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The Minto Pyramid Principle Concept

The Minto Pyramid Principle concentrates on

the thinking process that should precede writing. It explains how to think through the unique Situation-Complication-Question structure (SCQ Framework) to identify your readers question i.e., the purpose of the document and then how to work down the pyramid, applying the pyramid rules to determine precisely the points necessary to answer that question.
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The Minto Pyramid Principle Concept

The result is a clear, concise message grasped quickly by the reader, developed with minimum hassle by the writer, leading to action where required, and saving time at all levels of the organization. Fast-tracking ideas in this way tends to enhance both your work and your effectiveness in your organization. The technique applies to every type of document in which your purpose is to offer your thinking to a reader email, 1-page memo, multi-page report, or formal slide presentation. It works equally for internal or external audiences, and regardless of medium or language. For this reason the Minto Pyramid Principle has become the de facto standard for all major consulting firms and professional organizations worldwide.

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WHAT IS THE PYRAMID PRINCIPLE? DESCRIPTION

Barbara Mintos Pyramid Principle is a hierarchically structured thinking and communication technique that can be used to precede good structured writing! The Minto Pyramid Principle assumes that you already know how to write good sentences and paragraphs. It concentrates instead on the thinking process that should precede the writing. The core of Mintos thinking method is to group Ideas in a presenters thought process into small clusters that support the main Thesis in increasing detail (granularity).

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WHAT IS THE PYRAMID PRINCIPLE?


Supporting arguments can be based on:
Inductive Reasoning : Thinking process in which the premises of an argument support the conclusion but do not ensure it Each of the elements in row two of the pyramid answers a question (e.g. why, how, how do you know) about the thesis above it Deductive Reasoning : Thinking process in which the conclusion is necessitated by previously known facts One element logically leads to the next.

The best way to make any point or argument, says

Barbara, is to structure the thinking in this way.

SCQ Framework
The method explains how to use the SCQ Framework

(Situation, Complication, Question, Answer) to determine precisely the Idea you want communicate and the order in which you should make your points:
A common Situation is that knowledge workers must quickly produce a text about a complex issue. An example of a Complication of the above Situation is that the creators of these texts have a tendency to get side tracked. Also they have limited time available. And the readers hate thick reports. The Question thus becomes: how can short, concise, and clear reports be created in a short time frame? The Answer is the technique provided by Minto.

ORIGIN OF THE PYRAMID PRINCIPLE HISTORY


Barbara Minto developed The Minto Pyramid

Principle through her early work as a consultant at McKinsey & Company, Inc.

USAGE OF THE PYRAMID PRINCIPLE APPLICATIONS

The technique is most useful for those people in an organization who must write analytical documents, on the basis of which senior managers must make decisions. Probably those senior managers complain that it takes too long to get to the point.The model applies to every type of writing in which your purpose is to present your thinking to the reader-from 1-page memos to 50-page reports to 300 page books, from simple slide presentations to multi-media expositions. Specifically, it helps its user to: Think creatively, reason lucidly, and express ideas with clarity. Define complex problems and establish the objectives of any document Assess ideas and recognize their relative importance. Structure reasoning into a coherent and transparent argument Analyze the argument to confirm its effectiveness.

STEPS IN THE PYRAMID PRINCIPLE PROCESS


There are several components to the overall

method:
Build the Minto Pyramid. Structure ideas to be communicated within the Situation, Complication, Question, Answer (SCQ) framework. Create compelling summaries and lists of items.

STEPS IN THE PYRAMID PRINCIPLE PROCESS

With respect to the book authored by Barbara Minto (The Minto Pyramid Principle), there are four overall sections of study:
Part One explains the necessity to group and summarize ideas into a pyramid under a single idea directed at a single question. Also it shows you how to use that understanding to find your readers question and to structure your ideas to answer it. Beginning with the SCQ Framework. Part Two tells you how to look critically at the detail of your thinking. Ln this way you can make sure that the ideas you have included are both relevant and complete. And also you can verity that your summary points actually reflect the insights inherent in the various idea groupings. Part Three explains how to use a variety of analytical frameworks to structure your analysis at various stages in the problem-solving process. In this way the results of the analysis can be in effect pre-organized to fit easily into a pyramid structure. Part Four discusses techniques for making sure the pyramid structure is not lost on the reader as you transfer your ideas from the pyramid, either to written prose or to slides in an oral presentation.

STRENGTHS OF PYRAMID PRINCIPLE BENEFITS


Cut down the time that is normally needed to

produce a first draft Increase Its clarity Decrease its length. The overall result of the method is that ideas jump off the page, into the readers mind. With minimum effort on the readers part.

LIMITATIONS OF PYRAMID PRINCIPLE DISADVANTAGES

It takes a lot of discipline to both learn and apply the methods consistently, Some critics say the original book makes a less than compelling argument for taking the time to use the methods.

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