This article discusses the Consulting Presentation Framework. All business strategy and management consulting firms, such as McKinsey, Bain, BCG, and Booz Allen, use presentation frameworks. By and large, they are all variations of the same concepts and design. Since consulting firms are notorious for developing structured and pretty slides, the Consulting Presentation Framework represents the optimal way to structure and present your information in the form of a PowerPoint presentation.
It involves very specific rules for font faces, font sizes, type of grammar rules to follow, and so forth. If nothing else, adopting and religiously sticking to the framework will vastly improve the look and professionalism of your slides.
Over the years, I have come across a number of different of these presentation frameworks from the various firms I worked for. Borrowing from all of them, the framework presented in this article is an amalgamation of the components I felt worked best.
Now, let’s dig in.
On a typical content slide, there are 3 core components: the Headline, the Body, and the Bumper.
The Headline sits on top of the slide. It is a sentence that introduces the slide. Many people use this space for the ‘title’ of the slide. In this framework, the ‘title’ will go into the Body (described in the next section).
The Headline should be Arial Narrow, font size 24, and boldfaced. Do not use any ending punctuation (e.g. no period).
As mentioned, it is a sentence and 1 sentence max. It is also not to exceed 2 lines. If you find it to be longer, then reword and shorten your Headline. If the Headline is any longer than 2 lines, your audience will get lost and/or bored. As you go from slide to slide, the sentences in the Headlines should connect to tell a cohesive story for your audience to follow.
The Body is the bulk of the slide. It contains all the colorful content (e.g. textboxes, diagrams, etc.). Everything you put in the Body should build upon what has been introduced in the Headline. All text within the Body should be Arial font. The minimum font size to use is size 10, because any size smaller (using Arial) is too difficult to read for most people. This is especially true if you are projecting your presentation.
On the top left of your Body, you should have the Title of your slide. The Title is what people traditionally put in the Headline area. It’s a short phrase that categorizes what the Body is illustrating. Examples include ‘6-Phase Approach,’ ‘Objectives of the E-Book,’ ‘Strategic Hierarchies and Related Challenges.’ As you noticed, the capitalization follows that of a book title (per the MLA). The Title should be Arial, font size 16, boldfaced, and italicized.
If you have any numbers or any information on your slide that needs to be sourced, be sure to do it. The source should appear in a text box on the lower left of the Body. It should be Arial, font size 10, and begin with the text “Source:”. Consultants use number of different methodologies and frameworks to structure and design content for the Body. We will not discuss these other teachings within this article.
All consulting firms have this last component, but may call it different names. Deloitte & Touche calls it the Take-Away, A.T. Kearny calls it the Tombstone, and Capgemini Consulting calls it the Kicker.
The purpose of the Bumper is to address the “so what?” question your audience may have. Whereas the Headline provided an introduction and context to the slide, and the Body embellished upon that message with clarifying details, numbers, diagrams, and so forth, you run the risk of your audience thinking, Okay, this information is interesting, but so what? Why do I need to know this? Why should I care?
Those are all fair questions and ones you should answer with the Bumper. If you cannot think of anything meaningful to put in the Bumper, ask yourself if you really need to have this slide in the deck. In other words, if the slide doesn’t offer any additional insight that’s important for your audience to know, why include it all? Of course, there are many valid reasons to have a slide without a Bumper. For instance, the slide just presents the agenda, is a transitional slide, or only is to provide key contact information. Sometimes, they slide is purely to present raw data.
The Bumper is in the form of a light colored box at the bottom of the slide. It should be Arial, font size 14, boldfaced, and italicized. Unlike the Headline, it should have ending punctuation. Like the Headline, it is only 1 sentence and 2 lines max.
To make things easy for you, I’ve created a PowerPoint template that conforms to this framework for you. You can download it here: http://learnppt.com/downloads/sampletemplate/.