Tag Archives: Presentation

McKinsey’s $125B savings plan for the Pentagon, Ignored

So this morning there was a fantastical headline in the Washington Post here: Pentagon buries evidence of $125 billion in bureaucratic waste What the hay? Isn’t this a Ben Affleck movie about a government cover-up? No, it’s an internal report created by the Defense Business Board, “a federal advisory panel of corporate executives, and consultants from… Read More »

Slideology 3: Designing effective slides

This is the final section review of Duarte’s Slideology (affiliate link). I am going to pick and choose what to share with readers. Consulting presentations (for good or bad) are fairly conservative and a bit regimented. As a result, the parts of the books about color, tone, font type, backgrounds, icons etc. . . is a bit… Read More »

Review of 39pg McKinsey Presentation

McKinsey & Company do great work. On this blog, I have written about their leader, culture, high-visibility assignments at the CIA, and Department of Corrections. Overall, have enormous respect for the work they do, and the way they have built their practice. By any measure, they are monolithic at what they do.  So, now I would… Read More »

Consulting templates: Visualize what you want to say

PowerPoint. Over the last 20 years, there are very few days when I have not worked in PowerPoint. Sad, but true. Even when I am not creating one, I am often reading investor relations presentations or analyst reports. Pay attention to strong presentations. Collect them. See how authors structure data. Yesterday, I worked with my team on a… Read More »

Consulting confession: I love the whiteboard

Who does not love using the whiteboard? It makes the experience creative, tactile, interactive, and open-ended. It’s a running joke with my teams that I will take any opportunity to pickup a dry-erase pen and head towards the whiteboard – like a moth to a night light. I actually have a 8 ft one in my personal home.… Read More »

Clear writing – explain it to me as if I were a kid

Frankly, many people are bad writers. They come in all shapes and sizes. Most of it takes years and years of reading and writing to correct. If you don’t know the elements of composition, or just misuse grammar, it will be a tough road to writing for you If you don’t read, you don’t have pattern-recognition of what clear writing… Read More »

Consulting secret: stories and storytelling

This week I went out to dinner with team mates twice. On each night, I heard inspirational stories from my team mates – 1 personal and 1 professional – that really made me think deeply about how I am living my life. One story was about friendship; staying friends and keeping a beautiful tradition for… Read More »

No more excel graphs, Tableau is the future

Tableau. Yes, this is french for Table.  It is also the most user-friendly, powerful, and amazing desktop visualization tool for consultants. Tableau is a company based out of Seattle Washington, founded in 2003 to commercialize work out of Stanford. Fast-forward 10 years, and it is a publicly traded company of 1,500+ employees, $232 million in revenue… Read More »

Consulting jargon: What is a deliverable?

You will hear this jargon often. A deliverable is the final product of a consulting phase or project. It comes in many forms, but for consultants it’s usually PowerPoint. It is the thing the client is paying for. It is the thinking. It is the product. PowerPoint presentations are deliverables. This is the actual work product that we give… Read More »

Consulting advice: Don’t use clip art

Never.  My colleagues and I disagree about this. Some use clipart or photos to demonstrate the emotion or “mood” of a PowerPoint.  Not me. Call me a puritan. I tell my team to not include clip art or superfluous photos. It shows a lack of substance. If you need to cut/paste photos or something to “spice up”… Read More »

Presentation Tips from TED’s Chris Anderson

Have you seen a TED video? If not, you should stop reading this blog right now. Instead, go to  www.TED.com and watch any of the 1,400+ videos. They are all less than 18 minutes long and completely worth your time. Very thought-provoking. For those who watch TED, we can all agree that those people know… Read More »

Infographics: Telling Stories with Data

Visual.ly is a website that showcases thousands of infographics where data is displayed in unique and fun ways. For consultants who are in the business of telling stories with data, it is worth a few minutes of your time. Consulting presentations are simpler. 90%+ of presentations will be on PowerPoint and only use simple graphs with… Read More »

Misleading Graph #1: Starbucks Investor Presentation

Charts can mislead. In most cases, it’s accidental. Perhaps someone was over-eager to show good results, or maybe, just did a sloppy job of formatting. Whatever the cause, it’s bad mojo to put together analyses or charts that mislead. Here are some bad examples from Starbucks’ recently investor conference. You can see all the slides here.… Read More »

Why do consultants use PowerPoint so much?

  Consultants spend hours making slides. It’s a common sight to see consultants pouring over their PowerPoint slides – moving pages around, adjusting the colors on graphs, mulling over wording, checking verb agreement and proof-reading. Presentations are also called “deliverables” because they are the products that we deliver to clients. It is a core part of… Read More »

The Pyramid Principle in Consulting

Consultants must structure their thinking. This is the only way to present your ideas clearly to clients.  One excellent tool is the pyramid principle by an ex-McKinsey consultant by the name of Barbara Minto.   She authored a book called The Minto Pyramid Principle here (affiliate link) which essentially defined the way consultants structure most of their presentations. … Read More »

Better PowerPoint: 6 Ways to Make Your Point

What’s the so what?  You will hear this phrase used on projects a fair amount. It is certainly not the best usage or even politely worded, but it is critical: Your presentations need to have a point.     Since consultants are paid for insights, recommendations and results (and often paid on an hourly rate), clients… Read More »

Simple PowerPoints

Death by PowerPoint. Presentations can be boring. We have all sat in large conference rooms held captive by a speaker wielding a poorly thought-out PowerPoint.   To misquote a bumper sticker, “PowerPoints don’t kill, people do.” Don’t put lipstick on a pig: Some people respond to this problem by trying to “spice up” their presentations with animation,… Read More »