How to speak like a consultant?

Case interview prep
New answer on Nov 04, 2020
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Nov 03, 2020

I am a soft-spoken and polite person however that sometimes come across as under-confident. I want to know how to sound like a leader or a consultant. I need advice on the delivery not on the structuring of my answers. Any great female speakers or podcasters that I can listen to.

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Francesco
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replied on Nov 03, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Great you are taking this seriously as it is a very important point.

First of all, you may want to work on your body language and voice. Even if you are nervous, you don’t want to show that. You could work on the following:

  1. Sound of your voice. Monotone voice is one of the major elements of poor communication. Speaking fast is also another element that can give an impression of lack of confidence. If you have issues on this area I would suggest to listen to podcasts with great speakers for 30min – 1h per day with headphones. After some days you will start to speak in a similar way, as you will absorb their communication style. Can’t think about female speakers specifically, but I like Darren Dailyin terms of style. You may also just go on Audible and listen to the sample of books you would like to listen to check the voice of the speaker and see if you like it before buying one
  2. Smile. Smiling can be a powerful element to show you enjoy the interview (and interviewer) and are not afraid. You can force smiles (although not too much) in case you get feedback you are not doing that.
  3. Eye contact. You should not always look the interviewer in the eyes. But you should not look away when he/she asks you something (in particular in case you get questions such as “Why should I hire you”)
  4. Ability to break the ice. Confident people are not afraid to start small talks with interviewers from the beginning. Keeping silence creates less connection and may be considered a sign of lack of confidence
  5. Posture. Leaning too much towards the interviewer is also a sign of lack of confidence. You should keep a straight position most of the time.

You may also want to work on your mindset. The interview should be an opportunity to understand if you and the company are a mutually good fit and show the skills you practiced, not the only chance you have to change your career. This confidence comes only with practice.

Finally, you may want to exercise with people that put you in a situation of pressure, so that there are no surprises the day of the interview.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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Adi
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replied on Nov 03, 2020
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Here are my top three tips:

1. Be yourself while you work on improving your body language and communication skills- plenty of books, sites and TED talks are available for this.

Don't try emulate consultants or someone else. Get inspired but be original. Its in being original that you get people's attention given so many fake people around these days anyway

2. Learn to storytell. Think of yourself as a lead actor/actress in the film your life/event/situation. There is start, middle and end. Convey joy and happiness in telling your story. If you structure your answers this way, trust me you will go places

3. Learn to be structured which is a criitcal skill of good speakers (and consultants)

Good luck

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Ken
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updated an answer on Nov 03, 2020
Ex-McKinsey London final round interviewer

Having objective awareness of your character/style as well as the external perception and biases is super important but it in my humble opinion, it also comes down to practice! I had a similar struggle as a young BA at McKinsey but have always tried to centre myself around building inner confidence and flexing different communication styles based on the situation. For example, how I speak when I'm presenting in front of a group is different to when I am having a 1-on-1 conversation with a C-level client, etc.

My favourites would be Christine Lagarde and Jacinda Ardern, amongst many. I love how they are genuine but also articulate, engaging and thoughtful in what and how they communicate. If you're looking for a consultant, Lareina Yee who is McKinsey's Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer is also a great speaker and a wonderful leader and role model in many ways.

(edited)

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Henning
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replied on Nov 03, 2020
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

I agree with Ken. There is no silver bullet or The 3 things you need to do to speak like a consultant. Being articulate, concise and on point is something that takes years of practice and being in an environment with many people around you who are already more advanced than you.

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Clara
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Content Creator
replied on Nov 04, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Unfortunately, there is no recipie here. There are though great pieces of advice from coaches on specific points you can be specially focused on (tone of voice, etc.)

However, it is fundamental that you don´t feel the need to change who you are and the way you communicate, and this is something very common for women tbh. We communicate differently, which is totally fine. Trying to sound different than who you are would be, in the long term, detrimental, experience talking here.

If you have the change, Iwould recommend you the I am Remarkable course.

Good luck!

Cheers,

Clara

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Ian
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replied on Nov 04, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

This is a tough one! As you've indicated, some people naturally talk loudly and confidently, while others don't.

That being said, you absolutely can change this. You can employ some of the following to help:

  • Come into every meeting with an objective/point to make
  • Learn to counter gracefully "Excellent point, but how do you account for x"
  • Learn how to "get" more from meetings i.e. "Tell us more about x"
  • Sit upright with a strong posture/frame
  • Use eye contact (not too much)
  • Speak succintly/clearly
  • Speak at a "strong" but not loud level

Some fantastic femal speakers include:

  • Sallie Krawcheck
  • Greta Thunberg
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Gaurav
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replied on Nov 03, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

I would say that it goes both from inside and from outside.

Inside - you have a clear purpose of saying smth, You have clear understanding of why why you are doing so, you are confident and calm from inside. It's very important. Every person can feel if you are insecure from inside

Outside - there are tone of your voice, your posture, your eyes, speed of your speech.

As a part of preparation to the interview we gothrough all these moments. Or you can find some courses of speaking.

Does it make sense to you?

GB

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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