consultants, we are shortening the timeline for learning, onboarding and research while reducing the margin of error.

In essence, hiring a consultant is a solution to many of the growing pains a company may face.

See What We Can Do For You

A presentation consultant is an individual or a team who engages in providing advice and strategies in an area of specialization. In this case, the area of specialization is presentations.

Note, a presentation consultant may not be an expert on the industry in which you work in. The goal of hiring a presentation consultant is to enlist their help to ensure your messaging, visuals and the presentation as a whole is built to achieve your end goal. There are many services available that can find presentation consultants around the globe. One of of these sites is Jooble , which helps find jobs around the globe.

Why You May Need A Presentation Consultant

Two men reviewing a document holding pencils

Hiring a consultant may seem like a great idea but do you know why you would actually need one?

When you find yourself struggling to compile a great presentation and you’re spending more time on it than you should be, you should consider either outsourcing your presentation design or hiring presentation consultants.

If you want to create a presentation that possesses a strong message, data points and great examples, you need to know the psychology behind presentations. Consultants, with their years of experience, know the ins and outs of a great presentation.

We’ve listed a few reasons below as to why you might want to consider retaining the services of a presentation consultant for your next presentation.

Determining The Goal Of A Presentation

Do you know why you’re putting together a presentation?

Are you doing so just to appeal to upper management or because you were told to do so? Perhaps it’s because everyone else is doing it.

If these are your answers as to why you’re putting together a presentation, then you should consider hiring a consultant.

A consultant will sit down with you to analyze what the end goal of your presentation is or, if there are multiple reasons, which one to really target.

Whether you’re looking to put together a presentation to pitch new business, create a winning RFP presentation or even share recent research findings in a research presentation, the outcome for each presentation is different and needs to be tackled at different angles.

PowerPoint Presentation Design

If you feel like you’ve been cursed with the lack of creativity, don’t worry.

Whether your company uses PowerPoint, Google Slides, Canva, Prezi or any other presentation software, a consultant will be able to take your presentation from a generic presentation template to one that will capture your audience’s attention.

However, don’t confuse presentation consulting with presentation design. Consulting provides a holistic perspective where design elements are considered to make sure the tone of voice is correct and brand colors are used accurately. Not all consultants are designers and not all designers are consultants.

Luckily, Presentation Geeks are an all-in-one solution with experience in consulting presentations and how to build presentations.

Avoid common errors such as text heavy slides, distracting colors and a lack of graphics and charts. Presentation Geeks will provide you with ideas and solutions to help deliver the story of your brand with good design.

Just A Couple Of Examples Of Our Work

Presentation feedback.

One of the great perks of hiring a presentation consultant is tapping into their years of experience and knowledge crafting presentations. You’ll be in the hands of a team or individual who has worked on countless presentations over multiple industries and have proven tactics on what works and doesn’t work.

Your presentation will be reviewed and given constructive criticism on what works and doesn’t work. Giving and receiving presentation feedback is an art form because rather than getting sugar-coated compliments from your team falling into a group-think mindset, having an outsider consultant may provide you with more honest and constructive criticism.

Presentation Skills Beyond The Slides

The advice of a consultant can even go beyond the slide deck.

Ever wondered what to wear for your presentation?

What about how to close a presentation?

Your presentation is comprised of various elements that go into your presenting abilities. Rather than focusing on just the slides, a presentation consultant will look at your presentation with a bird’s eye view and identify key areas you can work on to help develop a well-rounded speaking engagement the audience will be engaged with.

In essence, the advice you receive from a presentation consultant won’t just improve the presentation material for that one specific project. You’ll be given the skills to become a better presenter.

When You Should Engage A Consultant For PowerPoint Presentations

Close up of two men shaking hands

Selecting the right timing for engaging a consultant is critical, especially if you’re one to wait too long.

Waiting too long is the trap most people fall into. By the time you engage a professional for help because you’ve stumbled into a problem, it will likely take more time and effort to reverse the issue and get back on the right track. At this point, you’re probably too late.

If you’re in the brainstorming process of creating a slide deck, this might be the optimal time to begin your search for professional advice.

The time you should consider engaging a consultant for any presentation is as early as possible. To reap the most benefit out of any consultant is by bringing them onto the project early. This way, you’ll know you’re on track right from the start.

When you start on the right foot, everything will fall into place much easier.

Conclusion On Consulting Presentations - Is It Worth Hiring A Consultant?

Two males in an apartment looking at a laptop screen

It’s time to make a decision – but you’re still on the fence whether you should hire a consultant or not.

Well, if any of the above points resonated with you, at minimum you should contact a presentation consultant to investigate what they have to offer. You’ll soon find the importance of hiring help and the benefit of working with consulting firms.

Start your search by connecting with the team at Presentation Geeks who have years of experience providing presentation consulting services to some of the world’s top brands and companies .

Author:  Content Team

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