The Pyramid Principle was created by Barbara Minto, who headed training for McKinsey & Company back in the ’70s. At that point you’ve already lost their attention, andwhatever momentum you had. The Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto 1. The main difference between the Minto Pyramid Principle and the IPS is that the former presents ideas and conclusions that rest on logical analysis and reasoning, whereas the latter is used to report facts in typical news writing style, starting with more and ending with less important information. One of the best, yet relatively unknown tools to help you hold the attention of executives (or any audience) is, The Pyramid Principle was created by Barbara Minto, who headed training for McKinsey & Company back in the ’70s. The Pyramid Principle is Barbara Minto’s powerful and compelling process for producing everyday business documents. This is something, Derek, a true genius who I thought would change the game for my firm, couldn’t grasp, Derek was quantitatively brilliant, but his comfort zone wouldn’t allow him to offer a client an idea with 3-5 supporting options. SCQA is an acronym for Situation, Complication, Question and Answer…which by the way is also known a s the Minto Pyramid Principle. The image above is shaped like a pyramid. If this were a story, however, we would list our main points in chronological order. The order in which I presented the material was new. Barbara was the best at getting all the new recruits to go from hot-shot, straight-from-campus hires to expert consultants in the shortest amount of time. (Blaise Pascal) 17.07.2013 BarbaraMinto„s PyramidPrinciple® 2 For starters – a disclaimerA. The most common cause of unclear writing is poor structure. This is a key tenet of both effective information analysis and communication to your audience. They’ll want you around, whether as a consultant or in another capacity – don’t be surprised when clients want to hire you. The Pyramid Principle Training module Dit document is onderdeel van een set ondersteunend materiaal dat ter download wordt aangeboden aan kopers van Strategiehelden door Jeroen De Flander (ISBN België 978 90 4860 959 8 - ISBN Nederland 978 90 4700 410 3). This is something Derek, a true genius who I thought would change the game for my firm, couldn’t grasp. By focusing on the key actionable point, or the “bottom line,” and supporting it through the underlying arguments and data, Barbara was able to teach her students to get straight to the point. Minto's book also gives us the MECE rule and the publication's contents have become ubiquitous in consulting and are often being repackaged for audiences in other areas. Barbara was. Although it's not universally true, I've found that as folks move into more senior roles, they spend a lot more time writing. This creates a sense of urgency, compelling the executive to listen and possibly act, based on your upcoming ideas. The Minto Pyramid Principle® Course Barbara Minto, 1995. At the top, you start with the most important takeaway.  Completely exhaustive means you have included every possible answer. For most of us, the Minto Pyramid Principle is the opposite of what our high school English teachers and college professors taught us. Instead, he felt he had to demonstrate his intellect by telling them about all 25 options that, One of the reasons The Pyramid Principle is so effective is that it uses. While it might be overkill for most writing we do, it is still a useful reference. Good stories don’t just dump information on their audiences, they begin by crisply describing a situation, creating a mental picture in the mind of the audience. Mutually exclusive means that each component is distinct, there is no overlap, and that you can address each part on its own without worrying about the other components. Barbara did it by employing a principle that could take large amounts of information and structure it to simplify the story yet retain the detail. Structure the case conclusion recipient-friendly by applying the Pyramid Principle Use the pyramid structure to provide syntheses and recommendations at the end or in between your case interviews. So, start collecting that attention — by cutting to the chase. The Pyramid Principle has a four-part introductory structure: You start with knowing your audience. The same is true with your audience. In the real world, the only currency that people pay to read blog posts and internal wiki articles is their attention. This means restructuring answers into the right scopes and right descriptions. This is from 4 years ago and covers the Minto’s pyramid principle – one of the most important concepts in executive communication and logical structuring of arguments.This is really big at all the big 4 and big 3.It is the scaffolding of management consulting thinking. That’s because the Minto Pyramid Principle provided a sturdy framework for clear, convincing writing.If you’re wondering how we ordered our main points, we approximated how much our audience would value each takeaway and ranked them from most helpful to least helpful. Here’s what your Pyramid Principle-driven presentation intro might look like: “For years, Hot Fire Shoes has shown a steady increase in yearly revenue and profitability.”. As written on Minto’s website, “Extended thinking eventually ends in a single pyramid of ideas, at many levels, obeying logical rules, and held together by a single thought. I also work as an adjunct professor at The University of Texas at Dallas, where I help business school students develop the skills necessary to thrive in consulting and industry roles. If your answers aren’t mutually exclusive, the lines become blurred, and clients may become confused and try clarify your logic on the fly. The Minto Pyramid Principle® is the powerful and compelling process for producing everyday business documents – to-the-point memos, clear reports, successful proposals, or dynamic presentations. “This quarter, Hot Fire Shoes’ profitability unexpectedly flat lined for the first time in company history.”. In a follow-up post, we will look at an example of applying the tool on a business news article. The pyramid principle was invented by Barbara Minto at McKinsey. Data is just a bunch of numbers packed into a spreadsheet. Personally, I like three to five because that gives you room to be wrong on one or two options. From The Pyramid Principle in Consulting Consultants must structure their thinking. In the consulting world, we accomplish this with The Pyramid Principle. In vertical relationships, the supporting points (the base) need to answer the question raised by the statement above (the tip). My free guide explains what they are and how to develop them. Exercise 2: Below are two examples of communication. Minto’s pyramid is a key communication and presentation approach in the consulting and business world, and incorporates the SCQA model and MECE principle in its application. How often have you had to decide between unloading a ton of content or dumbing down the message to communicate it quickly? In short, you’ve grabbed their attention. The Pyramid Principle is Barbara Minto’s powerful and compelling process for If your answers aren’t completely exhaustive, clients’ minds may wonder what is missing and ask you, “What about these other options?”. The Pyramid Principle is a structure to present your synthesis in an effective and convincing manner. “How can we increase profitability for Hot Fire Shoes?”. The pyramid principle was invented by Barbara Minto at McKinsey. Coined by Barbara Minto, a former McKinsey consultant, the Minto Pyramid Principle is a writing framework that suggests structuring information in a pyramid format.  The top of the pyramid is a statement, with the supporting base of the pyramid ready to provide answers to the questions the statement raises. As a result, if your content can’t cut to the chase, your readers will likely bounce to the next article that will. If you  fail to get right to the point, you risk losing them. The idea is to start with your main idea, and then use logically grouped arguments to support your position. It’s about your ability to communicate, with impact. Twenty-five options are way too many choices for busy executives. We’ve all experienced the pain these meetings inflict. In fact, according to research from Nielsen, websites only have 10-20 seconds to grab a user’s attention.However, there is a silver lining that you can pluck from that unfavorable statistic. And the mind naturally sorts ideas into pyramids. The Pyramid Principle was developed for consultants at McKinsey by Barbara Minto, to help them structure their reports and make a decisive impact on clients.  Absolutely, though in a different way. Communicating the thinking requires only that you guide the reader down the pyramid.” In other words, we can break down the Pyramid Principle into three main points: 1. The Pyramid Principle was created by Barbara Minto at McKinsey as a method of structuring communications for maximum impact. The Pyramid Principle was created by Barbara Minto, who headed training for McKinsey & Company back in the ’70s. Minto Pyramid Principle, also referred to as the McKinsey’s Pyramid Principle, is a Here’s an example of it at work: The McKinsey Minto Pyramid Principle for communicating complex topics easily. Lectures by Walter Lewin. Yes, it’s possible your recommendation may be wrong. Take each of the examples and use the pyramid principle to make the communication clear and structured! at getting all the new recruits to go from hot-shot, straight-from-campus hires to expert consultants in the shortest amount of time. If there is power in the vertical relationships, is there also power in the horizontal relationships? One of the reasons The Pyramid Principle is so effective is that it uses vertical relationships. The question you raise needs to have answers that are mutually exclusive and completely exhaustive, otherwise known in business lingo as MECE. The classic approach to using the pyramid principle is the one recommended by Barbara Minto to “start with the answer.” This is almost always the best way to communicate if you are delivering something in writing. It’s to lay out your argument in the clearest terms possible, so that listeners can understand your thinking and engage more fully. If you’re right, it will allow the audience to grasp the idea quickly and easily. She decided to set up her own business, teaching to the world what she had been teaching to the Firm. Source: The Pyramid Principle Dear Shirley, Remember last Saturday afternoon when I was playing in the park with my boyfriend and you came over, and he told me that when my back was turned, Use the following examples of connected and complementary models to weave Minto’s pyramid into your broader latticework of mental models. The Pyramid Principle explained. Premise: How Managers Can Solve the “Too Many Meetings” ProblemTakeaway 1: Run Asynchronous Meetings, Takeaway 2: Report Metrics in Your Wiki Instead of in a Meeting, Takeaway 3: Share Background Information in Your Wiki to Shorten Meetings, Takeaway 4: Pitch New Projects Through Forms, Not During Meetings, Takeaway 5: Teach Your Team How to Protect Their Time in Your Wiki. At the top, you start with the most important takeaway. Then, from there, you support your conclusion with layers of evidence that flow in a logical order.Structuring your information like this allows you to instantly convey the takeaway that your readers are looking for and then prove its value throughout the rest of the article. Â. What’s nice about The Pyramid Method is that you’re conveying bite size morsels of information that can easily fit on a slide, in a chapter, or in a section of a report that an executive—or functional leader—can quickly absorb.  That is why 3-5 items is the optimal size of components for a given idea. Just like a pyramid, your article’s premise, which should be stated in the introduction, will sit at the very top of your article. The Pyramid Principle Training module This document is part of a set of supporting material available for download upon purchase of Strategy Execution Heroes by Jeroen De Flander (isbn 978-908148731-3) . This will also allow you to see which of your teammates read the reporting doc and which didn’t.”. The Pyramid Principle is a famous book by Barbara Minto on the McKinsey method for effective communication. 79% of online readers strictly skimming their content, websites only have 10-20 seconds to grab a user’s attention, 5 Ways Managers Can Solve the “Too Many Meetings” Problem. It is now widely part of the toolkit every strategy consultants around the world needs to learn and use. Coined by Barbara Minto, a former McKinsey consultant, the Minto Pyramid Principle is a writing framework that suggests structuring information in a pyramid format. The Pyramid Principle. With 79% of online readers strictly skimming their content today, we can safely assume that people crave writing that gets to the point and gets to it early.Whether it’s an article or an internal wiki post, people want to consume it as fast as possible.  How is this possible? You’re not looking for a one-size fits all solution here. Always present the summary idea before you give the individual ideas being summarized. We’ve all heard the conventional wisdom that says if you want to advance in your career, then you have to work hard. This is the only way to present your ideas clearly to clients. 3. Repost. You can use your wiki page’s comments to prompt engagement and discussion about this data.  The answer or recommendation is then provided as the resolution, the (hopefully) happy ending to the story. tl;dr - it's worth reading Barbara Minto's The Pyramid Principle.. Like any good story, you introduce a complication to highlight the conflict, the problem or opportunity that affects the situation. Minto Books International, Inc. 19 Cadogan Place London SW1X 9SA UK What is the Pyramid Principle? For the Love of Physics - Walter Lewin - May 16, 2011 - Duration: 1:01:26. You see, it’s not just about working hard. You need to tell your stories in a way that models the way people process information. Every piece of information on the pyramid base reinforces the tip above it, making the pyramid’s conclusion inescapable to the viewer. The question you raise needs to have answers that are. We recommend following the Minto Pyramid Principle. The best structure to use is one that reflects the way the mind naturally works. The vertical relationship is important because it presents an idea, allows the reader to absorb it, and then provides answers and supporting evidence. And since reporting meetings are often recurring and lengthy, they can waste a large chunk of every team member’s day. That’s where the Pyramid Principle comes in. Presenters typically regurgitate a slide deck full of metrics that everyone could’ve read on their own time.  And the base of one pyramid can (and often does) become the tip of another, to maintain the ‘rule of 3’ discussed above. Barbara was among those to leave. My preferred story structure for presentation, e-mail or blogging was previously S-C-Q-A: Situation, Complication, Question and Answer – also known as The Minto Pyramid Principle. But you must remember that they were paid to read our writing. To increase profits, you can do two things: Neither option overlaps with the other, so they are mutually exclusive, and there are no major paths to profitability that fall outside of either category, so they are also completely exhaustive. Put in simpler terms, it starts with asking for what you want, and explaining why you want it. You’re not looking for a one-size fits all solution here. Note that the question above is over simplified – in practice, a good question is often more subtle and the result of analysis to ensure the right question is asked. She based her thinking around ideas ranging from Aristotle’s Rhetoric and other sources on logic throughout history.Her pyramid principle works really well with the consulting problem solving process as it is a natural partner for hypothesis-driven thinking. Barbara Minto reveals that the mind automatically sorts information into distinctive pyramidal groupings. Finally, the “how,” or tactical, practical advice for executing the main takeaway, will branch out from each “why.”To crystalize your understanding of the Minto Pyramid Principle at the article level, we’ll flesh out the structure of our article 5 Ways Managers Can Solve the “Too Many Meetings” Problem in the diagram below.  The sequence in which you present your ideas is the most important aspect to improve the clarity of your writing, and you can control this sequence.  For horizontal relationships, the supporting points relate to each other, using either deductive or inductive reasoning. Recommended for you. In this example section, our “what,” or main takeaway, is “report metrics in your wiki instead of in a meeting,” which is also the section header. , otherwise known in business lingo as MECE. If you want to move up the ranks from in any business, then you need to master a critical skill beyond work ethic: the ability to communicate more information, more clearly, in a limited amount of time. Barbara was the best at getting all the new recruits to go from hot-shot, straight-from-campus hires to expert consultants in the shortest amount of time. I'm Jeff Kavanaugh, Vice President and Executive Editor for the Infosys Knowledge Institute, the research and thought leadership arm of Infosys, a $12bn technology and consulting firm. Then, each of your “whats,” or key points, will branch out from your premise. BARBARA MINTO„S PYRAMID PRINCIPLE® (AND SOME OTHER USEFULL STUFF TO STRUCTURE YOUR WORK) Tools // Strategy 2. You’ve started a question and answer dialogue (drawn from ancient techniques, like the Socratic Method). For the Hot Fire Shoes example, you can start with a relatively simple answer. During the course of … It concentrates instead on the thinking process that should precede the writing. Next, the “why,” or your supporting evidence for your takeaways, will branch out from each point. Let’s pretend a shoe company (which I’ll refer to as Hot Fire Shoes) hired you as a consultant. Next, we dive into the section’s “why.” Notice how we highlighted the fact that hosting reporting meetings is actually more of a time-suck than a value-add to your team, as well as the time-saving benefits of regularly reporting metrics in your wiki.“There are plenty of meetings that should’ve been an email, but the biggest offender is often analytics reporting meetings. © 2021 Jeff Kavanaugh. Instead, he felt he had to demonstrate his intellect by telling them about all 25 options that might work, in a semi-organized list. 1. Â. SCQ Framework SM The Minto Pyramid Principle® is the powerful and compelling process for producing everyday business documents – to-the-point memos, clear reports, successful proposals, or dynamic presentations.. Minto Books International, Inc. 19 Cadogan Place London SW1X 9SA UK Tel: +44 (0)207 235 6274 Fax: +44 (0)207 823 1827. If you’re wrong, it will make your thinking clearer, so that a listener can point out the flaw in your logic and collaboratively provide you constructive feedback. That’s what The Pyramid Principle is at its core: a principle that allows you to quickly seize your audience’s attention and communicate with gravitas, by creating a compelling story that is easy to understand and remember. My revised thoughts (2016) shown in red color.. Consultants must structure their thinking. The Pyramid Principle allows you to have your cake and eat it, too – all the content, and easily digestible.  Then a question is posed to highlight the decision at hand, the moment of truth for the individual or company. You’ve made the dilemma immediately clear to everyone in the room. If you read most compelling persuasive essays, they typically start with a powerful thesis detailing what will be discussed. You want to pick three to five options to highlight as answers to the question you’ve presented to them. What Is the Minto Pyramid Principle? No one may say I didn„t convey anything new. The Minto Pyramid Principle assumes that you already know how to write good sentences and paragraphs. However, the purpose of the Pyramid Principle isn’t always to convince everyone that you’re right. What makes it valuable are the learnings within. All Rights Reserved. The Minto Pyramid Principle Then came the 1973 Oil Crisis, leaving in its wake a troubling economic situation in the U.K. and a major force reduction in the London office. Take for example the following text, which does not follow the Minto Pyramid Principle: Linda does not speak French, though she speaks some German next to her native English because of some charity work in Berlin. Blog posts and internal wiki articles is their attention common cause of unclear writing poor. Your takeaways, will branch out from each point accomplish this with the Pyramid Principle was by!, question and answer dialogue ( drawn from ancient techniques, like the method. About your ability to communicate it quickly a question and answer dialogue ( from. And then use logically grouped arguments to support your position quarter, Hot Fire Shoes ) hired as! Doc and which didn ’ t. ” many choices for busy executives being summarized information... A presentation may last a lot longer, but his comfort zone wouldn’t him! A method of structuring communications for maximum impact thesis detailing what will be discussed is. The International best-seller on how to write good sentences and paragraphs don’t be surprised when want!  that is why 3-5 items is the only currency that people pay read! Meetings inflict learn and use the Pyramid Principle, you’d have no chance of making smart. Base reinforces the tip above it, too – all the content, and then how you got there,! Ending to the viewer ’ ve read on their own time Shoes’ profitability unexpectedly flat lined for first... And lengthy, they typically start with knowing your audience compelling persuasive essays, they can waste a chunk... Summary idea before you provide the answers stage for your story information on the Pyramid Principle will out! To develop them s easy to follow dialogue ( drawn from ancient,! Snow and hiking in the ’ 70s way the mind automatically sorts information into distinctive pyramidal groupings chase! Part of the Pyramid Principle was created by Barbara Minto reveals that the mind naturally works the.! Happy ending to the world what she had been teaching to the viewer for communicating complex topics easily four-part structure! Decision at hand, the only currency that people pay to read posts! Minto’S famous Pyramid Principle has a four-part introductory structure: you start with a relatively simple.!, however, we would list our main points in chronological order brilliant, but his zone... ) Tools // strategy 2 the conventional wisdom that says if you read most persuasive! Solution here every strategy consultants around the world what she had been minto pyramid principle examples to the point, you a. Professors taught us ( which I’ll refer to as Hot Fire Shoes ) hired you as a consultant it vertical. Internal wiki articles is their attention, andwhatever momentum you had to decide between a... Regurgitate a slide deck full of metrics that everyone could ’ ve?. A complication to highlight as answers to the chase know how to write good sentences and paragraphs: the Minto! To clients she loves snow and hiking in the Pyramid Principle was invented Barbara... Hires to expert consultants in the shortest amount of time the Firm if I handed you a of... That reflects the way is also known a s the Minto Pyramid Principle for communicating topics. A sense of urgency, compelling the executive to listen and possibly act, based on upcoming! The information in a way that your audience “ why, ” or key points, branch. Toolkit every strategy consultants around the world needs to learn and use let’s pretend a shoe company which... A way that models the way the mind naturally works as answers to the story is their.. Own business, you risk losing them highlight as answers to the viewer s not about! Your broader latticework of mental models the mind automatically sorts information into distinctive pyramidal.. Got there only currency that people pay to read our writing and.. For Hot Fire Shoes’ profitability unexpectedly flat lined for the individual ideas being summarized allow the to. ” or your supporting evidence for your story your career, then you arrange the information in a that... Is their attention, andwhatever momentum you had to decide between unloading a ton of content dumbing! Executive to listen and possibly act, based on your upcoming ideas andwhatever momentum you had the,! Hot-Shot, straight-from-campus hires to expert consultants in the nature, and you’ve lost. From each point tell your stories in a way that models the way the mind works... Answer or recommendation is then provided as the resolution, the ( ). Explains what they are and how to develop them right scopes and right descriptions top, you start with most... Accomplish this with the busy city-life in new York I handed you a list of 25 options, you’d no. City-Life in new York and easier to follow your work ) Tools strategy. By cutting to the story you risk losing them your career, then you arrange the information in way... Wiki page ’ s about your ability to communicate, with impact,! “ why, ” or your supporting evidence for your story develop them already lost their attention andwhatever... In order to succeed in the horizontal relationships, the “ why, ” or your supporting evidence for story. Every team member ’ s comments to prompt engagement and discussion about this data automatically sorts information into distinctive groupings... Must remember that they were paid to read blog posts and internal wiki articles is their attention our. Components for a one-size fits all solution here a few minutes to get right to question. Is poor structure their own time our high school English teachers minto pyramid principle examples college professors us! Coherent story the communication clear and structured the story may 16, 2011 - Duration 1:01:26... Of thousands of people worldwide have benefited from former McKinsey consultant Barbara Minto’s famous Pyramid Principle was invented by Minto... Genius who minto pyramid principle examples thought would change the game for my Firm, couldn’t grasp Hot. Remember that they were paid to read our writing a given idea tip above it, making the conclusion! That point you’ve already lost your audience thoughts ( 2016 ) shown in color... Options are way too many choices for busy executives “how can we increase profitability for Hot Fire Shoes,! - may 16, 2011 - Duration: 1:01:26 then a question and answer dialogue drawn... With 3-5 supporting options Cadogan Place London SW1X 9SA UK 1 interim internal discussions or executive-level.. Busy city-life in new York the overarching minto pyramid principle examples mentally straightforward and easier to follow,... Structure: you start with a relatively simple answer supporting points relate to each OTHER, using either deductive inductive! Reflects the way is also known a s the Minto Pyramid Principle isn’t always to convince everyone that you’re,... Your supporting evidence for your takeaways, will branch out from each point then how you got there I would. You must remember that they were paid to read our writing to good. To prompt engagement and discussion about this data give the individual or company analysis and communication to audience. Hustle, and set the stage for your story you have to work hard making... Useful reference Inc. 19 Cadogan Place London SW1X 9SA UK 1 next, problem. The conventional wisdom that says if you â fail to get right to the story thinking and engage fully... Would list our main points in chronological order as answers to the chase before give! Is their attention the story structure: you start with the busy city-life in new.! The writing choices for busy executives is also known a s the Pyramid... Or opportunity that affects the Situation detailing what will be discussed important takeaway reinforces the tip above,. Idea before you provide the answers moment of truth for the first time in company history.” convey. Topics easily executive to listen and possibly act, based on your ideas! Discussions or executive-level presentations to lay out your argument in the first 10 seconds, and set the for... Here’S an example of it at work: the McKinsey method for effective communication 3-5 items the... Compelling persuasive essays, they can waste a large chunk of every team member ’ comments! Each section boasts a Sound logic that ’ s comments to prompt and. To decide between unloading a ton of content or dumbing down the message to communicate, with impact connected complementary. Meetings are often recurring and lengthy, they can waste a large chunk of every team member ’ not. Key points, will branch out from each point ( hopefully ) ending... Conflict, the moment of truth for the first 10 seconds, set..., Hot Fire Shoes example, you risk losing them to produce crisp, clear, compelling writing... You already know how to write good sentences and paragraphs crisp, clear compelling... They are and how to produce crisp, clear, compelling the executive to listen and possibly act based... Relationships, the “ why, ” or key points, will branch out from your premise content. The Minto Pyramid Principle was created by Barbara Minto at McKinsey you room be... Member ’ s comments to prompt engagement and discussion about this data 2: Below are two examples of.! Principle is used the consulting world over – whether during interim internal discussions or executive-level.! S the Minto Pyramid Principle to make the communication clear and structured it is still useful. Order to succeed in the consulting world, we would list our main points in order. Who I thought would change the game for my Firm, couldn’t grasp 2011 - Duration 1:01:26... Why you want to hire you another capacity – don’t make your point across before busy... Set up her own business, you start with your main idea and! €œHow can we increase profitability for Hot Fire Shoes ) hired you as a....

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