Personal Impact

Powerful Powerpoints – Top tips for making great presentations

We’ve all been stuck in seemingly never ending presentations before….but don’t let that happen to your audience when you’re up at the front! Prevent ‘death by Powerpoint’ now and take heed of the tips below…

1) Firstly, let’s start out with a nice video on how to spice it up

2)  A massive 71 little tips here on how to smarten up your presentations and make them more professional and effective.

3)  10 tips to prevent ‘death by Powerpoint’

4) Three blog posts from Consultant’s Mind about how to make your Powerpoints better. Definitely advice to follow as the blogger is indeed a management consultant.

5) A good range of topics covered by Management Consulting News here with 7 articles and 2 podcasts via interviews with consultants and their advice.

6)  An Agony Aunt response to the often asked question ‘How can I make my powerpoint amazing?’ Includes the 5 rules of Powerpoints which if followed should be a good preventative measure against boredom.

7) This is a really good blog post geared for consultants with plenty of pictures to illustrate the differences in style that changes can make

8) Interview with consultant David Tracy about how to make a good professional consulting presentation

9) Another consultant interview about driving the message you are trying to put across

10) Yes, this is a Powerpoint on how to make a good Powerpoint, focusing on the style used by consultants

11) Ten tips from Strategy Expert here and the website also includes free Powerpoint templates

12)  Some really useful tips here for if you are giving a presentation to Senior Management – the audience of your presentation will dramatically affect what you should and should not emphasise in your Powerpoint.

13) Wondering what models you should put in your Powerpoint to display your data? This series of more technical posts gives a list of useful templates used by consultants e.g. SWOT analysis, 5 Forces Framework etc. Includes McKinsey and BCG templates and tips on how to use them

14) 10 more tips on how to make your Powerpoint stand out

15) A few short tips here but aimed at consultants

Finally, check out the previous post on the amazing new presentation tool Prezi to zazz up your presentations!


In 1 month be a better Project Manager

Project managing is the name of the game for the high level consultant. Complex projects need to be delegated to your team members, the aims of the project delineated and discussed and then the PM has to ensure that everyone is keeping up with their assigned tasks and checking that the work is correct and up to scratch as well as resolving any conflicts within the team. It is a big responsibility as the success of the project ultimately rests with you. If watching ‘The Apprentice’ has taught you anything, it’ll be that the PM’s neck is always on the line if anything goes wrong! With this in mind, keeping up with the latest project management training is a must – even if you only take one new thing away from reading an article or watching a video, it could be the thing that ensures the success of a project and a happy team.

Accenture’s Essential Skills series has an excellent video here on what project management is for the aspiring consultant

Top 10 Websites with Top Tips:

1) The Project Management Hut seeks to emphasise the difference between a good project manager and a great one in this post. The website also includes plenty of further project management related posts including budgeting, delegating and team building.

2) 20 practical tips on how to ensure your project is successful and also includes 5 tips on how to avoid disaster!

3) Tech Republic is an IT specialist so it is focused in this area but the same 10 practices apply to any project. The key thing to take away from this post is that it is the right mix of planning, monitoring and controlling that makes a good project manager – too much or too little of one will result in conflict and collapse. You can also sign up for the ’10 Things…’ newsletter at the bottom of the page for future tips.

4) Plenty of great whiteboard tutorials from the Youtube channel including ‘How to kick off your project’, ‘Good vs. Bad Project Managers’ and even ‘The Idiot’s guide to Project Management’.

5) A great Dummies help sheet here on the top qualities a good project manager needs

6) This is a great list of famous quotes that will make you a better project manager – sure to motivate both yourself and the team!

7) Workhoppers says ‘Let the plan be your compass that guides you to successful completion’ – importance of the Logical Framework Approach will come in handy here.

8) A simple list of 10 characteristics of a great project manager based on a study of the top rated 2% as rated by their peers

9) Expert coach Rosemary Hossenlopp gives a good tutorial here on what makes a good project manager in the consulting world.

10) Some consultants may never have had any form of low-level project management experience before they started. This guide takes you through the steps for those who are unfamiliar. Includes a free downloadable ebook too!

11) 5 really good tips for ‘savvy project managers’ here – more specific too than the usual ‘be organised’

12)  Written by a project manager herself, this is a great list of 10 tips to ensure your project remains on time and on budget

13) Another good range of tips here on project managing including keeping an open mind for new solutions and listening to others rather than being too dictatorial

14) 5 good tips from a director of project management. Keeping communication flowing is a key point here.

15) Download this Project Management Guidebook for free here and take a read of its useful tips.

16) Take a look at these 10 guidelines for a project manager from a recruiting website – they know what they’re looking for in candidates so definitely a good list of key skills!

17) An interesting blogpost on what makes a good project manager in business.

18) A really great free 14 chapter course on project managing – should keep you going for the next two weeks as well…!



The official certification of project management training is the Prince2 programme. Consultants won’t need this as you learn it on the job, but there are plenty of resources online that relate to those taking this course which can be useful for you.  Basic PM training for as little as $24 A full PMP training course is available for $179.99 but there are plenty of free resources on this website too $499 for the complete course but a demo is available for free and is conducted by the author of the PMP exam guidebooks. Join this website for free live webinars on various PM topics throughout the year.

21 Articles to Help Improve Your Pitch

Sales skills are so important in both freelance and company consulting in order to attract new business. For the clients you have secured, they will expect high class pitches to explain the solutions you are offering. If your pitch flops with a poor performance, you can be sure you won’t be on the recruiting list for the best projects in the future. But if you can make yourself the most persuasive and convincing public speaker with the best structure and control of a presentation, no matter who you are pitching to, you will be an indispensable member of any team that is being recruited.

So have a read of the following 20 articles and improve those all-important skills!

1) To start off, if you can pitch yourself in 60 seconds then you can probably pitch anything. Craft your perfect ‘elevator pitch’ with ManagementConsulted’s 10 do’s and don’ts

2) Following the arc of a consulting project from pitch to strategy to execution, consultant Benjamin Estes offers some good consulting specific advice

3) A really great help sheet from a consultant at Microsoft on how to develop, perform and follow up on a pitch effectively and the questions you should be asking when writing it

4) How do you give the perfect pitch? This is the most comprehensive yet concise set of sheets on how to do just that, including the Trojan Horse and Pizza analogies. In pdf format to print off easily too

5) It’s not just your words but also your body that can speak during a presentation. Forbes lists the top 5 ways to improve your body language during a pitch

6) The Harvard Business Review offers an interesting article here on how to ensure your pitch is pigeon-holed into the correct corrective box – the key is to make the client feel like a collaborator in the process rather than being dictated to

7) Building a rapport with the audience is so important in a pitch. IBM salesman Shamus Brown gives his top 5  Sales presentation tips here He has a persuasive way of writing down his pitch on his website to sell his Persuasive Skills CD (for the princely sum of $297)

8) A great top 10 list on how to give the best pitch from CNBC’s research taken after talking to investors and entrepreneurs.

9) Another list of top 10 pitching tips, though this one includes how appearance can make a difference as well

10) A short little article by the Institute of Management Consultants USA on how to make your pitch stand out against all the rest with titles that hook you – and this article title ‘Management Consulting is Like Sex’ certainly does it as a good example!

11) How do you win more clients to ensure a pipeline of business? Follow these 8 tips!CpDNy 

12) What about the client’s point of view on a pitch? Based from experience as a VP at an ad agency but still relevant for consulting, here are the top tips from the client’s perspective on what they look for in a pitch

13) Don’t think you’re selling emphasis is strong enough? Take a look at Selling Power’s sales management top 10 tips  

14) Looking for a simple template for how you can get the important part of a pitch across? The sentence starters for the top 6 tips here will be useful 

15) Are you a consultant branching into freelance work and looking for your first clients? Take a look at this entrepreneur tips page to bag the clients and generate business with your pitch

16) Although based at website SEO consultants, these detailed 17 tips from the client perspective here can be applied to any sales pitch

17) It’s not about bragging about all the success stories of your past – new clients will want to know how you can help their particular business. Take a look at Rick Conlow’s simple 5 steps to writing a good sales pitch

18) The Guardian offers some good advice on creating a good pitch here and emphasising how important all aspects of it are to the overall performance, from the brief to the goodbye

19) Based on the experience of small businesses pitching to investors but the principles remain the same in this New York Times blog post 

20) Pitching isn’t just about the presentation but also about the proposal itself and how well written it is. Follow Marketer/Advertiser Brandon Eley’s advice here on how to ensure your proposal and pitch are up to scratch

21) And finally, Wikihow actually has some good consultant-specific pitching tips to gain and nurture business


Personal branding to make you a star!

In the consulting world, personality is a big factor in the business – the way you present yourself can really transform your relationship with your clients. And if you’re a freelancing consultant starting your own business, then personal branding is even more important to get your name out there as the one person companies need to hire for their projects. First impressions are really important so make sure your personal brand is saying what you actually want it to say…!

Watch this 4 minute keynote speech by the personal branding guru William Arruda on ‘Personal Branding for Project Managers’

He also has an excellent Youtube channel with plenty more videos with specific advice

Central to initial first impressions of your personal branding is the ‘elevator pitch’. This is around a 60 second round up of yourself and your achievements that can be crafted to get all the essential information about yourself across in a short and succinct way, such as at an initial introduction at a networking event – or indeed on an elevator ride! Take a look at the following 5 websites for some tips…

1) A good article here on what is important to say with a list of books to read at the end to get more inspiration

2) Not sure what you should say? Some good questions put here to help you realise what’s important

3) Finding it difficult to squeeze all you want to say in 60 seconds without speaking too fast? Take a look at these 4 tips to help shorten the pitch.

4) Worried your pitch won’t interest anyone? Read the examples of ‘bad’ and ‘good’ responses and see how small changes in the way you say things can dramatically alter whether the listener wants to hear more.

5) A good explanation from the Harvard Business Review about what an elevator pitch is and how to make it better.

6) An excellent scenario setting of how people react when asked to ‘tell me about yourself’. The 5 step breakdown of what the pitch should include is really helpful.

There’s even an interesting article in the Harvard Business Review that your smartphone might be the key to making your elevator pitch stand out in the future… and another that a ‘dumbwaiter’ pitch is perhaps more important than the ‘elevator’ one 

Elevator pitches aside, personal branding extends to online presence and general demeanor. How do you build upon your personal brand? The following websites give some of the best tips…

1) 10 steps on how to brand yourself. Includes two worked through examples. This website also offers a service of managing what comes up when you are searched on Google.

2)  A website aimed at leadership for women, to encourage them to not be reserved in corporate environments. Includes an article on ‘To be or not to be humble’ with a very appropriate quote from C.S. Lewis that “Humility is not thinking less of yourself. It is thinking of yourself less”

3)  14 tips to ensure your personal brand rates high on Google listings!

4)  A worksheet to help you work out your personal brand

5) What makes a great consultant? Better find out to ensure you’re branding the right traits in yourself!

6) Light-hearted but with some useful ideas.

7)  More aimed at a business and how to fulfil a great atmosphere with the best people – but consulting is about that too as a project manager and their team!

8) An extensive article going through plenty of personal branding techniques – again relevant to people starting businesses but most of these apply to consultants too.

9) Another Top 10 countdown for personal branding including an interestying Tedx video with Simon Sinek explaining how great leaders inspire action.

10) Still unsure how to use LinkedIn’s full potential? These 21 tips will show you how to boost your personal brand on this up and coming site.


Top Tips for Motivating your Team

Being a good project manager is not simply about having a tight grip on the reins and chasing up colleagues to ensure work is done correctly and on time. It’s also about motivating the entire team to do a good job and care about the project and its outcomes. Consultancies are often full of bold personalities and so with a variety of potential clashing rivals, sometimes things can be difficult. But a good project manager will remain cool under pressure and ensure that everyone is united under the same goal – to solve the financial problems facing the company.

Take a look at the following 10 websites for helpful advice…

1) Loads of advice from Techrepublic on things you can do straight away to improve your team relations

2) A great printable pdf explaining how to be a great manager that can motivate their team

3) TLNT (Talent Management – HR) has a great article here on how to keep motivating people, even when times get stressful

4) 10 simople ideas from LinkedIn explaining how to keep up encouragement and playing to the strengths of individual team members

5) Take this Mindtools test to see what kind of project manager you are and how to improve your motivation techniques

6) A useful post to take heed of in the current economic climate – how to ensure motivation within a team is maintained cheaply

7) List of ten simple rules to keep your team engaged – including beer time and friday fun!

8) If you are working for a large consultancy firm with offices across the world, your team might not even be all in one place. This article explains how to manage an offshore team

9) Quite an academic article about unlocking motivation in staff – worth a read though as it is simply explained but using sociological theories

10) A great list of 14 ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ in management – take heed and don’t make the common mistakes!

Storytelling in Business

‘Storytelling’ has become a buzzword in the business world as a way in which to engage audiences. In a world where we are all confronted by so much information and a multitude of pictures and videos every day, it has become more important than ever to ensure that presentations are led by a person with the charismatic storytelling skills to keep the audience hooked. When a consultant has to pitch solutions about complicated financial problems, it is so important to ensure the clients are wanting to listen rather than switching off as soon as the ‘death by powerpoint’ begins. Hard facts, bullet points and directives are never going to be as memorable as a good story.

Take a look at this short animation explaining a case study from Malaysian Airlines on how storytelling engaged the audience and created change within the business.

Business storytelling experts Gabrielle Dolan and Yamini Naidu (see book below) explain that there are four forms of public speaking which can be plotted on a graph of Purpose against Engagement – The Avoider, The Reporter, The Joker and the The Inspirer.


The Avoider is neither engaging nor useful, The Reporter gives too much factual information and The Joker simply looks for a laugh. The Inspirer is therefore the most important and sought after speaker as they can give all the relevant information whilst ensuring that the audience is engaged and remembers the pitch.

Needless to say, it is really important to get your skills into the ‘Inspirer’ box and will make you an indispensable in any team. So take a look at the following resources for some helpful tips to improve your skills and reach that standard…. In this good article from The Harvard Business Review, Bronwyn Fryer talks to screenwriting lecturer Robert McKee on how skills used for writing engaging scripts for films are equally pertinent in the commercial business sector. An excellent article on how to start incorporating storytelling into your pitches including a list of six different types of story formats to use A great list of 42 videos on business storytelling and how to influence audiences. Includes TEDx talks which are always very insightful and lecturers from Stanford Graduate School of Business among others. Shawn Callahan from Anecdote, a public speaking workshop company, has put together this slideshow on how stories and quickfire Powerpoints can hugely help a presentation Microsoft offers seven articles here on ‘Storytelling in the Boardroom’ and how to make your presentations slick and efficient.

Of course books are always a good source of storytelling so take a look at the following recommended titles:

‘Business Storytelling for Dummies’ by Karen Dietz and Lori Silverman

Aimed at beginners, this is a recommended Dummies book covering several different business areas from compelling graphics to motivating people into action and tailoring stories to specific circumstances. Includes some real-life examples and a template in the appendix.

‘The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative’ by Stephen Denning

A great book for those in a leadership position about how to use storytelling to motivate your colleagues. Full of examples and tips on technique, this is the ‘how-to guide’. Denning writes some of the top points here:

‘Story telling in Business’ by Janis Forman

Recommended by Stanford University Press and winner of the 2013 Outstanding Academic Title Award. By conducting over 140 interviews with CEOs in a variety of companies, Forman gets to the heart of why this is becoming such an important part of presentations in today’s business world.

‘Hooked: How leaders inspire, engage and connect with Storytelling’ by Gabrielle Dolan and Yamini Naidu

They’ve spent 10 years together running leadership and public speaking workshops and this is their definitive guide to how to get people ‘hooked’ on your presentation. You can download the first chapter here along with some other useful papers:

‘Lead with a Story: A Guide to crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince and Inspire’ by Paul Smith

A business focused approach to ensure that clients are persuaded and engaged by your use of stories within your presentations.

‘Tell to win: Connect, Persuade and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story’ by Peter Guber

As a former chairman of Sony Pictures, Guber knows how to tell a good story in the entertainment industry. Uses the Trojan Horse as a metaphor for storytelling – an impressive and engaging delivery system for the speaker’s agenda.



Get to know Prezi – the cooler Powerpoint!

Consultants use Powerpoint for a lot of their job as presentations need to be given to clients to explain the solutions you have proposed in your report. But sitting through presentations can sometimes get a little boring. To solve this problem of keeping audiences engaged, Prezi has come up with new dynamic forms of animation and organisation for slide shows.

Although you might think that animations are a waste of time, remember that the aim of a presentation is to sell your management solution to the client and if they are drawn into your presentation, they’ll be more likely to be captivated by your points and remember them well. The characteristic ‘zooming’ function of Prezi is ideal for illustrating the big picture and focusing in on details.

Prezi is free to use on a public account but to have a private account or to use Prezi offline, there is an annual charge. See 

For simple advice on getting to know this software, to wow both your peers and clients, check out the following websites… Basics and manual, as well as a system to submit your own help requests  Quick start 2 page guide to creating your first Prezi More quick steps for Prezi Simple basics of Prezi for beginners  Great step by step blog post on how to import a Powerpoint presentation into Prezi in order to zazz it up!  Quick list of Prezi basics and keyboard shortcuts

However, do remember that Prezi is not suitable for all presentations. It’s constant zooming can be distracting and the emphasis on a non-linear, brainstorming like structure to show how things are intertwined can be confusing if you are explaining a step by step process. So don’t forsake Powerpoint entirely! Ensure your presentation is matched to the needs of the audience to whom you are presenting. See the following websites for info on the pros and cons: London School of Economics article on when Prezi is suitable and not suitable for learning Short presentation on basic pros and cons   Good article on reviewing the new Prezi technology. Still has a fondness for Powerpoint though and has a book about how to make Powerpoint as good as Prezi.

P.S. is a new presentation tool that might soon overtake Prezi in it’s innovative design formats for Powerpoint. It’s less about animation and more about interesting template designs…so check out this too for more ideas!

See an introduction to emaze here:

Top 5 analogies from David Maister

David Maister is known as the ‘Consultant’s Consultant’. This top Harvard Business Professor has become somewhat of a celebrity in the business world by giving the definitive no-nonsense advice on how to manage people. His simple analogies put the business world into every-day perspective. At the areas of strategy, managing, client relations and careers are covered both in articles and in videos.

1) The Fat Smoker  If you’re a fat smoker, you already know what you should do to get fit and stop smoking, but choose not to do it. Maister explains that money is continuously wasted in training good managers what they already know. Strategies and mission statements of all firms are the same – what is needed is drive, courage and determination to change.

2) Earning a relationship in business To become a genius at selling, you have to think from the other person’s point of view; what would make the other person want to give something to me? By giving a long anecdote on how he met his wife, Maister explains that you have to make THEM want to enter into a relationship with you and give them a reason to want to do that, for example with networking make sure you are reciprocal in giving help as well as receiving it. Related video on ‘Romancing clients’ here: 

3) Managing Dad How do you deal effectively with clients, particularly different ones? Criticism never usually goes down very well and by placing it in the realm of a family issue, Maister explains that you have to try and understand the best way to handle people and have the patience and interpersonal skills to relate to the way they want to be dealt with. To get people to accept the solutions that you offer, you have to understand the way that your clients work.

4) How do you train a pigeon?  For those in the hiring position, Maister explains that, like if you were to train a pigeon, you must first draw a line in the sand and see if the participant is even willing to play. If they don’t want to go the way you’re going, then get rid of them – if a person doesn’t get on board with the standards of your company then they will be more trouble later. Don’t hire for expediency – the person has to share the energy and enthusiasm of the entire company. And to develop and improve your employees, you have to make goals that sound reasonable and fit with that expected standard, which they are already on board with.

5) Excitement  By referring to the albeit rather morbid analogy of what would you want on your tombstone, Maister makes it clear that it is only through passion and enthusiasm that good business is done.

Top 10 Video channels for Self-improvement and Motivation

There’s nothing quite like a nice inspiring story or piece of useful life advice…they have the ability to change our opinions and attitudes to our daily lives and improve them for the better. For a management consultant, who spends a lot of time on journeys, why not listen to some of the following channels whilst grabbing some shut-eye on a plane or train? Your managers may just notice a difference in your attitude on Monday morning!

1)   Capture Your Flag is far and away the most interesting self improvement channel by listening to stories from those at the top of the game. With the tag line ‘interviewing tomorrow’s leaders today’, you can tell there will be useful advice here for self motivated self starters. The videos are arranged into the categories ‘Courage’, ‘Reflection’, ‘Contribution’, ‘Self-Awareness’ and ‘Diligence’. These categories therefore cover personal changes as well as those relevant to business, though don’t underestimate the impact that personal changes can have on your business life! All the interviews are really interesting and very short at around 2 minutes each, so perfect to listen to on the go. For more on who the interviewees are, check out the main website at

2) Amazing range of animated shorts by the RSA with new ones uploaded monthly on everything from persuasion to effectively using the internet. Animations are always fun and often stick in your head longer too!

3) A large range of self help videos on Videojug covering everything from the professional to the personal life.

4) Actualized.Org offers some lengthy discussions on a range of topics including how to be more stoic and how to think positively

5) Self improvement coach Noah Hammond offers tips for lots of different situations from making friends to preventing negative thoughts.

6) Long videos of motivational speeches from Motivation and More – will be sure to get you out the door and raring to go and face the office!

7) Mateusz M offers a range of motivational picture compilations here – even the titles like ‘Unstoppable’ ‘Dream’ and ‘Hero’ start to fire you up!

8)  Motivation Grid offers more of these inspirational speeches set to music

9) Absolute Motivation is a new youtube channel posting several motivational videos, again on the inspiration theme

10) This is a channel dedicated to stopping anxiety from agoraphobia to social situations. In a high pressured job environment, anxiety is a problem many people encounter so here are some ways on how to deal with the stress.

Top 6 Consultancy Recruitment Videos

Recruitment videos can either be a bit bland and dull or they can be epic. I don’t know about you, but in this day and age the marketing and adverts of companies can be one of the major draws to further investigate them. So if management consultancies are trying to attract the best graduates around the world, what lengths are they going to go to in their videos…? Well here are the Top 6 consultancy adverts out there -bet you want to be a management consultant after watching these!

1) Accenture ‘The Science of Management Consultancy’ US 2012

This has got to be the most dramatic of all recruitment videos – it’s so empowering that it makes you feel like by training and working for this firm you could really be part of an amazing global business that encompasses the whole world (so I guess the marketing works then!) Dramatic music always makes something awesome (just ask Hans Zimmer) though I have to say that plenty of the images seem really random and irrelevant for the daily life of a consultant mainly being sitting in meetings and agonising over presentations and paperwork. I really don’t think there would ever be a time where a management consultant would stand on top of a snow capped mountain…Although they try to make it look like it, they are not a mountain adventure company so don’t be fooled!

2) PwC ‘Graduate Recruitment Video’ Australia 2006

This wins for most random recruitment video – and indeed apparantly it won the Best Graduate Intake Award that year…guess all those students hoped their job would just be hula hooping, pogo sticking and segwaying around all day to the top of the ladder (which to be fair is basically all the advert implies…!)

3) Ernst & Young ‘Recruiting Commercial’ Sweden 2007

This definitely wins for most amusing recruitment video! Guess it would make any friends who think management consultancy is dull realise that perhaps there are actors out there who really dream of auditing…(?!)

4) Accenture ‘Management Consulting Careers’ US 2010

Accenture wins again with more dramatic music and dramatic scenery….surely there isn’t so much drama for literally every second of the day as this counting down clock suggests?! Well, you probably will be working all hours of the day though so I guess that’s slightly more accurate than the last one…!

5) Deloitte ‘Graduate Recruitment Promo’ Russia 2012

Plenty of sports and fun activities being shown here – being part of Deloitte seems like you can be part of a much larger range of activities. But remember, the main focus of your job is going to be management consultancy – not playing football.

6) Oliver Wyman ‘Our World’ US 2012

Plenty of shots from around the world here, emphasising the international aspects of the company and the travel opportunities that are a major draw to this line of work. And of course throughout it is emphasised that everyone at this company is ‘so interesting and friendly and the best’ – who wouldn’t want to work with people like that?