WHAT IS THE PYRAMID PRINCIPLE? DESCRIPTION
Barbara Minto's 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 Minto's thinking method is to group Ideas in a presenter's thought process into small clusters that support the main Thesis in increasing detail (granularity). See the picture on the right. 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.
USAGE OF THE PYRAMID PRINCIPLE
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.
STEPS IN THE PYRAMID
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.
STRENGTHS OF PYRAMID PRINCIPLE
* 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 reader’s mind with minimum effort on the reader’s part. LIMITATIONS OF PYRAMID PRINCIPLE
* It takes a lot of discipline to both learn and apply the methods...
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