Consulting Presentation Resources

This comprehensive guide offers a range of useful techniques, templates, and tools to structure and build slide decks like top-tier consultants.

Guides and resources

Consulting Presentation Glossary and Jargon 

10,000 foot view
A broad overview or general perspective on a situation or project. It provides a high-level understanding without delving into specific details.

80/20 rule 
Also known as the Pareto Principle, it states that 80% of the effects or outcomes come from 20% of the causes or inputs. In a business context, it might mean that 80% of a company's profits come from 20% of its customers.    

Action Plan
A detailed strategy or roadmap outlining the steps and resources required to achieve a specific goal or objective. Action plans together are sometimes referred to as an Implementation Plan. 

A calculation done quickly to provide a rough estimate of the value of something to decide if a course of action is worth investing additional time to pursue or not. 

In consulting, a baseline typically refers to the current state of a client's operations, performance, capabilities, or other key metrics before any strategic changes are made. It serves as a reference point against which improvements or changes can be measured, ensuring that the impact of a consultant's recommendations can be quantified. 

Big 3      
Refers to the top three most prestigious management consulting firms, traditionally considered to be McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and Bain & Company. 

Big 4      
Refers to the four largest international accounting and professional services firms, typically Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Ernst & Young (EY), and KPMG. 

Boil the Ocean      
Consulting jargon that refers to taking on an overwhelming or impossible task. The term is often used to advise against doing too much or tackling an overly broad problem.

Refers to something that is well-organized, structured, or finalized. If a proposal is "buttoned-up," it's ready for presentation without any loose ends. 

The agreement or commitment from stakeholders or team members on a particular decision, strategy, or course of action. For example, "we need to get buy-in from the client before finalising the presentation". 

Refers to the highest-ranking executive positions within a company. The "C" stands for "chief." Examples include CEO (Chief Executive Officer), CFO (Chief Financial Officer), and CTO (Chief Technology Officer).

Stands for "Compound Annual Growth Rate". Consultants use CAGR to analyze and present the growth of different metrics - revenue, customer base, market share, etc., over multiple years. This provides a smoothed-out growth perspective, as opposed to year-over-year changes, which can be erratic. 

Case study      
In consulting, a case study is a detailed examination of a particular project, initiative, or business situation that the consulting firm has addressed in the past. The primary purpose is to showcase the firm's expertise, methodology, and results achieved, serving both as a learning tool and a marketing instrument. 

Cause and Effect 
A relationship in which a change in one variable (the cause) results in a change in another variable (the effect). 

Circle Back      
A colloquial term meaning to revisit or follow up on a particular topic or issue at a later time. 

Simply means customer, but the distinction between "customer" and "client" is subtle but important, especially in professions like consulting. The term client implies a longer-term, more personal, and collaborative partnership, whereas the term customer generally suggests a more transactional relationship.  

Cost-benefit analysis      
A systematic approach to estimate the monetary costs and potential benefits of different alternatives. 
Example: Should we build, buy, or partner to gain access to this new market?

When a presentation or idea is described as "crisp," it means it's clear, concise, and to the point, without any unnecessary details or fluff.

Due Diligence Questionnaire. A document used to gather information on a company's operations and capabilities, often during a vetting process.

A PowerPoint presentation used to convey information or lay out a strategy. 

The product or service that a consultant needs to deliver to a client or stakeholder as an outcome of a project or engagement. 

In consulting, an engagement refers to a specific project or assignment contracted between the consulting firm and the client. Also known as a project or a case.

Stands for "End Of Day." A common deadline given for tasks or to denote the end of the business day. 

Executive Summary      
A brief section at the beginning of a longer slide deck or proposal that summarizes the main points or findings. It provides readers with a concise overview of the key take-aways and recommendations. 

Fact Pack      
A detailed document containing data, insights, and background information used to inform a project or presentation. 

Gap analysis      
A method of assessing the differences in performance between actual results and expected results. A Gab analysis can help organizations determine what steps must be taken to close the gap and improve performance. 

Hard Stop      
A non-negotiable end time for a meeting or activity, after which the person cannot continue the current activity due to other commitments.      

'I need someone who can hit the ground running'      
A phrase indicating the need for someone who can start a job or task with little to no training or introduction. 
I'm calling to touch base      
A casual way of saying that the purpose of the call is to check in or update someone on a particular matter. 
Leading Indicator      
A measurable factor that signals future events or trends before they fully manifest. For instance, in economic analyses, a rise in building permits can be a leading indicator of future growth in the construction sector. 

Litmus test      
A quick and decisive test to evaluate the feasibility or success of something. In consulting, it's a simple way to determine if a concept or idea will work or not. 

MBB (acronym)      
McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and Bain & Company. 

A popular consulting term that stands for "Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive." It's a systematic way of ensuring you have considered all relevant facets of a problem without overlap. In essence, it means breaking down a problem into components such that each component is distinct (no overlap) and that you've considered all potential components (nothing is missed out). 

Significant, transformative, global forces that define the future by having a far-reaching impact on businesses, societies, economies, cultures, and personal lives. Typical examples are 'aging society,' urbanization, environmental change, and digitalization. 

A significant event, achievement, or stage in a project, often marking progress towards a larger objective. In consulting, milestones are often used to track progress, ensure timely delivery, and provide clients with clear checkpoints for review or approval. 

Opportunity cost      
The cost of forgoing the next best alternative when making a decision. It represents the benefits an individual or business misses out on when choosing one possibility over another.      

Performance Driver      
Elements or factors that contribute to the improvement of results within a business or company. They might be internal, such as employee engagement, or external, such as market demand or customer satisfaction. 

Pyramid Principle      
A communication technique developed by Barbara Minto at McKinsey & Company. It suggests that ideas in writing should always form a pyramid structure. The main idea is presented first, followed by its supporting arguments or data. 

A subjective form of measurement. Examples of qualitative measurement are surveys and customer feedback forms.    

Referring to data or information that can be measured and expressed numerically, such as sales numbers or production output.    

In business, it refers to the probability of an event occurring that will have a negative impact on achieving objectives. A risk is not yet causing problems but instead has the potential to escalate into an issue in the future.

Risk mitigation      
The process of identifying, assessing, and reducing risks in a systematic way. In consulting, this often involves creating strategies to minimize the negative impact of unforeseen events on the project or business. 

The clearly defined boundaries or extent of a project or engagement. The scope outlines what will and will not be included in a project's deliverables. 

Scope creep      
Refers to the uncontrolled changes or continuous growth in a project's scope. This typically occurs when the project's objectives are not clearly defined or documented. Scope creep often leads to project delays and cost overruns. 

SCR Framework       
The acronym stands for: Situation-Complication-Resolution. It's a structured approach to problem-solving and communication, often used in consulting. SCR is sometimes called SCA, SCQA, or 'approach-findings-implications.  

SMART Goal      
Refers to goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These 5 criteria ensure that goals are clear, realistic, and trackable. 

Stands for "Subject Matter Expert." Someone who is an expert in a specific domain or area. 

Systematic consulting process 
A structured approach taken by consultants to solve client problems, which usually involves stages like problem definition, data collection, analysis, recommendation, and implementation.

Key points or essential information to remember after a presentation, meeting, or discussion. 

A software add-on for Microsoft PowerPoint and Excel, often used in consulting to create complex charts and data visualizations more efficiently. 
Trend Analysis 
The process of analyzing data or information to identify patterns or trends. In consulting, it's used to forecast future trends, allowing companies to capitalize on opportunities and counter threats.

Value Chain      
Introduced by Michael Porter, it's a set of activities that businesses go through - from the conception of a product to its delivery and after-sales service. Each step adds value to the product. It helps companies analyze where to create value in their processes to gain a competitive advantage.      

Value Proposition      
Defines the unique value a product, service, or company provides to customers, differentiating it from competitors. The value proposition should clearly communicate why a customer should choose this particular offering over others.

Vision Statement  
A clear and inspirational declaration of an organization's long-term objectives designed to guide its strategy process and internal decision-making. It reflects what an organization aspires to be or achieve in the future. 

What's the So-what?      
A phrase often used in consulting to prompt deeper thinking or to challenge the relevance or significance of presented information. It pushes individuals to consider the implications or importance of the data or findings.