Why Consultants Use PowerPoint Presentations

On August 14, 1984, PowerPoint was born out of a computer tool to produce presentation graphics for overhead projection. The aim was for it to become the standard tool for anybody who neededd to explain anything using a projector. To begin with, the key customers were managers, professionals, skilled workers and salespeople. However by 1993, PowerPoint had become the market leader in PC presentation programs and today holds an estimated 95% share of the global presentations software market.

PowerPoint currently has about 500 million users worldwide and the business sector creates more than 30 million PowerPoint presentations every day. The average PowerPoint slide shows 40 words and an average session runs for 250 minutes from startup to shut down. In education alone, more than 120 million people are using PowerPoint to create educational and professional presentations worldwide.

The aim is to make information simple and on point, showing graphs and explaining strategies and numbers in the fastest possible way. These are all reasons why consultants use PowerPoint Presentations in their daily working life. Communication and decision-making processes align clients to the best decision. In addition, PowerPoint can (if used correctly) can combine clear messages, data and analysis. Presentations are easy to reuse and can be adapted to each customer individually.

the entrance of a big consulting building

PowerPoint Consulting

There are many good reasons for a consultant to use PowerPoint in his work with clients. However, some people question the value of such presentations, suggesting that consultants overuse the tool to bill more hours. However, these claims are often based on a limited understanding of the modern working world. The main objective of executives in business is to make decisions – often with limited time to analyze the circumstances in depth. To support such decision-making, high quality presentations are a vital tool. PowerPoint consulting helps to give direction and layout analysis, and present facts in an efficient way, ensuring the decision-making process is based on clear information – despite the limited time available.

Using PowerPoint offers great advantages in design and delivery and is often a quick and easy way to organize a more complex message. An attractive design in the company colors can help to ensure that the information is accepted and implemented. Furthermore, PowerPoint presentations are easy to modify when compared to other visual tools such as InDesign and Illustrator. The simple tools to edit objects, charts or numbers via simple drag and drop means that everyone is able to build or re-order the slides. Additionally, PowerPoint makes it easy to create a printed delivery because of the natural fit with a A4 paper and ease of projection makes delivering to a larger audience very straight-forward.

A Typical Consulting Presentation - McKinsey Slides

McKinsey is a global firm of more than 10,000 consultants and nearly 2,000 research and information professionals, with global clients in every sector. The firm focuses on client impact, with their people being their main asset, and takes a consistent approach to recruiting and developing their consultants. They place great emphasis on practical, intuitive tools to help organizations generate insight, to inform their strategic and day-to-day business.

Communication is a crucial part of McKinsey and other management consultancies\' daily work. The consultants spend a large amount of time ensuring that the clients get the best possible overview of a problem, an analysis and a final solution. To make sure clients focus on the content of the slides, the consultants always make sure that there are no flaws in the visual layout and that meaningful illustrations are used to support the message. A typical McKinsey slide follows a clear structure and specific rules regarding font size, colors, alignment and logos.

A typical consulting presentation is structured according to the Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto, a McKinsey alumni. The purpose of the Pyramid Principle is to ensure sound logic in both writing and thinking. This is particularly important when giving a presentation, as people will lose focus if a story is boring, unstructured or takes too long to read.

Generally speaking, people (especially potential customers):

  • Do not listen to things they already know
  • Are only interested in things they do not know
  • Raise questions when they hear something they do not know

If used correctly, the Pyramid Principle ensures that a presentation or document catches the audience\'s attention and places the focus on the most important information. Structuring a story that raises more interest and attention takes a lot more than just putting facts on the wall.

How McKinsey Use Business Consulting Templates

McKinsey, like other consultants, believes in co-development. While they work with many different clients, they always adjust their presentations to ensure the personal touch. The feeling of ownership that this creates is particularly important when attempting to build a connection based on trust and honesty. The values of McKinsey\'s daily business are:

  • Guarding clients confidences
  • Not publicizing the work of their clients
  • Expressing the truth
  • Only taking on an engagement if they believe they can create value for the client

To comply with these values, the focus is on meaningful presentations. The aim is to use or create new templates within a few hours to identify 100% with the client and to show the great impact of McKinsey’s professional work. Some clients adapt McKinsey made templates instead of their own.

a consulting meeting with three women

PowerPoint in the Day of a Management Consultant

In the daily business life of a McKinsey consultant, no two days are alike. However, one thing always remains the same – ongoing meetings with PowerPoint presentations. Each project is different and depends on partners, clients and team members. The PowerPoint tool is the most important companion for internal discussions, client meetings and investor presentations and can include everything from simple analysis, numbers, graphs, to high-level strategies etc.

The normal working day of a Management Consultant starts early. Most mornings consultants wake up to a smartphone display full of notifications of new presentation slides coming back from India or daily reports from colleagues who finished late. Most days follow a similar structure, but the content is usually very different. After a short visit to the gym or a run the consultant will meet up with his/her team and discuss the agenda for the day. Following 1-2 meetings, the team will rush to lunch (often a very quick one) and then continue with a combination of client meetings and internal problem-solving sessions. In the late afternoon, the consultants normally leave the client’s offices and return to their hotel or a local office. After grabbing a quick dinner, the work sometimes continues for 3+ hours before the day is over. During such a day, PowerPoint is the corner stone of the daily work efforts and meetings.

How Consultants Outsource PowerPoint Slides in McKinsey and BCG

Consultants from big companies such as McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) use ad hoc outsourcing services to create daily PowerPoint presentations. The consultants are often faced with the task of presenting their clients with the best possible strategies. High quality presentations are a key tool, but developing the many slides required for a good consulting task takes a long time – and time is a very limited resource. To support their consultants, McKinsey and Boston Consulting, Bain & Co and AT Kearney all have a large scale setup of expert designers executing their slides. The effect of such a support team is not all that different from what SlideHub delivers.

SlideHub provides a way for other, smaller consultancies and other companies to gain the same advantages as McKinsey and Boston Consulting, Bain & Co and AT Kearney, by offering high-quality PowerPoint presentations with short delivery deadlines. In SlideHub, our clients have an essential tool for improving productivity and business efficiency.

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