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Consulting Presentation Checklist: Make Sure to Include These 7 Elements

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Published:
November 2, 2021
Reading Time:
7 minutes
Leo
Experienced copywriter who spends a lot of money at restaurants and regrets it later.

Consulting presentations are different from the usual university presentations. If you make mistakes in school, you may get a lower grade and life would still be normal. However, making mistakes in a consulting presentation can be very costly and affect a lot of people.

That is why it’s important to understand the consulting presentation structure and the different elements that are included in the presentations of top consulting firms.

This article is not one of those in which you will learn how to be a better presenter or what color scheme to use to make the slides look aesthetically appealing.

We are going to talk about the seven elements that are commonly used in consulting slides. So, the next time you’re creating a presentation, you should make sure that you don’t miss any of these elements.

Start With the Basics

There are some basic elements that consulting presentations should include. First, all consulting slides should have page numbers at the bottom right corner. Yes, it’s obvious, but some consultants often forget to add them.

Now, on the bottom left corner, consulting slides should include the source and date. Source refers to the person or firm who has created the consulting slides, and if you’re referring to specific data, then you should mention the source of that data. And when it comes to date, you can either mention the date on which the presentation was completed or the date on which you intend to present it to a group. If necessary, you can also use the bottom left corner to add footnotes. Footnotes come in handy in case you want to provide some more details or add some additional remarks.

Now, the top left corner of consulting presentations must contain a very important element—the action title. Creating a good action title is a skill that consultants must learn. An action title summarizes the whole content of a slide in such a way that busy executives don’t have to read the whole slide.

Here is an example:

Bad action title: The future of cashless payments.

Good action title: The need for cashless payments will rise when governments impose restrictions.

"Designing a presentation without an audience in mind is like writing a love letter and addressing it ‘to whom it may concern.’" - Ken Haemer

Charts

Data is a big part of a consultant’s life. Consultants don’t give friendly advice, they give calculated and rational advice. And to do that, data must be presented in a way that is easily understandable by everyone. Charts are the best way to visually present findings and analysis.

Now, there is one particular type of chart that the Big 3 (MBB) consulting firms use. It’s called the waterfall chart. Also known as a bridge chart or a cascade chart, these charts help viewers understand the cumulative effect of sequentially introduced positive or negative values.

Apart from the widely used waterfall chart, there are other useful chart structures that you could include in your consulting presentations. Let’s discuss them one by one.

Stacked bar chart: These charts are great to include in consulting presentations if you want to show comparisons over time or between different categories. For instance, if you want to show expenses for rent, food, and travel per month for a whole year, you could stack all the expense types in one bar and create different bars for different months.

2x2 scatter plot chart: As the name suggests, a scatter plot chart contains data that is rough and visually scattered. The aim of this chart shouldn’t be to look for exact numbers, but rather to observe patterns or the absence of patterns.

Bubble chart: This one is similar to a scatter plot chart, but there are major differences. In a scatter plot chart, there are only a total of two numeric fields shown across the X-axis and Y-axis respectively. In a scatter plot chart, data points are of the same size, which is not the case in a bubble chart. The bubble chart shows a third numeric field that is indicated by the size of the data point.

Some other chart types to use in consulting presentations are the mekko chart, radar chart, and 100% stacked column chart. Remember, charts are a very important part of consulting slides, so get used to them early on in your career.

Stickers

Stickers are generally placed at the top right corner of consulting slides. Their purpose is to describe the nature of the information and to shield yourself from problems in the future. Let’s discuss different types of stickers:

Consulting presentations, Consulting Presentation Checklist: Make Sure to Include These 7 Elements

For discussion: This sticker is used to indicate that the information in a slide, whether data or statements, are controversial and needs input from others. For instance, if a statement in the slide says, “The company should downsize and eliminate the XYZ department,” that could spark concerns and discussions. So, it’s better to include this sticker to protect yourself.

Preliminary: As the name suggests, this sticker is used to indicate that the slide contains information that has not come to final conclusions. Another variation of this sticker is called Highly Preliminary, which is used to indicate a higher magnitude of the preliminary nature of the information.

Indicative: This sticker is used to convey that numbers may not be completely accurate, but they are accurate enough to point us in the right direction.

Illustrative: This sticker is used to indicate that the numbers used in the slide are hypothetical. In fact, all the numbers in a slide could be completely made up when this sticker is used. The aim here is to not present the actual data but to show the relationship between the variables.

Final Checklist

So, the next time you’re creating a presentation, come back to this article and take a look at the following checklist of elements. It’s worth mentioning that you can add or remove elements from your presentation and create your own consulting presentation structure. But the following checkboxes should be ticked if you want to create a professional MBB-style presentation.

◻ Page number

◻ Source

◻ Date

◻ Footnotes

◻ Action titles

◻ Charts

◻ Stickers