Idea in short

Striking the right chords among them requires a structured thinking process and a compelling presentation that drives the audience to perform actions based on your recommendations. One excellent tool to achieve these objectives is the Pyramid Principle – an idea championed by Barbara Minto, an ex-McKinsey consultant. She also authored a book – The Minto Pyramid Principle, which defined the way management consultants structure their recommendations and presentations. As the name implies, the idea and the presentation logic looks like a pyramid. The main recommendation is on top, built on mid-level recommendations, each of which are supported by smaller facts, data, analysis, benchmarks etc.


Way of thinking

The Pyramid Principle is a top-down way of thinking that is very structured and reflects how executives think through a problem. Big ideas are followed by smaller ideas. Such a format helps you cut to the chase fairly quickly, which is good for many reasons:

  1. Time is a precious resource, especially among busy executives. They usually have a short attention spans, hence it’s important to start with your recommendations and get to the crux of the issue upfront
  2. The pyramid logic is easy to follow as the recommendations are supported by facts and justifications that highlight your reasoning and thought process
  3. Giving the recommendations and logic upfront allows the audience to focus on the areas that require their attention and focus
  4. It forces the consultant to distill complex information to the most important ones and tighten the storyline to the absolutely essential parts
  5. It helps the consultant to tersely articulate the recommendations without rambling into long-winded prose and slides