The consulting presentation

As a former management consultant, I can say it: consultants make very poor presentations. But what about these fancy looking documents full of graphs (exhibits as they are called)? Well, they are decks meant for reading, not for presenting to a live audience.

And as documents intended for reading, they are pretty good. Consultants have replaced a word processor with a slide design program, which adds more writing freedom:
  • It is easier to add data charts and data tables
  • It is easier to add structure to a text (frameworks in consulting speak)
  • It is easier to group edit a document that consists of 1-page-1-topic that can be shuffled
Still, consulting reports meant for reading can be designed better: cutting jargon and using simpler language (synchronising key performance indicators across behaviour segments takes up a lot of space and does not mean much to the layman), and think better when to use data charts (often one single data point gets put down in one single column chart with one single column).

Now, this document is great for people who have been deeply involved in the project (consultants on the team, team members from the client). To win over the hearts of people who will see the recommendations for the first time, a whole new presentation needs to be designed from scratch. And unfortunately, most consulting firms do not make this final step.

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