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The pyramid principle: logic in writing and thinking. Home · The pyramid 74MB Size Report. DOWNLOAD PDF Pyramid Power (Pyramid Series) · Read more. The Pyramid Principle Betters Your. Communication by Helping Your Thinking. Leverages the mind's natural inclination to process information logically. Barbara Minto Pearson Education Limited Edinburgh Gate Harlow, Essex CM20 2JE Tel: +44 (0) Fax: +44 (0)
Harvard Univ. Finding the explanation in the second demands the somewhat more creative hypothesizing of scientists and inventors. Once you have ihe Question, everything else falls into place relatively easily Let me demonstrate how your thinking would develop by using the technique to rewrite the memorandum shown in Exhibit 5, on the next page. In such cases, simply n10ve down to the Key Line leveI. Why that order?
The structure helps the reader to "see" the groupings of ideas the same way the author intended, increasing communication effectiveness Use of the pyramid structure provides other benefits for the writer and reader as well. Text Exhibits: Convey specific facts or ideas Eliminate errors in interpretation of the information presented Summarize information on previous or subsequent slides Organize large amounts of information Diagrams: Summarize numerical data Draw attention to specific facts Explain trends in underlying data.
Message selected implies one of five types of comparison: Component Item Time series Frequency distribution Correlation. Chart Form Select the graph to best depict the comparison you are trying to make There are several alternative chart forms. Slides should be limited to three or fewer key messages Slides should be organized hierarchically. Logic should flow through slide, from general premises to specific implications Move from easy-to-grasp ideas to hard-to-understand ideas Make logic parallel Select words carefully, know your audience Page These Additional Rules of Thumb Should Be Considered When Writing Slides Graphs and diagrams should be used to convey points where possible Attempt to move beyond basic bullet point slides Think about alternative ways to present information All sources of data, ideas, and quotes should be identified Attributing sources builds credibility for the presentation Sources should be identified with enough detailed to enable specificity if asked Footnotes should be used to provide additional detail or explanation for a point made in the body of the slide Most commonly used to supplement quantitative analysis Including footnotes builds credibility for the presentation Bulleted text outlines are easier to read when written as columns Always ensure consistency of font type, font sizes on a page when possible , table shadings, table style, line and arrow thickness, shadows off-setting, shadow color, font color throughout any document.
Using the Pyramid Involves Checking the Vertical and Horizontal Relationships Ensure that sub-points fit their summary point check vertical relationships. Sub-points must answer the question the summary point raises, amplifying, clarifying or providing context for the summary point The answers to "why" questions are reasons The answers to "how" questions are steps Sub-points must provide necessary and sufficient logical support to show that the summary statement follows from the sub-points In chart documents, exhibits also must support their headlines Class groupings must be properly defined and grouped No misfit ideas - those that are at a different level of abstraction or that do not point to the same conclusion No overlaps confused logic No gaps incomplete thinking Order of the grouping must be validated Opportunities for further grouping must be explored esp.
Storyboard the presentation Focus on developing logic to reach the so what Remember: All of your analysis does not have to be included Draft slide titles to tell the story Create blank slides with titles, fill in exhibit or text when available. Be aware of your audience Identify hot buttons Adapt presentation style to the clients culture e.
These Slide Writing Conventions, with the Pyramid Structure, Will Improve Presentations The Final Thoughts Pyramid Logic Structure enables persuasive, hypothesis-driven presentations to be written A storyboard of each presentation should be created before any slides are written to build the logic for the Pyramid Structure The slide titles should tell the complete story by laying out the horizontal logic of the Pyramid The information included in the body of each slide, as well as the groupings of these slides into sections, should create the vertical logic of the Pyramid Following these slide writing and graph selection rules of thumb will ensure a persuasive, actionable presentation is created.
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Jump to Page. Search inside document. Thus, every written document should be deliberately structured to form a pyramid of ideas. All of your analysis does not have to be included Draft slide titles to tell the story Create blank slides with titles, fill in exhibit or text when available Use the storyboard to drive the presentation Be aware of your audience Identify hot buttons Adapt presentation style to the clients culture e. Documents Similar To Pyramid Principle.
Making the outside Board rnernber an effective participant 4. Sorne principlcs dealing with the selection of Board rnernbers and their tenure 5. Alternate ways for the cornpany to get frorn where it is to where it wants to be in Board and Executive Cornrnittee operations.
Note how much more easily you comprehend the memorandum's purpose and message when it is forced to fit the narrative mold: Consequently, it rnust consider the changes needed to perrnit itself to do so. Specifically, we believe it should: In sum l1ary, the introduction tells the reader, in story form, what he already knows or could reasonably be expected to know about the subject you are discussing, and thus reminds him of the question he has to which he can expect the document to give him an answer.
The story sets forth the Situation within which a Complication developed that triggered the Question to which your document will now give the Answer. Once you state the Answer the point at the top of your pyramid , it will raise a new question in the reader's mind that you will answer on the line below.
The existence of these three substructures-i. Knowing the vertical relationship, you can determine the kind of message the ideas grouped below must convey i. Knowing the. And- most important-knowing the reader's beginning question wiU ensure that all the ideas you do bring together are relevant i.
Naturally, you want to go about applying these insights in an order1y way, and that's what Chapter 3 will tell you how to do. This sense of uncertainty persists despite knowing that the ideas you eventually put down, whatever they be, must end up forming a pyramid. Nevertheless, there is a good deal you do know about your end product that you can build on. To begin with, you know that you will have a sentence at the top of the pyramid that will have a subject and a predicate.
You also know that the subject of that sentence will be the subject of your document. In addition, you know that the sentence will serve as the answer to a question that a 1ready exists in the reader's mind.
And that question will have arisen because of a situation with which the reader is familiar within which a complication developed with which he is also familiar that raised the question that caused you to need to write in the first place. You may even know roughly some of the points you want to make. That is quite a bit to know. You can use this knowledge in building your pyramid ,either by starting at the top and working do vn, or by starting at the bottom and working up.
The first way is generally easier than the second, and so should be tried firs t. You don't want simply to sit down and begin writing the opening paragraph of the introduction, however.
Instead, you want to use the structure of the introductory flow to pull the right points out of your head, one at a time. To do so, 1 suggest you follow the procedure shown in Exhibit 4 and described below. Draw a DOx. This represents the box at the top of your pyramid. Write down in it the subject you are discussing, if you know it. If not, move on to step two. Oecide the Question. Visualize your reader. To whom are you writing, and what question do you want to have answered in his mind about the Subject when you have finished writing?
State the Question, if you know it, or go on to step four.
Next you want to prove that you have the clearest statement of the Question and the Answer that you can formulate at this stage. What is the Complication? F 23 statement about it you can make. What is the first thing you can say about it to the reader that you know he will agree is true-either because he knows it, or because it is historically true and easily checked?
Develop the Complication. Imagine that he nods his head in agreement and says, "Yes, 1 know that, so what?
Something went wrong, perhaps, some problem arose, or some logical discrepancy became apparent. Recheck the Question and AnsuJer. If it does not, then change it to the one it does raise.
Or perhaps you have the wrong Complication, or the wrong Question, and must think again. The purpose of the entire exercise is to make sure you know what Question it is you are trying to answer.
Once you have ihe Question, everything else falls into place relatively easily Let me demonstrate how your thinking would develop by using the technique to rewrite the memorandum shown in Exhibit 5, on the next page. It comes from the Accounting Department of a large soft drinks company in the United States.
When the company's drivers deliver the product to a customer, they send back to the Accounting Department a delivery ticket with a set of code numbers, the date, and the amount of the delivery.
These delivery tickets are the basis of the billing system, which works something like this: For its own accounting purposes, it would like to keep daily track of how the bill is mounting up.
It wants to know if it can't keep the delivery tickets along with each delivery, record them on a computer disk, calculate the total, and then send the disk and its check once a month to the headquarters office of the beverage company In other words, it is proposing a system that would work like this: Robert Salmon Date From: John J. This processing is to bc 3. We have completed our review of this request and our findings are as follows 1. Parent Number b. Outlet Number c. Ticket Number d.
Dollar amount of each ticket e. Delivery Date of each ticket If the Parent and Outlet Numbers are not available from Big Chief, we will supply this information to them from our Customer Master file list.
This information could then be incorporated into the Big Chief system for future ease in the processing of ticket data 2.
Upon completion , the balanced cash dlsk will be processed through the National Accounts System. Had you been he and used the technique in Exhibit 4, here's what would have happened: You would have drawn a box and said to yourself, "What bjcct am 1 discussing? What Qllcstion am 1 answering in the reader's mind about the Subject? Yes 4. Now let me check that that is really the Question and really the Answer by thinking through the introduction.
To do that 1 take the Subject and move up to the L.