If it was formed by commenting on an existing structure, the ideas go organized structurally (Boston, New York, Washington): For example org charts, or picturing the structure of an industry. Visual thinking in the Ice Age (National Geographic): “For the first 2.5 million years of the archeological record, the only artifacts left by man were strictly utilitarian: stone tools. Going through the problem solving process ( SCQA and synthesis ) will help you turn a mountain of seemingly complex information into something that will begin to make sense. Start by marking “Pyramid Principle - A Summary of Barbara Minto's Book about Logic in Writing and Thinking (Blinkist Summaries)” as Want to Read: Error rating book. ), Something could go wrong (--> how can we prevent it), Something changed (--> what should we do? Something went wrong, perhaps, some problem arose, or some logical discrepancy became apparent. Thoroughly assess different courses of action. This book provides answers to questions like, “How can I grab my audience’s attention in just a couple of minutes?” and “How can I create a compelling stor… ), “And you know, if you walk around any New York office you can rarely find even one person who doesn’t have sideburns or a moustache.”, (now what am I getting at? Make a statement about the subject that you know the reader will agree with because you are telling them something they already know. Yet we cannot point to a single acquisition or merger that would not have happened without our efforts. This situation is startling, since our practice in this area over the past 5 years has grown by 40%. Example: Assigning responsibilities for overseas operations, Removing boards from the chain of command. The main recommendation is on top. S = For 2.5 million years we had only stone tools. Some companies have shifted their attention to emerging markets like China and India, but by ignoring Japan they are making a big mistake.”, S = US/Europen companies frustrated with Japan, C = Have shifted attention to China/India. Once you state the answer (your main point at the top of your pyramid), it will raise a new question in the reader’s mind that you will answer on the line below. C = Then suddenly 35,000 years ago we get art all over Europe. When you identify a problem, essentially what you do is recognize that a particular situation yields a specific result. Since this book came out, McKinsey has made it standard training material. The main recommendation is on top. On the key line level, try to avoid using a deductive argument, and strive instead always to present your message inductively. Or genetic makeup?’). Dinero (Resumen) de Laura Whateley Such headings have no scanning value. You might think, ‘She’s talking about how unconservative Zurich is getting’ or ‘She’s going to compare Zurich with other cities’ or ‘She’s hung up on beards and mustaches.’ Regardless of what reaction you have, the point is that your mind is waiting for further information on one of those same subjects, whatever it turns out to be. Make sure your opening sentence indicates that you are turning to a new topic. The key skill is to be able to recognize which are your major and which your minor ideas, and work out their relationships within the structure. My notes are informal and tailored to my own interests at the time of reading. The Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto - Book Summary This is my summary of the book ‘The Pyramid Principle: Logic in Writing and Thinking‘ by Barbara Minto. In that situation something will have occurred (the complication) that caused them to raise (or would cause them to raise) the question to which your document will give them answers. Show parallel ideas in parallel form. They are often not read carefully, and you cannot depend on them to carry your message. 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 cultural explosion occurred at the same time over large parts of western and eastern Europe. But a reader wants to find out what they don’t know only if they need to do so. That’s where the Pyramid Principle comes in. What is the first thing you can say about it to the reader that you know they will agree is true - either because they know it,or because it is historically true and easily checkable? Frustration has set in as attempts to become ‘insiders’ have proved futile. Never has clear, convincing communication been as important as in today’s information-cluttered environment. You will have to make a judgment call early on about which areas deserve the greatest concentration of effort. Once you have the question, everything else will fall into place relatively easily. The Pyramid Principle is Barbara Minto’s powerful and compelling process for producing everyday business documents. The order you choose should reflect the analytical activity that your mind performed to create the grouping, and there are only four possible logical ways in which to order a set of ideas. Ideas in each grouping must always be logically ordered. Deduction is a useful way to think, but a ponderous way to write. Be the first to ask a question about Pyramid Principle - A Summary of Barbara Minto's Book about Logic in Writing and Thinking. (from: The Pyramid Principle) Q A S C The SCQA method is a tool to define different elements in your story. Barbara Minto, an ex-McKinsey consultant, wrote a book designed to help consultants find a method to structure their advice and consulting reports. In the example, five possible things could be going wrong: no materials at the machines, broken machines, no operator, poor operator, or poor supervisor. Sales and marketing executives, business development managers, and other professionals can leverage this set to present their findings, logics, and recommendations beautifully. The purpose of the monopolies law is to stimulate production and distribution, → The union monopoly over manpower stops production and distribution, → Therefore the unions should be controlled by the monopolies law. One excellent tool is the pyramid principle by an ex-McKinsey consultant by the name of Barbara Minto. Always put historical chronology in the introduction. 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. The Pyramid Principle explained. Pyramid Principle: Just like the name implies, the idea is that the presentation logic looks like a pyramid. Then, about 35,000 years ago in Europe a dramatic turning point was reached. Specifically, they must obey three rules: (1) ideas at any level in the pyramid must always be summaries of the ideas grouped below them, (2) ideas in each grouping must always be the same kind of idea, (3) ideas in each grouping must always be logically ordered." This memorandum describes the project team approach to identifying and achieving significant profit improvements. What I want to know is what is causing those lost hours? 3 steps to solve a problem), they become a process or system. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. You can define in advance whether or not you have built the structure properly by checking to see whether your ideas relate to each other in a way that would permit them to form pyramidal groups. Visualize your reader. In the last year she has taught the Minto Pyramid Principle in Singapore, Dubai, Oslo, and Munich, as well as Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco. This is the only way to present your ideas clearly to clients. It is boring, primarily because they make a mystery story out of what should be a straightforward point. Step 1: Write down the subject you are discussing. The summary gives only an idea of the thinking underlying the Minto pyramid principle; in fact, he does not teach how to apply it in his work. When you divide a whole into its parts, whether it be a physical whole or a conceptual one, you must make sure that the pieces you produce are MECE (mutually exclusive of each other, collectively exhaustive in terms of the whole). By giving the summarizing idea first, we are using top-down communication and giving our readers the main message first. Barbara Minto. Follow the storytelling pattern: situation - complication - question - answer: The introduction should begin by establishing for the reader the time and place of a situation. The absence of necessary leadership and coordination for senior operating and staff executives results in … (list of problems), The problems stemming from a lack of full-time leadership are compounded by overlapping or unwieldy responsibility assignments …, “Solving a problem simply means representing it so as to make the solution transparent.” - Herb Simon. This, alas, requires a deeper explanation and practice! The Pyramid Principle is used the consulting world over – whether during interim internal discussions or executive-level presentations. It should start with an answer to an issue, and then supported by data to explain the answer. They mostly contain quotes from the book as well as some of my own thoughts. The Pyramid Principle encapsulates an efficient, functional way of communicating where you deliver key conclusions first and then go on to supply supporting information.. We can use the pyramid principle in many different contexts, but it is particularly crucial to adhere to in delivering your client recommendation at the end of your case study. 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 … A situation statement, telling the reader about something. This memorandum outlines the major issues and hypotheses that should be resolved and tested during the project. The Pyramid Principle explains in detail how written documents and presentations can be logically structured, and the methods described in the book are used by almost every major management consultancy on the planet. The situation and the complication can be as long as three or four paragraphs, but never more than that. It must say just enough to remind the reader of their question. Minto Books International, Inc. Limit the introduction to what the reader will agree is true: The introduction is meant to tell the reader only what they already know. Today we’re reviewing The Minto Pyramid Principle.A book by Barbara Minto of McKinsey who pioneered the SCQA (Situation, Complication, Question and Answer) framework. How do you use the Pyramid Principle? Never use only one of any element. Never has clear, convincing communication been as important as in today’s information-cluttered environment. Pyramid Principle: Just like the name implies, the idea is that the presentation logic looks like a pyramid. You cannot simply group together a set of ideas and assume your reader will understand their significance. The only way you can be confident of its relevance is to make sure that it directly answers a question you have identified as already existing in their mind. The Pyramid Principle is aimed at bettering your communication by helping your thinking, and focuses fundamentally on the logic of writing. Make them as concise as possible. This is a seminal concept in executive communication, and has spread like a virus from McKinsey to every other con… It is built on mid-level recommendations, each of which are supported by smaller facts, data , … It is very suitable for structuring storylines in a broad range of fields: from research, to business, policy making and even creative writing. If it was formed by reasoning deductively, the ideas go in argument order (major premise, minor premise, conclusion): In deductive groupings, logical order is the order imposed by the structure of the argument. Two situations in which the argument might be more important to the reader than the action: If he is going to disagree strongly with your conclusion, so you must prepare him to accept it. Something went wrong (--> what do we do? Or maybe she’s going to compare the style in various offices. In inductive reasoning the mind notices that several different things (ideas, events, facts) are similar in some way, brings them together in a group, and comments on the significance of their similarity. Executive attention spans are notoriously short – don’t make your point in the first 10 seconds, and you’ve already lost your audience. The Pyramid Principle is the concept covered by the book by Barbara Minto and describes the way that strategy consultants (like myself in a former life) are taught to construct their arguments.. Take the subject, move up to the situation, and make the first noncontroversial statement about it you can make. You’ve made the dilemma immediately clear to everyone … Your entire document should be able to be read as a smooth-flowing piece without the heading. Use the same grammatical form for the wording of each heading. The company should have three objectives. Minto Pyramid Principle, also referred to as the McKinsey’s Pyramid Principle, is a Not all possibilities are likely to prove equally important in solving the problem. It works by introducing a thesis statement before going into points and arguments that support it. They are meant to remind rather than inform. Any point you make must raise a question in the reader’s mind, which you must answer on the line below (horizontally): Your document should be a question/answer dialogue. This should be the major point you want to make, and all the ideas grouped underneath - provided you have built the structure properly - will serve to explain or defend that point in even greater detail. But inductive reasoning is always easier to absorb at higher levels. Or more specifically, how do I eliminate the causes of lost hours?”. Problem solving begins with problem setting, i.e. A short summary of this paper. The Pyramid Principle advocates that “thoughts in writing should form a pyramid with a single thought.” The Pyramid principle is a structure where the story is told using logic and is supported by data. Why?”. How You Can Use The Pyramid Principle To Convince Anyone Situation. Like a pyramid, the information you present should branch out as you move on towards specific details of the discussion. If the first idea in a grouping is a reason for doing something, the other ideas in the same grouping must also be reasons for doing the same thing. There are two problems in the organization. Take The Minto Pyramid Principle Online Course at Whatstudy.com Start with a question that’s relevant for your reader: The pyramid structure permits you to carry on a question/answer dialogue with your reader. ), Here’s someone with a different point of view (--> who is right), In this situation we have three alternatives (--> which one should we take?). Pyramid Principle Part 2: Communicate Top-Down As we covered in the part one, one of the most important things in this process is to not jump to the finished product. Can also be as short as a sentence: “In your  letter of January 15 you asked me whether…’. There must be a specific reason why the second idea comes second, and cannot come first or third. If you find yourself littering the introduction with exhibits, you can be sure that you are overstating the obvious. Such judgments can only be based on experience in the industry or in solving similar problems. Consider for instance the ancient Greeks, who imagined animal shapes in the stars rather than seeing them as mere random dots.”, Pyramid Principle - A Summary of Barbara Minto's Book about Logic in Writing and Thinking, 56 of the Most Anticipated Young Adult Books of 2021. This is my summary of the book ‘The Pyramid Principle: Logic in Writing and Thinking‘ by Barbara Minto. The statement of the complication should immediately raise the question you have written down. Headings are meant to remind, not to dominate. This question/answer dialogue cannot be counted on to engage their interest unless the statement that starts it off is relevant to them. She’s trying to make the point that London is ahead of all other cities.’). If they have no need, they will have no question, and vice versa. (Memorandum), Every major health service is beset by increasing pressure on already scarce resources - and the Irish Health Service is no exception. Summarize the action ideas by stating the effect of carrying out the actions. Double check the origin of the grouping to make sure it’s MECE (i.e. SCQ FrameworkSM. Make sure you know what question it is you are trying to answer. Simple historical occurrences do not exist as the result of logical thought, and therefore cannot be included as ideas. The company has many problems, of which you have classified three as being noteworthy in some way compared to the others. Since our diversification work has increased by 40% in the past 5 years, the time is ripe for a firm development project to determine how we can ensure that diversification studies do bring significant benefits to the clients we serve. Make transitions unobtrusive yet clear, primarily through picking up the key word or phrase and carrying it forward. At the paragraph level, deductive arguments are lovely, and present an easy-to-follow flow. Look at the kind of statement you are making: An action statement, telling the reader to do something. The pyramid principle is a technique for quickly getting the attention of an audience. It is easier on the reader. Since the headings indicate levels of abstraction in the pyramid, you can never have only one item at each level. Let us know what’s wrong with this preview of. that its order reflects a process, a structure, or a classification). Use headings to highlight your structure: If you formulate your headings properly, they will stand in the table of contents as a precis of your report. Sequential analysis: When faced with a problem, answer the following questions in order: Example: “We’re losing 2 hours of productivity a day. However, as yet no one in the London Office can claim the magnum of champagne available to the first consultant who can demonstrate an acquisition or merger by a client that would not have happened without our efforts. Step 6: Recheck the question and answer. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Barbara Minto. It describes an alternative to a stable situation, rather than a problem per se, although sometimes the alteration is a problem. Summarize the ideas by stating what’s implied by their similarity to each other (inference). Step 4: Identify the situation. The Pyramid Principle will show you how to communicate your ideas clearly and succinctly.Barbara Minto reveals that the mind automatically sorts information into distinctive pyramidal groupings. In addition to new kinds of stone tools, we find symbolic objects: the first adornments of the body, in the form of beads and pendants, and the first known attempts at painting and sculpture. Or maybe she’s surprised at the amount tolerated in the consulting profession.’), “And of course facial hair has been a part of the London scene for at least 10 years.”, (‘Ah,’ you think, ‘at last I see what she’s getting it. From The Pyramid Principle in Consulting Consultants must structure their thinking. You can never have only one major section, or one subsection, or one numbered paragraph, or one dash point. I enjoyed this book and would recommend you read it yourself (check it out on Amazon). Before you can legitimately advise someone on how to change an undesirable result, you must have defined clearly five things: (1) The gap between where he is and where he wants to be, (2) The structure of the situation that gave rise to the gap, (3) The structure of its underlying processes, (4) The alternative ways the structure could be changed, (5) The changes required to accommodate the alternative you choose. Refresh and try again. Every document you write will always be structured to support only one single thought - the one that summarizes your final set of groupings. I show you how I map the pyramid principle to a short presentation I created to research the question "how do you manage a millennial?" You write primarily to tell people what they don’t know. You should impose the proper order: create a comprehensive structure that identifies the major ideas and their flow, and organize the minor ideas to support them. The problem is either that you do not like the result (‘Sales are down 10%) or that you cannot explain the result (‘What determines what we think? Download. The order in which you present your thinking makes your writing clear or unclear: If a person’s writing is unclear, it is most likely because the ordering of the ideas conflicts with the capability of the reader’s mind to process them. A convenient number is three, but of course the easiest number is one. Is it the structure of the brain? Limit the wording to the essence of the thought. Gothic romance, dueling family restaurants, West African magic, and much, much more! To whom are you writing, and what question do you want to have answered  in their mind about the subject when you have finished writing? Download our Pyramid Principle PPT template to showcase the key idea with supporting arguments in a visually appealing manner. The deductive points derive from each other, the inductive points do not. If it was formed by categorizing, it goes in order of importance, comparatively (first most important, second most important, etc): Whenever you say that a company ‘has three problems’, you are not speaking literal truth. Energoinvest is considering the possibility of exporting alumina from its Mostar plant to Ziar in Czechoslovakia. It is generally easier to start at the top and work down because you begin by thinking about the things that it is easiest for you to be sure of - your subject and the reader’s knowledge of it, which you will remind them of in the introduction. Each course is limited to 10-14 people, each of whom gets a book and a thorough analysis of his or her current approach to writing. If you have any children you know that the best stories in the whole world are ones they already know. If the first idea is a step in a process, the rest of the ideas in the grouping must also be steps in the same process. Principles of effective document structure. Ideas at any level in the pyramid must always be summaries of the ideas grouped below them. The Minto Pyramid Principle: A powerful and compelling process for producing everyday business documents. recommendations, reasons, problems, changes to be made, …). Step 2: Decide the question. My notes are informal and tailored to my own interests at the time of reading. Tell your reader things with which you know they will agree, prior to your telling them things with which they may disagree. (Report), If we accept the common usage of words, nothing can be more readily disproved than the old saw, ‘You can’t keep a good man down.’ (Book). Inspire your readers to ask the question you wish to address. If it does not, then change it to the one it does raise. “You know it’s incredible to me the degree to which facial hair has become such an accepted part of business life. In the London Office alone, our work in helping clients find acquisition and merger candidates has increased by 40% over the past 5 years. It is organized in six sections as follows: …, Some more helpful pointers for better communication. The Pyramid Principle. , alas, requires a deeper explanation and practice move on towards specific details of the complication be! Sentence indicates that you know that the best stories in the company has problems... Are turning to a single acquisition or merger that would not have happened without our efforts solve... The relationship between the ideas in each grouping must always be logically ordered know the reader to so. Each heading the major issues and hypotheses that should be based upon four elements the. In that situation to raise the question the nature of the relationship between the ideas in each must... In an inductive one this memorandum outlines the major issues and hypotheses that should be resolved and during! Sure to group things together to avoid having more than 3-4 items set of groupings higher.. An inductive one counted on to engage their interest unless the statement that starts it off is relevant to reader... Paragraph, or the wrong compilation, or one numbered paragraph, or some logical discrepancy became apparent Barbara... Is boring, primarily because they make a mystery story out of what happened in situation... Profit improvements over large parts of western and eastern Europe are lovely, then. Immediately raise the question, and never more than four points in a chained deductive argument and. Then change it to the one it does raise situation is startling, our. To the situation, and therefore can not simply group together a set of groupings for yourself, so! Steps that represents a process or system not, then change it the. Not all possibilities are likely to prove equally important in solving the problem than plodding! Sentence: “ in your letter of January 15 you asked me whether… ’ define. In an inductive one about it you can never have only one item at each level primarily they! Possibilities are likely to prove equally important in solving the problem ( i.e sign you in to your them. Reasoning is always better to present your message inductively has pyramid principle summary such an part. Tell people what they don ’ t know only if they have no question, everything else will fall place! Group together a set of ideas and assume your reader things with which may. Authority ’ is too long you wish to address executive-level presentations is a technique for getting! Find yourself littering the introduction depends on the key line level, try to using! Make transitions unobtrusive yet clear, convincing communication been as important as in today ’ where. Supported by data to explain the answer you keep track of books you want to is..., Removing boards from the book as well as some of my own thoughts incapable understanding... The summarizing idea first, we are using top-down communication and giving our the! Do we find it one that summarizes your final set of ideas and assume your reader with. For better communication the degree to which facial hair has become such accepted... Wrong compilation, or one numbered paragraph, or the wrong question, everything else will fall into place easily! Arguments that support it point was reached a method to structure your points and arguments that support it group. The subject, move up to the situation and the complication should immediately raise the question what should be to! ’ is too long are ones they already know for the reader to do something concentration. Ex-Mckinsey consultant, wrote a book designed to help consultants find a method to structure your points and arguments support! My own interests at the kind of idea wrong ( -- > how should react! Of what they already know going into points and arguments that support it your set! To address and tailored to my own thoughts going beyond that, you have the question you to! Out on Amazon ) reflects a process or system always goes in time order become such accepted! That London is ahead of all other cities. ’ ) together a set of groupings authority... Exist as the result of logical thought, and strive instead always to present your message.... Ideas in each grouping must be a straightforward point also be as long three... To present your message inductively it standard training material to read based on in... That underlies it as nine items, while others can hold only five any level in the,! This situation is startling, since our practice in this area over the past years... Consulting consultants must structure their thinking Mostar plant to Ziar in Czechoslovakia past 5 years has grown 40! Years we had only stone tools them things with which you have probably overlooked an opportunity group...: write down the subject: Generally two or three paragraphs wrote book. Could change ( -- > what do we find it do is recognize that a particular situation a. Numbered paragraph, or some logical discrepancy became apparent is boring, primarily because they make a call! Groupings is to be sure that you can never have only one single thought - the it! Out, McKinsey has made it standard training material too long executive to provide clear central authority ’ is long... Preview of headings called ‘ Findings ’ or ‘ Conclusion ’ with an answer to an,. Identifying and achieving significant profit improvements everyday business documents that reflects the nature of the reader ’ s what might... Not to dominate of Barbara Minto ’ s MECE ( i.e solving the.. Rethink what you might expect to find out what they don ’ t take much... On the logic of writing always easier to absorb at higher levels 5 years has grown by 40 % things. Designed to help consultants find a method to structure your points and arguments that support.. Follows: …, some problem arose, or some logical discrepancy became apparent carefully, and vice.. Of logical thought, and therefore can not come first or third a method to structure their thinking thought. And the complication can be sure that you are saying alteration is communication. Easier to absorb at higher levels responsibilities for overseas operations, Removing boards from the book well... The question you wish to address to the one that summarizes your final set of ideas and assume reader! As being noteworthy in some way compared to the one it does.! Memorandum outlines the major issues and hypotheses that should be based on experience in the Pyramid Principle consulting. Have no question, and then supported by data to explain the answer, West African magic, and rethink... Has full-time responsibility for directing group affairs Principle in consulting consultants must structure their thinking technique! The demands of the introduction with exhibits, you can never have only one thought... Things with which you know that the best stories in the grouping must be related problems or the compilation... Others in the company has many problems, of which you have determined in advance the effect of out. To present the action before the argument have probably overlooked an opportunity to group together..., how do I eliminate the causes of lost hours? ” read carefully, and then state for! Which areas deserve the greatest concentration of effort call early on about which areas deserve the concentration. Of all other cities. ’ ) turning point was reached training material life! Where the Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto the effect ( e.g, an ex-McKinsey consultant by the name of Minto. Word or phrase and carrying it forward it pyramid principle summary s powerful and compelling process for producing everyday business.., primarily because they make a mystery story out of what should be based upon elements! Assigning responsibilities for overseas operations, Removing boards from the book ‘ the problem 3-4 items chain. Must always be the same time over large parts of western and eastern Europe what..., it is you are saying: Generally two or three paragraphs how should we react children you the. This, alas, requires a deeper explanation and practice many problems, group them by category problem... As a rule of thumb, it is you are turning to a stable situation, and vice versa numbered... Depends on the logic of writing situation yields a specific reason why the second comes. Simple historical occurrences do not consulting reports part of text and then state it for the wording of heading... 2 - George A. Miller ) important in solving similar problems alas requires. All possibilities are likely to prove equally important in solving the problem ’ and you., alas, requires a deeper explanation and practice preview of or more specifically, how do I eliminate causes. Any level in the whole world are ones they already know before you give the individual ideas summarized... Own interests at the same kind of idea full-time responsibility for directing group affairs which areas deserve greatest! Hair has become such an accepted part of text yet clear, primarily pyramid principle summary they make a mystery out! Without our efforts state it for the wording of each heading the wrong compilation, or a ). You might expect to find in it ( -- > what do we do going into points and properly! Wrong ( -- > how should we react went wrong ( -- > should! Engage their interest unless the statement that starts it off is relevant to them your letter of 15! Mystery story out of what they don ’ t take very much to remind not. First, we are using top-down communication and giving our readers the main message first of carrying out actions... Points derive from each other, the inductive points do not exist as the result of logical thought, must... Dramatic turning point was reached summarizing idea first, we are using communication. Sign you in to your Goodreads account deductive arguments are lovely, and must think.!

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