Minto-Pyramid: Taking Effective Communication to the Next Level

Laura Graichen

Thumbnail for the Minto-Pyramid
VIDEO With english subtitles

In an era of information overload and short attention spans, it is crucial, especially in the workplace, to convey messages clearly and concisely. We present to you the Minto-Pyramid, a proven method to communicate important messages quickly and effectively.

Whether you are writing an email, delivering a presentation, or conveying important information, applying the Minto-Pyramid can help you transmit your messages in a comprehensible and persuasive manner.

The Minto-Pyramid (or the pyramid-principle) is a communication concept designed to convey specific information to the recipient as quickly and clearly as possible. It is named after Barbara Minto, a former McKinsey employee who developed the pyramid-principle in the 1960s.

The idea behind it is that by structuring your messages, such as emails, speeches, presentations, or any other form of communication, you lead with the core message. This way, you enable the recipients of your message to quickly and easily grasp the information.

We will show you how the Minto-Pyramid is structured and how you can apply it to your everyday work:

1.Start with Your Key Statement

Making a good first impression is crucial for capturing your audience's attention. Therefore, place your insights, statements, recommendations, or conclusions at the beginning of your communication.

This approach is also known as "BLUF," an acronym for "bottom line up front." Originating from the military, this principle has now found its way into the business world.

By presenting your key statement at the beginning, you enable your readers or listeners to immediately understand your main point.

2. Support Your Key Statement with Key Information

Once you have captured your audience's attention, it is important to support your key statement with the most important arguments.

Focus on the main arguments - brevity is key. Therefore, you should provide a concise and precise answer to the "why" behind your key statement. Clear and persuasive arguments help your readers or listeners to better understand and accept your message.

3. Address less Important Details

At this point, your audience has already received all the essential information and can react accordingly. Now, you can address less important details.

For example, present additional information, facts, evidence, figures, or results that may be of interest to your audience and contribute to your key statement. However, these detailed pieces of information should not be the main focus of your communication but rather serve as a supplement.

Minto pyramid according to Barbara Minto with the levels key message, key arguments and detailed information

Example: Applying the Minto-Pyramid in Practice

To give you a better understanding of how to apply the Minto-Pyramid, let's look at an example.

Suppose you want to present the results of a customer survey and provide recommendations to your supervisor via email. Structured according to the Minto-Pyramid, the email would look as follows:

Subject: Recommendation for improving the search function of our online story

Dear Mrs. Muller,

Based on the results of my customer survey, I recommend that we overhaul the search function of our online store.

My survey revealed that our customers are having difficulties navigating the shop as our offerings cannot be narrowed down or filtered.

For this result, I conducted telephone interviews with 200 customers who placed only one order within the last 12 months.

Please find my complete report attached!

I wish you lots of success throughout your further decisions, and I am available for any questions you may have.

Best regards,
[Your Name]

As you can see, we have applied the pyramid-principle:

  1. Conclusion: The online store needs to be more user-friendly. 
  2. Key arguments: Customers are having difficulty navigating.
  3. Detailed information: 200 customers were surveyed.

In Summary: Getting to the Point in a Quick and Effective Manner

In summary, the Minto-Pyramid is an effective method to make communication clearer, more understandable and to get to the point faster. It not only helps your audience but also presents you as a strong communicator.

Whether in the business world, academic settings, or everyday life, applying the Minto-Pyramid can improve your communication and make your voice heard.


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Laura Graichen

Laura Graichen is Product Marketing Manager at Masterplan. She is responsible for the market positioning of our platform and occasionally gets in front of the camera for our tutorials and Masterplan Shorts.

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