Scroll to top

How to create consulting decks like McKinsey Consultants

Importance of consulting decks

Consulting decks play a crucial role in the consulting industry as they serve as a means for consultants to effectively communicate their findings, recommendations, and strategies to clients. These consulting decks are typically data-driven and include analysis, visuals, and insights to help clients understand complex information and make informed decisions. While the structure and formatting may vary between consulting firms such as McKinsey, BCG, or Bain, the principles remain similar.

Role of Business Consulting Firms

Business consulting firms play a crucial role in shaping the success of companies worldwide. Top management consulting firms are renowned for their expertise in providing strategic advice and solutions to businesses. These firms, including McKinsey & Company, Bain & Company, Boston Consulting Group, and Deloitte Consulting, are widely recognized for their rigorous analytical approach, deep industry knowledge, and global presence.

McKinsey firm has a team of highly skilled consultants who work with clients from various industries to tackle complex business challenges and drive growth. Consulting firms like McKinsey provide valuable insights and strategic guidance to help businesses achieve their goals and optimize performance.

The best management consulting firms are known for their exceptional track record. Management consulting firms specialize in helping organizations improve their performance and achieve their goals.

Business management consulting firms, in particular, focus on advising businesses on how to improve their overall management practices, such as financial management, human resources management, and marketing strategies.


Let us see the basic guidelines in structuring the content of consulting decks and key sections to be included in a typical McKinsey Presentation structure.

Building strategy consulting slide decks

When creating a slide deck for building strategy consulting, it is important to structure it in a clear and organized manner. Start by defining the objective of your deck and crafting a compelling argument and storyline. Then, build the body slides, ensuring that each slide supports your main points effectively.

Finally, write an executive summary that summarizes the key takeaways of your presentation. Before finalizing your slide deck, be sure to review it thoroughly to ensure clarity and coherence.

These decks are specifically designed for corporate or management consulting purposes and are often lengthy and data-heavy, serving as the foundation for important decisions and recommendations. It is important to note that these decks are distinct from other types of presentations, such as keynotes or design presentations.

In the consulting industry, the use of spreadsheets and presentation slides is a daily occurrence, and these deliverables are essential for effectively conveying information to clients during pitches, project updates, and final results.

This article will delve into the elements that make up an MBB-standard slide deck, including its structure, fundamental components, and formatting tips.

The importance of creating storyline

When creating a presentation, it is important to have a clear storyline. To do this, you can start by sketching out the overarching sections on paper and then creating empty slides with action titles. You can also print out your slides or use the Slide Sorter mode in PowerPoint to see if the flow of slides makes sense.

Another option is to write your entire storyline in a word document, focusing on the action titles of each slide and supplementing them with underlying bullets describing the data or information that will support that action title. It can also be helpful to create a library of old cases or excellent presentations that you come across, as this can inspire new decks and save time in creating future presentations.

The structure of a McKinsey presentation

When creating a presentation for McKinsey, it is important to follow a specific structure. A typical McKinsey presentation consists of five main sections:

  1. Front page
  2. Executive summary
  3. Body of slides
  4. Recommendation/next steps
  5. Appendix

Each section serves a specific purpose and contributes to the overall effectiveness of the presentation. Let us see each each section in detail.

1. Frontpage

The front page is also known as the title page. It is the first slide of a presentation that sets the tone for the entire deck. This includes a concise title that captures the essence of the presentation in less than 10 words. The purpose of the front page is to answer the question, “What is the presentation about?” and provide a clear focus for the audience.

An optional headline may offer further elaboration on the topic. Depending on whether the presentation is intended for external or internal use, the front page may feature the name and design template of McKinsey or the client organization, respectively. This branding helps establish the context and identity of the presentation.

2. Executive summary

The executive summary, also known as “At A Glance,” is the first slide of a presentation and is typically the slide that requires the most time and effort to write and perfect. Consulting firms like McKinsey, Bain, and BCG often use the Situation-Complication-Resolution (SCR) Framework to structure their executive summaries. This framework provides a clear and effective way to communicate the main storyline of the slide deck.

The executive summary serves as a snapshot of key initiatives in a strategic plan, company capabilities in a business proposal, customer profile, business updates in review meetings, or simply a project summary. Its purpose is to give the reader a quick overview of the presentation and highlight the most important insights and recommendations.

3. Body of slides

Let’s start by taking a look at the way McKinsey consultants create individual slides.

The anatomy of a slide 

When creating a slide, it is important to include three main parts namely

  • Action Title
  • Sub-Headings
  • Slide Body

The action title should clearly state the key implication or insight of the slide. The subheadings should outline the data that will be used to support the insight. The slide body should contain the actual data in text, numbers, visuals, or a footer. It is important to ensure that the action title is directly related to the slide body and that the slide body only includes information that is relevant to the action title.

i. Action title

In the field of management consulting, it is essential to use action titles for slides. An action title is a concise statement that clearly communicates the main takeaway or significance of the slide. This is particularly important when presenting to busy executives who may not have the time to delve into the details of each slide. By using action titles, you make it easier for your audience to grasp the key message of each slide without having to analyze the slide content extensively.

When creating a presentation, it is crucial to have clear and concise slide titles that convey the main points of your storyline. Action titles play a significant role in achieving this clarity. By reading only the action titles, your audience should be able to understand the main conclusions and the analysis that led to those conclusions. In essence, your action titles should form a cohesive and readable story.

ii. Subheadings

Subheadings summarize the data used to support the main point or add context to the main takeaway. They should be brief and to the point. Headlines, on the other hand, are a 10-word description that further supplements or explains the context of the slide or provides units of data.

iii. Slide body – Key elements to include

To effectively communicate insights to an audience, it is crucial to have a clear and concise slide body. The main insight of the slide, which is stated in the action title, should be supported by relevant information presented in a simple manner. While it may be tempting to include all the interesting data you have found, it is important to avoid this. Instead, focus on removing any facts and figures that do not directly support the key insight stated in the title.

The slide body is the main part where most of the content is presented. It typically consists of numerous slides that contain both quantitative and qualitative information. It is important to organize the overall storyline and individual slides in a clear and captivating manner. This will keep the presentation as interesting and engaging.

The main objective of a slide deck is to present data in as easy-to-understand and in a a visually appealing manner. In a presentation, two types of data can be included: quantitative content, which can be effectively displayed using charts, and qualitative content, which can be better represented through diagrams and concept maps.

a. Using of Charts in individual slides

When creating individual slides, charts can be a useful tool to represent data visually. Several charts can be used, including bar/column, line, percentage, Mekko, scatter, and waterfall charts. Each chart family has its unique features and can be selected based on the specific data being presented.

b. Legend

A legend, also known as a graph series, is a visual element in a chart that provides information about the metrics or data represented in the chart. It typically appears as a box located either to the right or left of the graph.

c. Bubble (or callout)

A bubble, also known as a callout, is a message attached to an element to provide additional information. It is commonly used to highlight what needs to be included in the analysis.

d. Stickers

Stickers are commonly used in slide presentations to provide additional information or context. They are typically placed at the top right of the slides and serve as notes for the purpose of the slide. Some common stickers include “For Discussion,” which indicates that the data or statements presented are controversial and require further discussion from the audience.

“Preliminary” and “Highly preliminary” stickers are used for slides that have not yet reached a final conclusion. The “Indicative” sticker implies that the given numbers are not completely accurate but provide a good direction or overall picture. Lastly, the “Illustrative” sticker is used to indicate that the data presented are not precise, but rather hypothetical numbers that demonstrate the relationship among variables.

e. Date

The date of creation is often included at the bottom of slides to provide reference and context. This is especially useful when slides are circulated within organizations for informational purposes. The created date line helps readers determine the timeliness of the information presented and evaluate its relevance.

f. Footnote

A footnote is a supplementary piece of information or explanation that is placed at the bottom of a slide or page. It provides additional context or details that are not necessary for onscreen presentation but can be referenced if needed.

g. Page numbers and On-page trackers

Page numbers and on-page trackers are important tools for readers during presentations. They allow readers to easily keep track of where they are in the document and refer back to specific pages if needed. Footnotes are often used to cite sources, providing credibility to the information presented and giving credit to the authors. Page numbers and on-page trackers help readers locate the sources cited for further research purposes.

Managing the content flow

Consulting is a vital aspect of any successful business, providing expert guidance and strategic insights. Management consulting involves advising organizations on how to improve their overall performance, while business consulting focuses on specific issues such as marketing, operations, or finance.

A firm consulting offers a comprehensive range of consulting services tailored to meet the unique needs of their clients. An IT consultant specializes in providing technological solutions and support to businesses, playing a crucial role in their success in an increasingly digital world.

The top management consulting firms follow a structured approach that takes into account the smooth flow of information within each slide and as well the flow of information across the entire slide deck. The Horizontal flow lays importance in sketching out ideas and arranging them in a logical order, while the Vertical Flow

When creating a slide, there are different approaches to managing the flow of content. Sometimes, you may start with the title and then gather data to support it. Other times, it’s an iterative process where you experiment with different titles to fit the collected data and overall storyline.

The Content and Exhibits section is crucial as it determines the quality of the presentation. It’s important to maintain a smooth flow within each slide and throughout the entire deck, making it engaging and easy to follow. There are two main flows to consider:

  1. Vertical flow
  2. Horizontal flow
1. Vertical flow

The concept of vertical flow is utilized in the design of each slide, with a focus on the slide’s purpose and the significance of the data presented. The structure of each slide follows the Pyramid principle, ensuring that the content is organized in a mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive (MECE) manner.

i. The Pyramid Principle

The Pyramid Principle is a method used to create a well-organized and coherent storyline, supported by evidence and data. It is similar to an Issue Tree, as it begins with an introduction that states the issue and answer, followed by supporting arguments to justify the answer. This approach ensures a logical and structured presentation of information.

ii. MECE

MECE stands for “Mutually Exclusive Collectively Exhaustive.” It is a framework used to break down items or information into small, distinct parts without any overlap or gaps. In the context of creating slides, each slide should consist of three main parts: a key message as the heading, main arguments as sub-headings, and sub-arguments with supporting data such as charts.

Instead of presenting a long list of bullets without any structure, it is recommended to group these bullets into larger categories, with sub-arguments if necessary, in order to create a MECE and strategic structure for the presentation.

2. Horizontal flow

Horizontal flow is a storytelling technique that focuses on creating a cohesive and engaging slide deck. It involves organizing ideas chronologically and connecting them to create a meaningful flow. The process involves two steps: first, drafting the data by sketching out ideas and arranging them in a logical order, and second, creating slides based on the sketch. Consultants can either create the slides themselves or delegate the design aspect to a specialized design team.

In the context of consulting, the term “storyline” refers to the structure or flow of a slide deck. Consultants from McKinsey, Bain, and BCG typically customize the storyline to fit the specific use case. However, in general, consulting storylines often follow an SCR framework, which includes three main components as follows:

i. Situation

The situation refers to the initial circumstances or context surrounding the problem or issue being discussed. It encompasses details about the current state of affairs, the background information related to the problem, and any other pertinent factors that provide a foundation for understanding the situation. Additionally, the situation can also be focused on a particular opportunity or threat that is being addressed.

ii. Complication

In the context of a situation, a complication denotes a distinct challenge or problem that requires attention. This may manifest as an unforeseen obstacle, an impeding impediment, or a substantial hurdle that demands resolution through strategic measures.

iii. Resolution

A resolution is a proposed solution to a complication or problem. It is a clear and actionable plan that outlines the steps to be taken, the resources needed, and any other details necessary for overcoming the challenge and achieving success.

4. Conclusion/Recommendation

The “Take Action” or “Recommendation” section serves as a conclusion, providing appropriate solutions to address the identified issues. This section typically consists of multiple slides that present supporting quantitative and qualitative data. Additionally, it may include a suggested implementation plan and immediate next steps to guide the client in taking action.

To create effective recommendations, it is important to follow three guidelines. First, group your recommendations into categories to enhance reader understanding. Second, label or number your groups and individual recommendations to provide structure and coherence across multiple slides. Finally, write your recommendations in active voice, using action words (verbs). This will make your recommendations more impactful and actionable.

5. Appendix

In order to maintain a clear and concise main deck, it is recommended to include any supporting documentation or additional details in the appendix section. The appendix is a supplemental part of the deck that is placed at the end and consists of extra slides and information that may not be included in the pitch.

It is important to note that the appendix section is optional and not all decks have it. Typically, the appendix provides more detailed information such as data, process clarifications, additional charts, or testimonials for further research purposes.

Key aspects in building a slide deck content.
i. Crafting effective storyline

When crafting a consulting slide deck, it is crucial to steer clear of certain mistakes that can impede your ability to effectively communicate with your audience. One of the most prevalent errors is diving into the presentation without a clear plan, which can result in a disorganized and bewildering delivery. Another mistake to avoid is neglecting to establish a hypothesis, as this serves as the groundwork for your analysis and recommendations.

It is essential to align with your manager and lead with the answer, rather than solely focusing on the analysis. Structuring and organizing the document in a logical manner is vital to ensure that your message is conveyed clearly. By sidestepping these common work planning mistakes, you can create a polished and impactful consulting slide deck that will leave a lasting impression on your audience.

ii. Consistent Formatting

One of the key aspects is to pay attention to is consistent formatting. This includes using the same PowerPoint template throughout the deck, maintaining a consistent font and font size, and ensuring that chart colors and textbox colors are uniform.

It is also important to include all necessary formatting details such as chart titles, chart axis titles, chart legends, sources, footnotes, page numbers, and the client’s logo. By avoiding these mistakes and maintaining consistent formatting, your consulting slide deck will be more professional and visually appealing.

iii. Professionalism

One of the top mistakes to steer clear of is overcrowding each slide with too much information, as this can overwhelm your audience. Instead, focus on writing strong action titles that accurately convey the content and purpose of each slide. Be mindful of including only relevant charts and visuals, as irrelevant ones can detract from your message.

Consistency in formatting is key to maintaining a professional appearance, and it’s crucial not to overlook any essential details that could lead to confusion. Lastly, avoid adding unprofessional visuals that could undermine your credibility and weaken your overall message. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can create a compelling slide deck that effectively showcases your consulting expertise.

7 amazing tips for crafting consulting decks
  1. Adopt a top-down perspective when developing your presentation
  2. Begin with a Ghost Deck to establish the structure and flow
  3. Use concise and professional language throughout your content
  4. Maintain a Vertical Flow within individual slides and a Horizontal Flow across the entire deck
  5. Ensure all information presented is supported by reliable data
  6. Be specific and detail-oriented when crafting titles for each slide
  7. Include clear measurement units and source citations for all charts and data points
Formatting tips – Consulting decks
i. Slide design training

When designing a consulting presentation, it is important to follow professional guidelines for slide formatting. Premium consulting firms like McKinsey, Bain, and BCG are known for their compelling and convincing presentations, and part of their success lies in their ability to structure individual slides and the overall deck effectively. In addition to this, rigorous training in slide design and formatting details is crucial for outstanding results.

ii. Consistent Slides

When creating consulting decks, it is important for consultants to maintain high standards of formatting. This includes ensuring that every bullet point, spacing, and detail is precise and consistent across all slides. One way to achieve this is by duplicating slides and adjusting the remaining elements. Another method is to copy and paste elements onto new slides, which will maintain their exact position.

Using bold formatting to highlight key elements or important ideas can help attract readers’ attention. It is also important to have a consistent format scheme for colors, fonts, and sizes to create a cohesive look.

iii. Design scheme

The specific format scheme may depend on the consulting firm or the client’s preferences. In some cases, the client may provide a pre-designed template for the consulting firm to insert data into. It is crucial to maintain consistent alignment from top to bottom and left to right, and to leave a small margin around slides to avoid missing information.

iv. Visual content strategy

It is recommended that each slide’s textual content be thoroughly evaluated to ensure its clarity, brevity, and logical organization. Any extraneous verbiage or phrases should be omitted, while the language should remain straightforward and succinct. Keep titles concise and limit them to two lines or less, using the same font size consistently. Choose for bullets instead of numbered lists unless the numbers themselves are relevant for ranking items.

Choose a color palette that is simple and use bright colors sparingly to highlight key data or insights. Establish a color hierarchy and consistently apply it throughout your presentation. Select one or two font types and stick to them.

Always stay within the slide margins and use ‘PowerPoint Guides’ to easily view the margins in design view. Use icons to enhance the visual appeal of text slides. Replace bullets with icons that represent the bullet item, particularly in slides that are relatively simple. It is ideal to use icons that have meaning and can be referenced or elaborated on later in the presentation. Lastly, ensure that all icons used have a consistent style and boldness.

Another tip is to avoid using fancy graphics and animations, as they can distract from the main message. Each slide should have a slide number and a source in the bottom section to provide credibility and attribution for the data used. Consider adding call-outs or highlights to make the significance of the visual more clear. Ensure that the colors, fonts, and layout of the presentation are consistent throughout for a cohesive and professional look.

v. Alignment

One key aspect is alignment, where all content should be aligned consistently across all slides. This includes titles, subheadings, and other repeated elements such as logos and page numbers. Using a well-designed master template can help maintain alignment accuracy. Additionally, proper line spacing between bullets and paragraphs can improve readability.

Think-cell plugin for effective charts in PowerPoint

The Think-cell plugin is a powerful tool that is widely used by management consultants to create visually appealing charts in PowerPoint presentations. It offers a variety of chart types, allowing consultants to choose the most suitable chart for their data. Some of the popular chart types available in Think-cell include bar charts, waterfall charts, and Gantt charts. With the help of Think-cell, consultants can create effective and professional-looking charts to enhance their presentations.

12 amazing charts created using think-cell in consulting decks
1. Waterfall Chart
Think-Cell Waterfall Chart - Consulting decks

Think-Cell Waterfall Chart – Consulting decks

A waterfall chart is a visual representation of how an initial value is affected by a series of positive and negative values. It is commonly used to show the cumulative effect of positive and negative changes over time. It is particularly useful for analyzing financial data and understanding the impact of various factors on a final outcome.

2. Gantt Chart
Think-Cell Gantt Chart - Consulting decks

Think-Cell Gantt Chart – Consulting decks

A Gantt chart is a visual tool used to plan, schedule, and track projects. It provides a timeline view of tasks, their dependencies, and their progress. Gantt charts are commonly used in project management to help teams stay organized, allocate resources, and meet deadlines.



3. Mekko Chart / Marimekko chart / Mosaic Plot
Think-Cell Mekko Chart - Consulting decks

Think-Cell Mekko Chart – Consulting decks

A Mekko Chart, also known as a Marimekko Chart, is a type of chart that combines a bar chart and a stacked bar chart to display data in two dimensions. It is commonly used to show the distribution of different variables across categories and can be helpful in analyzing market share, sales data, and other business metrics.



4. Scatter and Bubble Chart
Think-Cell Scatter And Bubble Chart - Consulting decks

Think-Cell Scatter And Bubble Chart – Consulting decks

Scatter and Bubble charts are used to display and compare data points on a two-dimensional graph. They are commonly used in statistics and data analysis to show the relationship between two variables. Scatter charts show individual data points as dots on the graph, while bubble charts add an additional dimension by varying the size of the dots to represent a third variable. These charts are useful for identifying patterns, trends, and correlations in the data.

5. Pie Chart
Think-Cell Pie Chart - Consulting decks

Think-Cell Pie Chart – Consulting decks

A pie chart is a circular graphical representation that is used to display data in proportions or percentages. It is commonly used to show the distribution of a whole into its individual parts. Pie charts are useful for comparing different categories or showing the relationship between parts and the whole. They are often used in business presentations, market research, and data analysis.



6. Line Chart
Think-Cell Line Chart - Consulting decks

Think-Cell Line Chart – Consulting decks


Line charts are used to display data trends over time. They are particularly useful for showing the progression of data points and identifying patterns or changes in the data. Line charts are commonly used in various fields such as finance, economics, and scientific research to visualize data and make informed decisions based on the trends observed.




7. Clustered Chart
Think-Cell Clustered Column Chart - Consulting decks

Think-Cell Clustered Column Chart – Consulting decks

A clustered chart is a type of chart that is used to compare multiple data sets or categories. It is commonly used to show the relationship between different variables or to compare data over time. Clustered charts are particularly useful for visualizing data in a clear and organized manner, allowing for easy comparison and analysis.


8. 100% Chart
Think-Cell 100% Chart - Consulting decks

Think-Cell 100% Chart – Consulting decks

A 100% chart is a visual representation that shows the distribution of a whole into its individual parts. It is commonly used to display percentages or proportions of different categories or variables. This chart helps to easily compare the relative sizes or contributions of each category to the whole.

9. Stacked Column and Bar Chart
Think-Cell - Stacked Column And Bar Chart - Consulting decks

Think-Cell – Stacked Column And Bar Chart – Consulting decks

Stacked column and bar charts are used to compare the total sizes of different categories, while also showing the composition of each category. They are commonly used to visualize data that has multiple sub-categories or to show the progression of a variable over time.




10. Area Chart
Think-Cell Area Chart - Consulting decks

Think-Cell Area Chart – Consulting decks

An area chart is a type of chart that is used to display quantitative data over time. It is commonly used to show the trend or pattern of data over a specific period. Area charts are particularly useful for comparing multiple data sets and identifying the overall distribution of values. They are often used in finance, economics, and other fields where tracking changes over time is important.



11. Area 100% Chart
Think-Cell - Area 100% Chart - Consulting decks

Think-Cell – Area 100% Chart – Consulting decks


The Area 100% Chart is a visual representation that shows the distribution of a whole into its various parts. It is commonly used to compare the proportions or percentages of different categories within a dataset. This chart helps to easily understand the relative sizes of each category and their contribution to the whole.


12. Butterfly chart
Think-Cell - Butterfly Chart - Consulting decks

Think-Cell – Butterfly Chart – Consulting decks

A Butterfly chart is used to compare two sets of data side by side. It is often used to show the before and after effects of a particular event or action. The chart is divided into four sections, with the middle section representing the baseline data and the outer sections representing the two sets of data being compared. This type of chart is useful for visualizing changes and trends over time.



10 creative ideas of data visualization used in Consulting decks
1. Chord Diagram
Chord Diagram - Consulting decks

Chord Diagram – Consulting decks

Chord diagrams are used to visualize relationships and connections between different entities or categories. They are often used in data analysis, network analysis, and social sciences to show the flow of information, interactions, or connections between different variables or groups.

Image source:

2. Sunburst chart
Sunburst Chart - Consulting decks

Sunburst Chart – Consulting decks

A sunburst chart is a visualization tool that is used to display hierarchical data in a circular format. It is particularly useful for showing the proportions of different categories within a larger category. Sunburst charts are commonly used in data analysis, business presentations, and information visualization.

3. Radial Bar chart
Radial Bar Chart - Consulting decks

Radial Bar Chart – Consulting decks

A radial bar chart is a type of data visualization that is used to display categorical data in a circular format. It is particularly useful for comparing multiple categories or variables at a glance. The length of each bar represents the value of the category, and the bars are arranged in a circular pattern around a central point. This type of chart is often used to show proportions, percentages, or rankings.

4. Nightingale Rose chart
Nightingale Rose Chart - Consulting decks

Nightingale Rose Chart – Consulting decks

Nightingale Rose chart, also known as a polar area diagram, is a visualization tool used to display data in a circular format. It is commonly used in healthcare to show the distribution of different causes of mortality or morbidity. The chart is divided into segments, with each segment representing a category or variable. The length of each segment corresponds to the magnitude of the variable being measured, allowing for easy comparison and analysis of data.

Image source:

5. Parallel Coordinates Plot
Parallel Coordinates Plot - Consulting decks

Parallel Coordinates Plot – Consulting decks


Parallel Coordinates Plots are used to visualize and analyze multivariate data. They are particularly useful for identifying patterns and relationships between multiple variables. This type of plot allows for the comparison of different data points across multiple dimensions, making it a valuable tool in data analysis and visualization.

Image source:

6. Histogram Chart
Histogram - Symmetric - Consulting decks

Histogram – Symmetric – Consulting decks

A histogram chart is used to visually represent the distribution of data. It displays the frequency of data within specific intervals or bins. Histogram charts are commonly used in statistics and data analysis to understand the shape, spread, and central tendency of a dataset. They are particularly useful for identifying patterns, trends, and outliers in data.

Image source:

7. Frequency Table

A frequency table is a helpful tool for organizing data in a clear and concise way. It includes two columns, one listing the possible outcomes and the other listing the frequency of each outcome observed in a sample. By using a frequency table, it becomes easier to identify and analyze patterns and trends in the data.

8. Treemap

A treemap is a visual representation of hierarchical data that uses nested rectangles. Each rectangle represents a different level of the hierarchy, and the size and color of the rectangle convey the relative size or significance of the data it represents. Treemaps are commonly used to visualize complex data sets such as financial data and website traffic.

9. Bullet Graph

A bullet graph is a visual tool used to track progress towards a specific goal or target. It was created by Stephen Few as a more effective alternative to traditional bar charts. The graph consists of a horizontal bar that represents the target or goal, and a vertical line that indicates the current progress. To provide additional context and information, the graph also incorporates color coding and other visual elements.

10. Funnel Chart

A funnel chart is a visual representation commonly used to illustrate different stages in a process, particularly in sales pipelines. The chart takes the shape of a funnel, with the widest part at the top representing the initial stage and the narrowest part at the bottom representing the final stage. Funnel charts are valuable tools for identifying potential bottlenecks or inefficiencies within a process.

10 creative ideas used in building professional layouts for consulting decks

Online consulting is a rapidly growing industry that offers clients the convenience and flexibility of receiving professional advice and guidance remotely. Company management consulting focuses on improving organizational performance through a variety of techniques and strategies.

Strategy consulting is a specialized form of consulting that helps businesses identify and execute strategic initiatives to achieve their objectives. Strategy and management consulting focuses on developing long-term plans and goals for companies to achieve sustained success.

Corporate consulting firms bring together a team of experienced and knowledgeable consultants to provide comprehensive and tailored solutions for businesses of all sizes. Consultants typically provide their business solutions in the form of consulting slide decks.

We shall now see top 10 creative design layouts that are frequently used in a typical consulting style deck. These layouts help simplify the content idea and thoughtfully condense and present the information in a logical and easy-to-understand manner.

1. Pillar Diagram
Consulting decks - Pillar Diagram

Consulting decks – Pillar Diagram

Pillar Diagrams are commonly used in consulting decks to visually represent the key pillars or components of a strategy, plan, or concept. They are often used to break down complex ideas into simpler, more digestible parts and to show the relationships between these parts. Pillar Diagrams can help consultants and clients understand the different elements that contribute to a larger goal or objective and can serve as a framework for decision-making and problem-solving.

2. Matrix design
Consulting decks - Matrix Design

Consulting decks – Matrix Design

Matrix design is commonly used in consulting decks to visually organize and present complex information. It allows for easy comparison and analysis of different variables, making it an effective tool for decision-making and problem-solving.

3. Process Flow Diagram
Consulting decks - Process Flow Diagram

Consulting decks – Process Flow Diagram

Process Flow Diagrams are used in consulting decks to visually represent the steps and sequence of a process. They help to provide a clear and concise overview of how a process works, allowing consultants to analyze and identify areas for improvement or optimization. Process Flow Diagrams can also be used to communicate complex processes to clients or stakeholders in a simplified and easy-to-understand format.

4. Harvey Balls
Consulting decks - Harvey Balls Design

Consulting decks – Harvey Balls Design

Harvey Balls are used in consulting decks as a visual tool to represent and communicate levels of completion, progress, or ratings. They are often used to visually represent data or information in a clear and concise manner, making it easier for clients and stakeholders to understand and interpret.

5. Venn Diagram
Consulting decks - Venn Diagram

Consulting decks – Venn Diagram

Venn diagrams are commonly used in consulting decks to visually represent the relationships and overlaps between different sets of data or concepts. They are effective tools for illustrating complex ideas, identifying commonalities and differences, and presenting information in a clear and concise manner.

6. SWOT analysis
Consulting decks - SWOT Analysis

Consulting decks – SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis is commonly used in consulting decks to assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a business or project. It helps consultants identify areas of improvement, develop strategies, and make informed decisions. SWOT analysis provides a comprehensive overview of the internal and external factors that can impact the success of a business, making it a valuable tool in consulting presentations.

7. Market sizing visualization
Consulting decks - Market Sizing Visualization

Consulting decks – Market Sizing Visualization

Market sizing visualization is used in consulting decks to provide a clear and concise representation of the market potential and opportunity. It helps consultants and clients understand the size and growth of a specific market, identify key trends and segments, and make informed business decisions.

By visually presenting data and insights, market sizing visualization enhances communication and facilitates strategic planning.

8. Map Slide
Consulting decks - Map Slide

Consulting decks – Map Slide


Map slides are commonly used in consulting decks to visually represent data and information related to geographic locations. They can be used to show market trends, customer distribution, competitor analysis, and other relevant data.

Map slides help consultants present complex information in a clear and concise manner, making it easier for clients to understand and make informed decisions.

9. Organization Chart
Consulting decks - Organization Chart

Consulting decks – Organization Chart

Organization charts are essential in consulting decks as they provide a visual representation of the company’s structure and hierarchy. They help consultants and clients understand the relationships between different departments, teams, and individuals within the organization.

This information is crucial for analyzing workflows, identifying bottlenecks, and making strategic recommendations for improvement.

10. Heat Map Visualization
Consulting decks - Heat Map

Consulting decks – Heat Map

A heat map is a data visualization tool that uses color-coding to represent different values in a dataset. It is often used to show the distribution of data across a geographic area or to highlight patterns in large datasets.

Heat maps can be used in various industries, including business, finance, and healthcare, to help identify trends and make data-driven decisions.

Image source:

Still have questions?

If you have more questions about improving the designs of consulting decks, leave them in the comments below. Our expert designers team are eager to share the top design principles followed for McKinsey style presentation designs for consulting decks.

Wrapping it up

Consultants provide hand-drawn sketches to production staff, who create the final product. Specialist professionals do the presentation slides. An effectively organized presentation with carefully considered content is far more effective than one that simply looks attractive.

You can visit our portfolio to get an idea of a typical consultant style. Our team of Ex-McKinsey Presentation Designers (Ex-VGI Visual Graphics India) meticulously follow the best practices of formatting and data visualization techniques to come up with suitable chart types. If you require a professionally designed presentation with formatted charts in MS Graph or Thinkcell, please contact us and we would be delighted to discuss your design needs.

  1. What is a deck in consulting?

A deck in consulting refers to a presentation or slide deck that consultants create to communicate their findings, recommendations, and insights to clients. It typically includes data, analysis, visuals, and key points to support the consultant’s recommendations and help the client understand the information more easily. Decks are often used in client meetings, pitches, and project updates.

2. What are the 4 types of consulting firms?

The four types of consulting firms are strategy consulting firms, management consulting firms, operations consulting firms, and IT consulting firms. Each type focuses on different areas of expertise and provides unique services to clients.

3. What are the 4 pillars of McKinsey’s approach?

The four pillars of McKinsey’s approach are problem-solving, client impact, leadership, and personal growth. These pillars form the foundation of McKinsey’s consulting methodology and guide their consultants in delivering value to their clients.

4.What is a pitch deck consultant?

A pitch deck consultant is a professional who specializes in helping businesses create and refine their pitch decks. A pitch deck is a presentation that outlines a business idea or proposal, typically used to attract investors or secure funding. A pitch deck consultant can provide guidance on content, design, and overall strategy to ensure that the pitch deck effectively communicates the value and potential of the business.

5. What is the difference between pitch and deck?

In the business world, a pitch refers to a presentation or proposal that is used to persuade investors or clients to buy into an idea or product. It is typically a concise and persuasive presentation that highlights the key points and benefits. On the other hand, a deck refers to a slide presentation or document that provides more detailed information about a business or project. It is often used as a supporting document for a pitch or as a standalone presentation.

Related posts

Post a Comment