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:
- 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
- The pyramid logic is easy to follow as the recommendations are supported by facts and justifications that highlight your reasoning and thought process
- Giving the recommendations and logic upfront allows the audience to focus on the areas that require their attention and focus
- It forces the consultant to distill complex information to the most important ones and tighten the storyline to the absolutely essential parts
- It helps the consultant to tersely articulate the recommendations without rambling into long-winded prose and slides