pyramid principle summary
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. The Pyramid Principle is aimed at bettering your communication by helping your thinking, and focuses fundamentally on the logic of writing. Like a pyramid, the information you present should branch out as you move on towards specific details of the discussion. The pyramid principle is a technique for quickly getting the attention of an audience. It is easier on the reader. A situation statement, telling the reader about something. Take the subject, move up to the situation, and make the first noncontroversial statement about it you can make. One excellent tool is the pyramid principle by an ex-McKinsey consultant by the name of Barbara Minto. You can never have only one major section, or one subsection, or one numbered paragraph, or one dash point. Then, about 35,000 years ago in Europe a dramatic turning point was reached. Say to yourself, ‘So what?’ Think of what happened in that situation to raise the question. You can choose to arrange the parts of the introduction differently to reflect the tone you want to establish in the document: Considered (situation - complication - solution): In recent years, the firm has billed dozens of clients large amounts of money for diversification work. READ PAPER. It can’t take very much to remind someone of what they already know. This situation is startling, since our practice in this area over the past 5 years has grown by 40%. This memorandum describes the project team approach to identifying and achieving significant profit improvements. Or genetic makeup?’). Or more specifically, how do I eliminate the causes of lost hours?”. The main message is represented visually by the top of the pyramid and the key points and details that follow form the middle and base of the pyramid. If it does not, then change it to the one it does raise. Or perhaps you have the wrong compilation, or the wrong question, and must think again. 13 Full PDFs related to this paper. 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). Such headings have no scanning value. The Pyramid Principle By Barbara Minto Pdf Download > DOWNLOAD Executive attention spans are notoriously short – don’t make your point in the first 10 seconds, and you’ve already lost your audience. It works by introducing a thesis statement before going into points and arguments that support it. No single executive has full-time responsibility for directing group affairs. If they have no need, they will have no question, and vice versa. Step 4: Identify the situation. But a reader wants to find out what they don’t know only if they need to do so. The Pyramid Principle is used the consulting world over – whether during interim internal discussions or executive-level presentations. Gothic romance, dueling family restaurants, West African magic, and much, much more! The statement of the complication should immediately raise the question you have written down. Visualize your reader. Since this book came out, McKinsey has made it standard training material. 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, page 9. Problem solving begins with problem setting, i.e. 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. Simple historical occurrences do not exist as the result of logical thought, and therefore cannot be included as ideas. Something went wrong (--> what do we do? Tell your reader things with which you know they will agree, prior to your telling them things with which they may disagree. 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. 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?" Summarize the action ideas by stating the effect of carrying out the actions. You write primarily to tell people what they don’t know. Every document you write will always be structured to support only one single thought - the one that summarizes your final set of groupings. Make them as concise as possible. 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. By giving the summarizing idea first, we are using top-down communication and giving our readers the main message first. The main recommendation is on top. 3 steps to solve a problem), they become a process or system. 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. So let’s get to the meat. 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. Ideas at any level in the pyramid must always be summaries of the ideas grouped below them. This cultural explosion occurred at the same time over large parts of western and eastern Europe. Direct (solution - situation - complication: Our first priority for a firm development project should be one directed toward improving our ability to help clients diversify. If you have any children you know that the best stories in the whole world are ones they already know. From The Pyramid Principle in Consulting Consultants must structure their thinking. Read summary of The Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto. 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. They are often not read carefully, and you cannot depend on them to carry your message. Pyramid Principle: Just like the name implies, the idea is that the presentation logic looks like a pyramid. Concerned (complication - situation - solution): To my knowledge, no one in the London Office has yet conducted a single diversification study for a client that has yielded demonstrable results beyond what he could have done for himself. 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. Take The Minto Pyramid Principle Online Course at Whatstudy.com C = Then suddenly 35,000 years ago we get art all over Europe. Since the headings indicate levels of abstraction in the pyramid, you can never have only one item at each level. The deductive points derive from each other, the inductive points do not. Every grouping implies an overall point that reflects the nature of the relationship between the ideas in the grouping. Make sure you know what question it is you are trying to answer. 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. A shortcut in checking your groupings is to be sure that you can clearly label the ideas with a plural noun (e.g. 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. How do you use the Pyramid Principle? The Pyramid Principle is Barbara Minto’s powerful and compelling process for producing everyday business documents. 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. 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. identifying precisely what you mean by ‘the problem’ and how you will know when you have achieved a solution. Then your reader will not question its truth. 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. Such judgments can only be based on experience in the industry or in solving similar problems. The length of the introduction depends on the needs of the reader and the demands of the subject: Generally two or three paragraphs. Step 6: Recheck the question and answer. This is now the heart of the structured analysis that the top strategy consulting firms like McKinsey, BCG and Bain (the MBBs) use to solve client problems.. 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." Can also be as short as a sentence: “In your letter of January 15 you asked me whether…’. The main recommendation is on top. We’d love your help. I enjoyed this book and would recommend you read it yourself (check it out on Amazon). Yet we cannot point to a single acquisition or merger that would not have happened without our efforts. 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. If you find can’t make a statement about the subject, then either you have the wrong subject, or you’re starting in the wrong place to talk about it. Make sure to group things together to avoid having more than 3-4 items. 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. (the magical number 7, +/- 2 - George A. Miller). My notes are informal and tailored to my own interests at the time of reading. Double check the origin of the grouping to make sure it’s MECE (i.e. 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. You have determined in advance the effect you want to achieve, and then identified the action necessary to achieve it. ‘Probably she disapproves of the new style. 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. Complication = You asked if it makes sense, Subpoints: will give us all the information we need; will increase our cash flow; will reduce our workload, Use inductive reasoning at higher levels, and deductive reasoning only at paragraph level. You will have to make a judgment call early on about which areas deserve the greatest concentration of effort. Complication. 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. Sequential analysis: When faced with a problem, answer the following questions in order: Example: “We’re losing 2 hours of productivity a day. ), Here’s someone with a different point of view (--> who is right), In this situation we have three alternatives (--> which one should we take?). As a rule of thumb, it is always better to present the action before the argument. A convenient number is three, but of course the easiest number is one. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Arrange known material in a narrative form. There are two problems in the organization. Energoinvest is considering the possibility of exporting alumina from its Mostar plant to Ziar in Czechoslovakia. This is my summary of the book ‘The Pyramid Principle: Logic in Writing and Thinking‘ by Barbara Minto. The main recommendation is on top. Basically, the Pyramid Principle is a communication technique that allows you to to structure your points and arguments properly. It is very suitable for structuring storylines in a broad range of fields: from research, to business, policy making and even creative writing. Or maybe she’s going to compare the style in various offices. Some minds can hold as many as nine items, while others can hold only five. S = For 2.5 million years we had only stone tools. Frustration has set in as attempts to become ‘insiders’ have proved futile. Avoid headings called ‘Findings’ or ‘Conclusion’. Never use only one of any element. Follow the storytelling pattern: situation - complication - question - answer: The introduction should begin by establishing for the reader the time and place of a situation. Refresh and try again. Deduction presents a line of reasoning that leads to a ‘therefore’ conclusion, and the point above is a summary of that line of reasoning, resting heavily on the final point. Consequently, if you want to tell the reader a really good story, you tell him one he already knows or could reasonably be expected to know if he’s at all well informed. This, alas, requires a deeper explanation and practice! 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. There must be a specific reason why the second idea comes second, and cannot come first or third. 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. 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. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. It sure looks like 2021 is shaping up to be a year of... To see what your friends thought of this book, Pyramid Principle - A Summary of Barbara Minto's Book about Logic in Writing and Thinking (Blinkist Summaries), “When preparing a document, most people have a pretty good idea of what they intend to write about but no specific plan for what to say or how to phrase it.”, “The mind prefers order to disorder, and even imposes imagined order on random data it encounters. A short summary of this paper. Look at the kind of statement you are making: An action statement, telling the reader to do something. Not all possibilities are likely to prove equally important in solving the problem. They mostly contain quotes from the book as well as some of my own thoughts. Let us know what’s wrong with this preview of. According to this method, every story should be based upon four elements, the S, C, Q and A. recommendations, reasons, problems, changes to be made, …). 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. Never has clear, convincing communication been as important as in today’s information-cluttered environment. If you find yourself going beyond that, you have probably overlooked an opportunity to group, and should rethink what you are saying. 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. 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. If you find 8 problems, group them by category of problem. ), Something could change (--> how should we react? (Memorandum), Every major health service is beset by increasing pressure on already scarce resources - and the Irish Health Service is no exception. You should first define that relationship for yourself, and then state it for the reader. A grouping of steps that represents a process or system always goes in time order. Your entire document should be able to be read as a smooth-flowing piece without the heading. They mostly contain quotes from the … Keep digging until (1) you are sure you have identified all the parts in the system, (2) you can arrange them in sequential order, and (3) you can clearly show inputs and outputs. I seem to be comparing not cities as such, but cities in which we have offices; and instead of just beards and moustaches, I seem to be including all manner of facial hair. Download our Pyramid Principle PPT template to showcase the key idea with supporting arguments in a visually appealing manner. Summarize the ideas by stating what’s implied by their similarity to each other (inference). Thoroughly assess different courses of action. ), “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? On the key line level, try to avoid using a deductive argument, and strive instead always to present your message inductively. The pyramid principle was invented by Barbara Minto at McKinsey. 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. Click here to browse more book summaries. Easy reading of agreeable points is apt to render them more receptive to your ideas than confused plodding through a morass of detail. The Minto Pyramid Principle: A powerful and compelling process for producing everyday business documents. At the paragraph level, deductive arguments are lovely, and present an easy-to-follow flow. When the mind sees the number of items with which it is being presented begin to rise above four or five, it starts to group them into logical categories so that they can be retained. Inspire your readers to ask the question you wish to address. Make sure your opening sentence indicates that you are turning to a new topic. Barbara Minto. What I want to know is what is causing those lost hours? ), Here’s what you might expect to find in it (--> do we find it? ), Something could go wrong (--> how can we prevent it), Something changed (--> what should we do? Limit the wording to the essence of the thought. Sales and marketing executives, business development managers, and other professionals can leverage this set to present their findings, logics, and recommendations beautifully. Cracking Japanese Markets (New York Times): “With the strong yen creating an increasingly competitive environment and Washington achieving a conspicuous lack of success in trade negotiations, many executives in the US and Europe have abandoned their search for new opportunities in the Japanese market. Ideas in each grouping must always be logically ordered. Focus on three ideas at most, only one is even better: The mind cannot hold more than about seven items in its short-term memory at any one time. The Pyramid Principle teaches that, “Ideas at any level in the pyramid must always be summaries of the ideas grouped below them.” Decomposing an argument into a … Always put historical chronology in the introduction. 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. Do you know that within 15 minutes I must have seen 15 people with either a beard or a moustache.”, (now I have given you a piece of information and without realizing it you will automatically make some assumptions about the reason for my giving you that information. “You know it’s incredible to me the degree to which facial hair has become such an accepted part of business life. Always give the summarizing idea before you give the individual ideas being summarized. You’ve made the dilemma immediately clear to everyone … If he is incapable of understanding the action without prior explanation, so you must give him the reasoning that underlies it. (from: The Pyramid Principle) Q A S C The SCQA method is a tool to define different elements in your story. Use the same grammatical form for the wording of each heading. Example: Assigning responsibilities for overseas operations, Removing boards from the chain of command. Wrong, perhaps, some more helpful pointers for better communication s MECE ( i.e very much to someone! Q and a argument, and much, much more need to do something specific details of the:! They may disagree subject: Generally two or three paragraphs major issues and hypotheses that should be able be! Have only one single thought - the one that summarizes your final set of groupings yourself ( check out. Not yield significant benefits and maintain our high reputation know that the best stories the... 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Need, they become a process or system of effort a communication technique that allows you to structure... Clearly to clients statement about it you can pyramid principle summary depend on them to carry your message inductively the! Group, and strive instead always to present your ideas clearly to clients book yet depend on them carry.