Minto Principle

Topics: Reasoning, Logic, Idea Pages: 3 (791 words) Published: July 15, 2011
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.  

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 timeframe? * The Answer is the technique provided by Minto.

Barbara Minto developed The Minto Pyramid Principle through her early work as a consultant at McKinsey & Company, Inc.  
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