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Consultant vocabulary 101

Embark with us in this article to learn some keywords for understanding a consultant's day-to-day. These words and expressions will be useful no matter if you are a consultant, or you occupy any other position in the consulting world. Learn them to stay in the loop, save time and widen your knowledge.

Image by © Freddie Marriage via Unsplash

 min read
Consultant vocabulary 101

The consulting world is denominated like that because it is indeed a world of its own, with its rules, dynamics, and of course, its own vocabulary. Have you ever spoken to a consultant, you will have been convinced for sure that you need to be fluent in their slang.

A conglomerate of collocations, a pile of words, abbreviations and acronyms created for efficiency and time-saving. Even if it might sound intimidating, once one is immersed in this field it becomes the daily tool that allows you to communicate with the different actors in the chain that consulting tends to be.

If you are a consultant, enjoy this little homage to you (or even learn some new terms) and if you are a curious mind that would like to learn more, get ready for these unfamiliar words to turn into part of your glossary.

Before we begin, there are some considerations to keep in mind that would help you with learning words around this topic.

  • Most common words in this field are English words, kept in that language even if the rest of the conversation is carried out in a different one. The pronunciation remains in English too, so it is a good way to get familiar with it if it is a second language.
  • Abbreviations and acronyms are also recurrent, not only for position names but for situations or stages of a process too. Sometimes there would be context clues that might aid you in extracting the meaning out of them.
  • Others go in pairs, like synonyms and antonyms, so you can learn them in pairs, which makes them easier to memorize.
  • Another type is the one with several meanings, which can be found in everyday vocabulary, these are mostly verbs. That is the reason why, in the event that you look it up in dictionaries, the first meaning to appear might not be the one related to the consulting world. In this case, you should always try to understand the words in context.

If you wonder how to learn new words, improve your vocabulary and fluency, or just enhance your comprehension of the consultant’s key vocabulary, prepare to write down the words and phrases from our great vocabulary selection.


B2B / B2C

Business-to-business / Business-to-customer

They are both models with a provider and a consumer.

B2B is used to denote the relationship between two businesses, one that provides a service or material and another that needs further expertise to provide its service or product to its clients. These models require a more extensive communication process with several steps. A consultancy business is the perfect example of a B2B business.

On the contrary, B2C is focused on businesses working directly with the consumer, providing a service or a product ready to enjoy, without a middle person which makes it more straightforward. This model is widely spread and more present in our day-by-day than B2B. For example, restaurants, e-commerce, or video-on-demand platforms.



This word refers to the performance comparison test used by companies to track their developments and how they are positioned in the market. The individual measurable pieces of data are the benchmarks. The whole process of identifying the best practices inside or outside the company through comparison with external sources is called benchmarking.

The process of testing your performance and having measurable results is interesting as a way to establish a SMART competitive goal to gain notoriety or upgrade your game. Maybe this information can even endow you with data about how to use better the resources you already have.



Compound Annual Growth Rate

It is a benchmark (😉) which indicates the growth of a business or an investment over a specific period. It is based on a compound formula, as it studies the average growth per x period (usually a year) considering the beginning value and the ending value.

As a consultant, if you started with 2 clients (beginning value) and right now, 5 years (time) later you have 20 (ending value), your CAGR would be calculated like this:

Your result would be 58.48% of growth per year, but that doesn’t mean you grew at that rate each year, more that, on average, at the end of that period you have grown at that rate yearly.


Core competencies

The meaning of competence doesn’t escape our grasp, but core competencies are associated with a management theory by which these are the combination of multiple resources and skills that differentiate the company from others.

They are the strategic advantages of a business. It requires careful examination of the company for identifying them and then, the talent to exploit their potential to the maximum extent.

For a competence to be eligible as a core one, it must fulfil the following requirements:

  1. It should add significant value for the customer.
  2. It should be somehow unique or rare.
  3. It should be difficult to imitate from other companies.


Deck has several meanings but, in this case, we refer to a visual presentation, either digital or physical. Nowadays, it is regularly digital, and it is oriented to support the message and display the information clearly.



Intimately linked to the meaning of “deliver” it is applied to the quantifiable goods or services that must be provided or completed as a part of a project. It is a term widely used in project management. We can simplify it by comparing it to the goals of a project. These goals have to be reached, they are not only the best-case scenario but the sine qua non condition for the completion of the project.



End of day

It indicates the deadline for something to be delivered or any other need that needs to be meet by the end of that day.

Variations include EOD + day of the week or EOW (End of week).



Key performance indicator

KPIs measure the progress towards a specific objective through a period. They can be applied to a project or to the entirety of the company’s performance. Businesses resort to KPIs as checkpoints to determine if they are on the right track to reach their goals. They must be pre-established, specific and useful to identify if your efforts are paying off. KPIs are extremely useful to outline a better strategy.



Its meaning is to contact someone quickly by sending a short message through a digital platform.

It refers to the sound such a message will make.



A pipeline is a duct that carries something from one side to another. In business, the meaning is not that foreign. It is used to name the different plans, stages, meetings, or actions that line up for reaching a long-term target. Pipelines look different for each department, but in the end, they are the processes that are then studied to acquire a better understanding of the revenue-generating opportunities.



The scope is the ensemble of deliverables. They join the objectives and the requirements needed to bring a project to fruition. To round off a project successfully, it’s necessary to shape the scope first for a better assessment. The more you know about what is expected, the more you can work for them to be reached, or at least for the perspectives to look up.



Service-Level Agreement

It is a contract between a service provider and a customer in which they stipulate what services will be provided, when, how will it be measured, what is exchanged and what penalties may apply if any.

These contracts are necessary because of an outsourcing situation in the service-providing process. There are three types:

  • Customer SLA: company and third party provider
  • Internal SLA: between two departments or teams in a company
  • Multi-level SLA: multiple parties.



Subject Matter Expert

A specialist in a specific area. They are specialists because of their experience, formation, equipment, method or any other aspect that distinguishes them from other providers. They are constantly recycling, so their knowledge is up-to-date.

Not only that, but are interesting collaborators to learn new ways to restructure or build your business strategy or department.


Stand-up meeting

Quick daily meetings to catch up with your team and report about your work. They are a good alternative to streamline the process and keep everyone on track at the same time. Their goal is to be agile and useful without becoming tedious.


Touch base

Loyal to the original meaning, it is usually used to refer to emails sent to coworkers, prospective customers, collaborators or any other with whom would like to keep in touch regularly. They are short contacts for discussing a specific topic, introducing new information, commenting on their actual situation or congratulating them, arranging a meeting or simply reconnecting.


This word list is just an approach to the everyday specific vocabulary of a consultant and the other members of a consultancy. In case you want to know more we encourage you to do some extra research although the best way of learning them is in context; every time you come across words that might be useful, don’t doubt to expand your range of vocabulary. Another idea is to establish a word of the day for you to increase your vocabulary by one word a day.

Being proficient in this “new language” is a way of working on yourself and your skills. Just as important as learning from past experiences and interactions it is to ready oneself for situations that haven’t arrived yet.

We hope that these are no longer unfamiliar and that you can find an occasion to practice this set of words. If you understand everything and would like to show us, we invite you to visit our job offers page.