The most frustrating thing for many analysts is to have a great idea, but to have senior executives not interested or unwilling to act. You can spend weeks, or even months, carefully pulling data, analyzing trends, and developing business cases for a change. Then all of that goes to waste if when presented to the executive team they don’t understand the urgency, or fail to see why it is necessary. Yet I have met few analysts who work on their presentations skills. Even those who try to improve find that existing guidance is inadequate for dealing with complex data. In other words, there is no guidance for analyst presentation skills.
The typical PowerPoint presentations analysts make do not efficiently drive action and are missed opportunities for multiple reasons. Not only do they fail to inspire results, they miss out on an opportunity for the analyst to stand out from the pack. Presenting to senior executives is an opportunity to shine and most analysts squander it.
Management consultants however, excel at utilizing PowerPoint to create presentations that executives understand, remember, and take action on. Their methods of logically structuring ideas and writing slides that map to the logical structure and clearly state the main point are techniques that anyone can copy.
I was an analyst at Bank of America for a couple of years. I made some big changes to the way things were done in my department that drove millions of dollars in annual impact. But I could have done so much more. My best ideas had airtight analysis behind them. But when I presented to senior executives I often got tepid responses or questions that showed they did not completely understand. My best ideas took months to get approved. I needed to spend twice, or three times, as much time discussing and selling my ideas as I did developing them.
If I had known then what I know now, I would have been exponentially more successful at getting projects approved.
While at BofA I proposed a minor policy change cost the bank nothing, had an airtight analysis supporting it, and it projected increased revenues by $3-5M per year. Yet it was continuously held up by committees with rationale as weak as, “I’m just not sure.” What should have been an easy decision took months to get approved. Even afterwards, when it worked exactly as I planned it, I spent countless hours recapping why it was working.
I first realized that something was different about the way consultants did things when we had an engagement with McKinsey. The consultants took one of my ideas that I tried multiple times but could not get approved, and they got it approved on their first try.
When I moved from Bank of America to The Boston Consulting Group one of the first things I noticed was how much different the presentation style was. Gone were the decks that had no unifying theme, just a slide for everything we wanted to talk about. In were decks that were organized logically according to the Pyramid Principle. Gone were the slides with just data and a title like “status update.” In were slides with descriptive titles that told the main point of the slide.
While at BCG I was taught how to build presentations correctly. Using these methods I was able to convince a major retailer to add $20M per year worth of extra employees, hiring thousands nationwide. I was able to get them to make this huge investment because I was able to convince them of how the increased labor would lead to more sales, and that there were other opportunities to save even more elsewhere.
These technique changes made a dramatic difference for me. It helped me go from having trouble convincing executives to make a minor policy change to someone who got a retailer to spend an additional $20M per year on employees. I am still proud of myself for that one. It is incredibly hard to convince business leaders to take on any additional expenses, let alone millions of dollars per year.
My Udemy course, “Present like a management consultant,” will teach you how to do this on your own. These are the same techniques that consultants learn at McKinsey, BCG, and Bain in order to get them ready to convince executives on initiatives with multi-million dollar price tags.
The class starts at the beginning with how to identify your main point for the topic. It then moves into how to structure ideas, arguments, and evidence in order to support your conclusions and recommendations.
Consultants use concepts like MECE and the Pyramid Principle to make compelling and persuasive arguments using data. The course goes over how to do that on your own using examples. I even use an example from Star Wars. I swear it’s a relevant example, watch this module from the class below.
Consultants utilize those principles to complete a thorough and understandable storyline. We lay out slides in a storyboard to make sure that we are not missing anything. And finally we sum it all up and outline the actions that need to be taken. There are modules on how to do all of those things in the course.
It is not just structured storylines that make consulting decks unique; the individual slides are also designed to be more effective. Consultants use action titles to ensure the main point of a slide is never lost. They are also excellent at simplifying graphs and charts to ensure that the message is received.
While the presentation deck itself is extremely important, the presentation itself is often what drives action. Consultants are taught skills around how to sound smart when presenting, tips for gaining executive presence, and tricks for not reading the slides.
My Udemy course goes over all these concepts. The entire process, from identifying the relevant data and topics to delivering the presentation is covered. I am offering the course at a significant discount, only $9.99, because it is still new and I am looking for feedback in how to improve it. I have seen the effects of these methods in my own work, and in the work of others who I have taught. I hope you will make this investment in yourself to revolutionize the way you present.
In the first month students from 17 different countries have taken the class and left reviews averaging 4.5 stars. There has not been a single 1 or 2 star review. Here are some sample comments from the reviews.
“Anyone who presents, educates or simply wants to sell an idea needs to take this course. One of my 2018 goals is to create more effective, persuasive presentations tailored to an exec audience, and I’m confident the takeaways from this course will propel my execution of that goal. Thank you to Eric Hulbert for sharing the wealth of knowledge. The course is a fantastic package for making top-tier consulting presentation tips and tricks accessible.” – Amanda
“Here’s a great down and dirty course on the theories, principles, and techniques the big 3 management consulting firms (Boston Consulting Company, Bain & Company, and McKinsey & Company) use for their presentations–both in the slide decks themselves and in preparing for and giving the presentation. He provides just enough information without going into too many details. He also provides some actual slide decks (mostly public sector, non confidential, non-proprietary) as resources to tie everything together. Why not learn from the best in the business? This course is great for anyone in any industry and in any role who gives presentations, pitches, and keynotes.” – Jeremiah
I know you will get something, and I hope you will like the course. If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below.