McKinsey Style Business Presentations – The Art of Effective PowerPoint Presentations

McKinsey Style Business Presentations – The Art of Effective PowerPoint Presentations

Life in the corporate world can be pretty unfair. Some people get lots of attention and recognition from management, while others who eventually even produce better results don’t. I have seen very brilliant people doing lots of good work, who never really got their ideas through in the organization.

A major driver for success in today’s organizations is the ability to present ideas and results in an easy understandable and compelling way. People who master this skill can be much more effective at work as they save a lot of time to resolve issues around miscommunication or lack of understanding of colleagues, subordinates, managers and company leadership about their work.
Business Presentations are crucial for success at work – for everybody!

Due to the importance of the presentation skill to achieve a balanced work life, I decided to write a series of articles on this topic. As a management consultant, effective presentations is my bread and butter. I use the McKinsey style for more than a decade. Since then, I had to do lots of management presentations that made me refine my presentation style over time. I learned that good preparation and an effective slide set increase changes of success dramatically.

15 learnings on how to develop effective PowerPoint presentations:

  1. Be clear about your objective – don’t overload the presentation
  2. Start with a communication strategy based on knowledge of your audience
    • How much do they know before the presentation?
    • How do they consume information?
    • What do you want them to understand to achieve the goal?
    • What do they need to understand during this presentation?
    • What is the best timing of messages?
  3. Focus on your story rather than content: Situation, Complication, So What, Solution, Call to Action
  4. Use a message driven page layout: Action Title, Sub Title, Slide Content
  5. Apply Barbara Minto’s Pyramid Principle
  6. Communicate the right degree of detail
  7. Use the language of the audience
  8. Set purpose of presentation and agenda before you start
  9. Communicate conclusions early. Provide executive summaries
  10. Keep slides clean and lean
  11. Use action focused active wording
  12. Be consistent in your wording
  13. Apply a clear logic, within slides and between slides
  14. Use colors with meaning
  15. Make it fun – break the rules

I experienced that a big portion of my success at work was applying these principles whenever I did any kind of PowerPoint presentation. Whenever I got it right, whenever the message has been clear to the audience, I got a big step closer to my goal. Try it – it really works!