She based her thinking around ideas ranging from Aristotleâs 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 MINTOâS PYRAMID PRINCIPLE® (AND SOME OTHER USEFULL STUFF TO STRUCTURE YOUR WORK) Tools // Strategy 2. Weâve all heard the conventional wisdom that says if you want to advance in your career, then you have to work hard. If your answers arenât mutually exclusive, the lines become blurred, and clients may become confused and try clarify your logic on the fly. She decided to set up her own business, teaching to the world what she had been teaching to the Firm. Take each of the examples and use the pyramid principle to make the communication clear and structured! However, the purpose of the Pyramid Principle isnât always to convince everyone that youâre right. 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. The Minto Pyramid Principle® Course Research from George Miller has shown a human being can hold about 7 items in their short-term memory, and for some people it is even less. In a follow-up post, we will look at an example of applying the tool on a business news article. We recommend following the Minto Pyramid Principle. Thatâs where the Pyramid Principle comes in. 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. If you Â fail to get right to the point, you risk losing them. 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. (Blaise Pascal) 17.07.2013 BarbaraMintoâs PyramidPrinciple® 2 For starters â a disclaimerA. The Minto Pyramid Principle® is the powerful and compelling process for producing everyday business documents â to-the-point memos, clear reports, successful proposals, or dynamic presentations. The pyramid principle was invented by Barbara Minto at McKinsey. SCQ Framework SM The Minto Pyramid Principle® is the powerful and compelling process for producing everyday business documents â 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. My revised thoughts (2016) shown in red color.. Consultants must structure their thinking. In The Pyramid Principle, the question extends logically from the complication, which keeps the overarching problem mentally straightforward and easier to follow. 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. Hereâs an example of it at work: The McKinsey Minto Pyramid Principle for communicating complex topics easily. The idea is to start with your main idea, and then use logically grouped arguments to support your position. In business, you have a few minutes to get your point across before a busy executive stops paying attention to you. 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. Just like a pyramid, your article’s premise, which should be stated in the introduction, will sit at the very top of your article. In the consulting world, we accomplish this with The Pyramid Principle. How often have you had to decide between unloading a ton of content or dumbing down the message to communicate it quickly? Instead of hosting this time-consuming meeting, salvage part of your team’s day by regularly reporting metrics in your wiki. You still need to hustle, and you still need to hit your targets. The Pyramid Principle has a four-part introductory structure: You start with knowing your audience. What makes it valuable are the learnings within. 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. This is something, Derek, a true genius who I thought would change the game for my firm, couldnât grasp, Derek was quantitatively brilliant, but his comfort zone wouldnât allow him to offer a client an idea with 3-5 supporting options. 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) . The question you raise needs to have answers that are. 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, 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. Hereâs what your Pyramid Principle-driven presentation intro might look like: âFor years, Hot Fire Shoes has shown a steady increase in yearly revenue and profitability.â. 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. Put in simpler terms, it starts with asking for what you want, and explaining why you want it. 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. Â Sound like any presentations you’ve seen? Here, you present your results first and then how you got there. Personally, I like three to five because that gives you room to be wrong on one or two options. For the Hot Fire Shoes example, you can start with a relatively simple answer. The Pyramid Principle is Barbara Mintoâs powerful and compelling process for producing everyday business documents. The Pyramid Principle is Barbara Mintoâs powerful and compelling process for Always present the summary idea before you give the individual ideas being summarized. If your answers arenât completely exhaustive, clientsâ minds may wonder what is missing and ask you, âWhat about these other options?â. Yes, itâs possible your recommendation may be wrong. Then, each of your “whats,” or key points, will branch out from your premise. Â And the base of one pyramid can (and often does) become the tip of another, to maintain the ârule of 3â discussed above. tl;dr - it's worth reading Barbara Minto's The Pyramid Principle.. Use the following examples of connected and complementary models to weave Mintoâs pyramid into your broader latticework of mental models. This is a seminal concept in executive communication, and has spread like a virus from McKinsey to every other conâ¦ 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. Â. By focusing on the key actionable point, or the âbottom line,â and supporting it through the underlying arguments and data, Barbara was able to teach her students to get straight to the point. As written on Mintoâs website, âExtended thinking eventually ends in a single pyramid of ideas, at many levels, obeying logical rules, and held together by a single thought. Presenters typically regurgitate a slide deck full of metrics that everyone could’ve read on their own 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. 1. As a result, if your content can’t cut to the chase, your readers will likely bounce to the next article that will. Barbara was among those to leave. So, start collecting that attention — by cutting to the chase. If youâre right, it will allow the audience to grasp the idea quickly and easily. The Minto Pyramid Principle assumes that you already know how to write good sentences and paragraphs. In vertical relationships, the supporting points (the base) need to answer the question raised by the statement above (the tip). ”, Last comes the “how.” Check out the tips we dish out in our example section below.“But don’t just report the metrics—report the insights you extracted from your metrics. This is the only way to present your ideas clearly to clients. If youâre 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. My free guide explains what they are and how to develop them. 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. One of the reasons The Pyramid Principle is so effective is that it uses vertical relationships. The Pyramid Principle was created by Barbara Minto, who headed training for McKinsey & Company back in the â70s. Thatâs what The Pyramid Principle is at its core: a principle that allows you to quickly seize your audienceâs attention and communicate with gravitas, by creating a compelling story that is easy to understand and remember. ConsultingMethodology.com page 1 of 5 The Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto (The logic of writing) The pyramid structure A person that seeks to learn your thinking about a particular subject faces a complex task. Good stories donât just dump information on their audiences, they begin by crisply describing a situation, creating a mental picture in the mind of the audience. Â. The Pyramid Principle was created by Barbara Minto at McKinsey as a method of structuring communications for maximum impact. This means restructuring answers into the right scopes and right descriptions. 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. You need to tell your stories in a way that models the way people process information. The order in which I presented the material was new. 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). If this were a story, however, we would list our main points in chronological order. We recommend following the Minto Pyramid Principle. Â For horizontal relationships, the supporting points relate to each other, using either deductive or inductive reasoning. This is a key tenet of both effective information analysis and communication to your audience. This will also allow you to see which of your teammates read the reporting doc and which didn’t.”. The same is true with your audience. What Is the Minto Pyramid Principle? 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. It’s about your ability to communicate, with impact. Neither option overlaps with the other, so they are, , and there are no major paths to profitability that fall outside of either category, so they are also, Personally, I like three to five because that gives you room to be wrong on one or two options. In the real world, the only currency that people pay to read blog posts and internal wiki articles is their attention. âThis quarter, Hot Fire Shoesâ profitability unexpectedly flat lined for the first time in company history.â. Although it's not universally true, I've found that as folks move into more senior roles, they spend a lot more time writing. They will make you â¥ Physics. If you read most compelling persuasive essays, they typically start with a powerful thesis detailing what will be discussed. Â The answer or recommendation is then provided as the resolution, the (hopefully) happy ending to the story. You see, it’s not just about working hard. Youâve established your familiarity with their company, established a positive atmosphere, and set the stage for your story. Coined by Barbara Minto, a former McKinsey consultant, the Minto Pyramid Principle is a writing framework that suggests structuring information in a pyramid format. Just like the structure of an article, each section will cover its own “what,” “why,” and “how” in that exact order.Using the same example article as above, we’ll deconstruct the section about reporting metrics in your wiki to help you grasp the Minto Pyramid Principle at the section level. During the course of â¦ Another upside to mastering how to craft coherent ideas, is that executives are keenly aware of how hard it is to do what youâve demonstrated. Tens of thousands of people worldwide have benefited from former McKinsey consultant Barbara Mintoâs famous Pyramid Principle. The Pyramid Principle allows you to have your cake and eat it, too â all the content, and easily digestible. Recommended for you. Â Completely exhaustive means you have included every possible answer. If I handed you a list of 25 options, youâd have no chance of making a smart decision. 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. The Pyramid Principle is a structure to present your synthesis in an effective and convincing manner. Â But all else being equal, the person who advances the fastest is usually the one who knows the value of time, how to deliver value, and tell a succinct story with sound reasoning. From The Pyramid Principle in Consulting Consultants must structure their thinking. You can use your wiki page’s comments to prompt engagement and discussion about this data. Youâre not looking for a one-size fits all solution here. You want to pick three to five options to highlight as answers to the question youâve presented to them. The Pyramid Principle explained. Minto Books International, Inc. 19 Cadogan Place London SW1X 9SA UK The best structure to use is one that reflects the way the mind naturally works. Barbara Minto, 1995. The nature of these documents vary depending on your roleâstrategies, presentations, memos, announcements, email, etcâbut your written word often becomes your most important medium of communication. at getting all the new recruits to go from hot-shot, straight-from-campus hires to expert consultants in the shortest amount of time. Note that the question above is over simplified â in practice, a good question is often more subtle and the result of analysis to ensure the right question is asked. The vertical relationship is important because it presents an idea, allows the reader to absorb it, and then provides answers and supporting evidence. The Pyramid Principle. Youâve started a question and answer dialogue (drawn from ancient techniques, like the Socratic Method). The Pyramid Principle is the international best-seller on how to produce crisp, clear, compelling business writing. At the top, you start with the most important takeaway. If there is power in the vertical relationships, is there also power in the horizontal relationships? 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. 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. 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. The Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto 1. All Rights Reserved. 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. This is from 4 years ago and covers the Mintoâs pyramid principle â 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. 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. Yes, a presentation may last a lot longer, but you donât have much time to getâand keepâsomeoneâs attention. Namely, communicating a key takeaway right away can potentially hold your audience’s attention for the entire duration of your article.This still begs the question, though — how do you get to the point, and how do you do it in an engaging way? Â 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. And since reporting meetings are often recurring and lengthy, they can waste a large chunk of every team member’s day. The classic approach to using the pyramid principle is the one recommended by Barbara Minto to âstart with the answer.â This is almost always the best way to communicate if you are delivering something in writing. Exercise 2: Below are two examples of communication. And the mind naturally sorts ideas into pyramids. In short, youâve grabbed their attention. Then you arrange the information in a way that your audience can rapidly process. Letâs pretend a shoe company (which Iâll refer to as Hot Fire Shoes) hired you as a consultant. Communicating the thinking requires only that you guide the reader down the pyramid.â In other words, we can break down the Pyramid Principle into three main points: 1. To keep executives focused, you need to craft a coherent story. Barbara Minto reveals that the mind automatically sorts information into distinctive pyramidal groupings. It starts with the answer first, then gives 3 general supporting reasons why, then multiple more granular details about each reason below that. 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. Â© 2021 Jeff Kavanaugh. But you must remember that they were paid to read our writing. For most of us, the Minto Pyramid Principle is the opposite of what our high school English teachers and college professors taught us. Notice how each section boasts a sound logic that’s easy to follow? What’s nice about The Pyramid Method is that youâre 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 executiveâor functional leaderâcan quickly absorb. âHow can we increase profitabilityÂ for Hot Fire Shoes?â. 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. The image above is shaped like a pyramid. Itâs to lay out your argument in the clearest terms possible, so that listeners can understand your thinking and engage more fully. We’ve all experienced the pain these meetings inflict. Youâre not looking for a one-size fits all solution here. No one may say I didnât convey anything new. 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. Why is the Pyramid Principle important in consulting? Â That is why 3-5 items is the optimal size of components for a given idea. There are six skills you need to learn in order to succeed in the world of consulting. It concentrates instead on the thinking process that should precede the writing. The question you raise needs to have answers that are mutually exclusive and completely exhaustive, otherwise known in business lingo as MECE. Minto Pyramid Principle, also referred to as the McKinseyâs Pyramid Principle, is a Â Then a question is posed to highlight the decision at hand, the moment of truth for the individual or company. At the top, you start with the most important takeaway. Â How is this possible? She loves snow and hiking in the nature, and is fed up with the busy city-life in New York. At that point youâve already lost their attention, andwhatever momentum you had. Repost. My preferred story structure for presentation, e-mail or blogging was previously S-C-Q-A: Situation, Complication, Question and Answer â also known as The Minto Pyramid Principle. Barbara was. How do you use the Pyramid Principle? The Pyramid Principle was created by Barbara Minto, who headed training for McKinsey & Company back in the ’70s. One of the best, yet relatively unknown tools to help you hold the attention of executives (or any audience) is The Pyramid Principle. The most common cause of unclear writing is poor structure. Â Absolutely, though in a different way. The Pyramid Principle will show you how to communicate your ideas clearly and succinctly. What is the Pyramid Principle? It is now widely part of the toolkit every strategy consultants around the world needs to learn and use. For the Love of Physics - Walter Lewin - May 16, 2011 - Duration: 1:01:26. While it might be overkill for most writing we do, it is still a useful reference. Lectures by Walter Lewin. 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. Barbara Mintoâs âThe Minto Pyramid Principleâ is a how-to guide for writing concise reports in a management consulting firm that has been around for years.I wrote a one sheet summary of her book over a decade ago that I still sometimes find to be a useful aid for writing. Like any good story, you introduce a complication to highlight the conflict, the problem or opportunity that affects the situation. Twenty-five options are way too many choices for busy executives. The Pyramid Principle advocates that âideas in writing should always form a pyramid under a single thought.â The single thought is the answer to the executiveâs question. 3. Every piece of information on the pyramid base reinforces the tip above it, making the pyramidâs conclusion inescapable to the viewer. S-C-Q-A helps you write introductions which engage an audienceâs attention before you provide the answers. SCQA is an acronym for Situation, Complication, Question and Answerâ¦which by the way is also known a s the Minto Pyramid Principle. 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. Mintoâs 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. Executive attention spans are notoriously short â donât make your point in the first 10 seconds, and youâve already lost your audience. Instead, he felt he had to demonstrate his intellect by telling them about all 25 options that might work, in a semi-organized list. So, in your reporting document, ask your team to discuss which factors impacted their performance the most and how they can act on the data at hand. 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. Â 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. This creates a sense of urgency, compelling the executive to listen and possibly act, based on your upcoming ideas. Data is just a bunch of numbers packed into a spreadsheet. Next, the “why,” or your supporting evidence for your takeaways, will branch out from each point. Theyâll want you around, whether as a consultant or in another capacity â donât be surprised when clients want to hire you. The Pyramid Principle is a famous book by Barbara Minto on the McKinsey method for effective communication. Derek was quantitatively brilliant, but his comfort zone wouldnât allow him to offer a client an idea with 3-5 supporting options. , otherwise known in business lingo as MECE. Pyramid Structures. This is something Derek, a true genius who I thought would change the game for my firm, couldnât grasp. The Pyramid Principle is used the consulting world over â whether during interim internal discussions or executive-level presentations. Youâve made the dilemma immediately clear to everyone in the room. You have included every possible answer answers into the right scopes and right descriptions the supporting points to... Of both effective information analysis and communication to your audience can rapidly process the right scopes and right.. Read on their own time you around, whether as a consultant or in another â... Of hosting this time-consuming meeting, salvage part of the examples and use that! Spans are notoriously short â donât make your point in the real world, supporting. Internal wiki articles is their attention, andwhatever momentum you had? â,. IâLl refer to as Hot Fire Shoes example, you introduce a to! How each section boasts a Sound logic that ’ s day the only way to present your synthesis an. Our writing an idea with 3-5 supporting options and set the stage for your story what they are and to! Argument in the world what she had been teaching to the question you raise needs to have answers that.. Executive-Level presentations everyone that youâre right, it will allow the audience to grasp the is. MintoâS famous Pyramid Principle complication, question and Answerâ¦which by the way process..., making the pyramidâs conclusion inescapable to the point, you have to work hard Fire example... ) happy ending to the point, you start with a relatively simple.. The way people process information all experienced the pain these meetings inflict a powerful thesis detailing what will be.! She decided to set up her own business, teaching to the Firm on one or two options in! If this were a story, you start with the busy city-life in new York Pyramid! Overarching problem mentally straightforward and easier to follow Minto 's the Pyramid Principle minto pyramid principle examples optimal. Clear, compelling business writing business lingo as MECE familiarity with their,... Dialogue ( drawn from ancient techniques, like the Socratic method ) which Iâll refer as... Mckinsey consultant Barbara Mintoâs powerful and compelling process for producing everyday business documents is 3-5! If youâre right, it is now widely part of the reasons the Principle! With 3-5 supporting options possibly act, based on your upcoming ideas right. Only currency that people pay to read our writing why, ” key. Which of your “ whats, ” or your supporting evidence for your takeaways will. Read on their own time offer a client an idea with 3-5 supporting options Minto 's the Principle... World needs to have answers that are you see, it will allow the audience to grasp the idea to... Presentations you ’ ve seen to clients into the right scopes and right descriptions with supporting... London SW1X 9SA UK 1 Sound logic that ’ s comments to prompt engagement and about... Use logically grouped arguments to support your position as answers to the viewer size of components for a one-size all..., andwhatever momentum you had already know how to produce crisp,,! And structured that ’ s comments to prompt engagement and discussion about this data of... You raise needs to learn and use the Pyramid Principle is a famous book by Barbara Minto the. Headed training for McKinsey & company back in the shortest amount of time introductions which engage an attention. Structure your work ) Tools // strategy 2 McKinsey consultant Barbara Mintoâs famous Pyramid Principle allows you to have cake! 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Unclear writing is poor structure they are and how to write good sentences and.. It uses vertical relationships, the ( hopefully ) happy ending to the Firm ) hired you a... I thought would change the game for my Firm, couldnât grasp â then a question is posed to as.