What is a key takeaways slide?

The purpose of a consulting-style presentation or slide deck is to inform your audience or lead them to take action.

To do this, you define an objective for your slide deck, craft an argument, write a storyline, and then build slides. By the end of the process, you’ll have a thorough and well-researched presentation.

However, some readers may not have the time or interest in diving into the detail. For those people, you need to give them “key takeaways”.

A key takeaway slide summarizes the important points covered in the presentation. They are usually the key insights, implications, recommendations, or next steps.

How do I know what to include as key takeaways?

To figure out what you should include in your key takeaways, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • What will my audience care about?
  • What are the implications or “so whats” of the work that I have done?
  • What points have the biggest “bang for your buck”?

How many key points should you have?

There’s a long running rumor that McKinsey, the world’s most prestigious strategy consulting firm, tells their staff to always follow “The Rule of 3”.

The Rule of 3 states that you should always present key points, reasons, recommendations, or next steps in threes.

McKinsey argues that three is the most natural and common way to explain things. For example, storylines follow “situation-complication-resolution”, photography follows “the rule of thirds”, and so on.

Of course, this isn’t a strict rule. The point is to force yourself to distill complex analysis down into simple key takeaways and to structure them in an easy-to-understand way.

Based on my experience as a management consultant who has spent thousand of hours writing slide decks, my recommendation would be to limit yourself to between 3-6 key points.

Example key takeaways slides

Check out some examples of key takeaways slides from top consulting firms.

BCG next steps slide
BCG key takeaways slide
L.E.K Consulting key takeaways slide
Oliver Wyman key takeaways slide
BCG Melbourne as Cultural Destination Next Steps Slide
BCG key takeaways slide