If you ask our PowerPoint designers about the different type of decks consultants send, they will generalize and segment them into two categories:
- Keynote presentation decks
- Customer-facing business decks
The key differentiator between a management consultant’s customer-facing presentation and a keynote presentation is the density of content. Both categories need a professional designer who can produce an outstanding look. What is often lacking is the time it takes to create that fit and finished deck.
A good keynote presentation follows Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 Rule on PowerPoint. The guy claims it’s quite simple, “A pitch should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points. This rule is applicable for any presentation to reach agreement: for example, raising capital, making a sale, forming a partnership, etc.”
On the other hand, management consultants bring a great deal of information to the table. The simple 10-20-30 Rule doesn’t work so well with the following types of presentations. Just read this list of presentation categories to resonate with the load of content they represent:
- Executive Summary deck
- Internal deck
- Walking deck
- Scenarios deck
- Field deck
- Working Summaries
- Playbooks and the list goes on...
If you’re a consultant spending hours producing these type of decks. You know how messy they can become. It is critical that your hard work be presented in the most professional way. When outsourcing professional polishing of these serious decks, be sure your PowerPoint designer has the technical know-how and quality processes in hand. We made it easy for you. Here’s a quick list.
Five checks a professional presentation design company will use
1. Set up the PowerPoint file correctly
This entails naming of the file, checking the language to be used. The language might be English, but which one? UK English or US English? Is compress file image set to default in the file settings ? Oh, and before you start formatting, be sure they check for existing animations.
2. Look ‘behind the curtain’, check out the Master Slides
Are there multiple masters? If yes, then remove them because they clutter up the deck and hog file space. Is the correct template being used? Are theme fonts installed? Are guides in place? Color palette active?
3. Headings and Sub-Headings
Here’s where a PowerPoint designer gets into the details and needs to take a call on design decisions based on knowing the customer’s preferences. Preferences such as: Does the template only use 1 font type? What about consistency in Heading font size? Is there leeway to make size adjustments if the length of the heading gets too long? Header container height. Title case headings versus sentence case. Centered versus left justified.
And then comes the sub-headings. Treatment of font color, gradients, shadows etc. Again, knowing the customer’s style guide and preferences become essential. Alignment, case and leading all need to be checked for the sub-headings.
4. Body Text
A good typesetter will understand the importance of type face, font size, font color, hanging indents, bullet point type and size, orphan text, removing duplicate spaces etc. Consistent use of bold, italic font throughout the deck.
The key to professional type setting is consistency. Consistency in applying the same style on every slide and throughout the entire deck.
5. Visual Elements
This is where a designer needs a keen eye for quality check. Consistency is crucial for all visual elements such as:
- Spacing and alignment of all visual elements like images, tables, charts and graphs.
- Header placement, footer and page number inclusion
- Data label preferences
- Transition slide elements
- Instructions slides deleted
Tables inserted within slides are visual elements that require attention to formatting. Heading font, color, and alignment. Check for consistency of all tables and charts through the deck. For example, are numbers in charts decimals 1 or 2 points?
If you are a management or marketing consultant, your presentation needs to capture the core problem, visually present it, and create a clear picture of the plan/solution to your client.
In short, consulting presentations are not your typical keynote presentation. Instead, you use PowerPoint to communicate solutions to complex problems. Your presentation is packed, full of content, graphs, tables, charts, shapes, icons, images. The elements need to focus your client, not distract.
A great deal of your time is spent researching, deliberating, strategizing and then communicating your plan on slides. The last thing you need to spend time on is formatting your content. Let a PowerPoint designer, one equipped with technical skill and an eye for design, do the “clean up” work. At Chillibreeze, we call that Level 1 - PowerPoint formatting, and that’s just the starting point. Three levels framed to fit most business scenarios of consultants; each taking visual communication a notch higher.