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  • Writer's picturePeter Franklin

What do Pyramids have to do with effective communications?

The need for effective communications

Are you looking to:

· Get more sales contracts for your business.

· More subscribers for your publications.

· More buy-in to your recommendations from external and internal stakeholders in your business.

If so, you need more of the people you communicate with to say “Yes”.

The Pyramid Principle Plus

In the 1980’s a lady Barbara Minto became the first lady partner in McKinsey’s. She was asked to find out why some of their proposals sold and some did not. Why some of their recommendations were accepted and others not.

Her findings were that it was the logic structure of the document that made all the difference. Those documents which had a single central idea – the governing thought - followed by a limited number (3-5) of reasons why that governing thought was true, and each of those reasons supported by a limited number (again 3-5) of pieces of evidence why each of the reasons are true, had a much higher chance of getting their audience to say “Yes” than those which made all the important points - but not in a coherent logical framework.

She wrote up her findings in a book called the “Pyramid Principle” which has become a standard business text for those looking to create compelling communications.

The Pyramid refers to the shape of the logic tree. The top of the tree has the introduction (i) which leads into the governing thought (GT). Underneath, as the width of the pyramid expands, you have the key line (KL) – which contains the reasons why the governing thought is true. At the base of the Pyramid you have all the evidence, called the support logic (SL) for why each of the reasons is true.

Over time this approach has been combined with best practice in managing sales communications. This means recognising that in a business development context each of the reasons why a governing thought is true should be a benefit to the audience of the communication i.e. the sales prospect. This has become known as “Pyramid Thinking Plus” or sometimes “Top-Down Thinking”.

Many of the blue-chip consulting firms and smaller specialist consulting firms, and also corporates, large and small, have adopted the Pyramid Thinking or the Pyramid Thinking Plus approach to make their communications much more effective. My own small specialist consultancy – Enstra Consulting ( uses Pyramid Thinking Plus for all presentations, proposals, reports, and even important emails.

Do you want to make your organisation’s communications more effective?

Start the journey to a more successful future by Googling – Pyramid Thinking Plus

This will:

· Expand your knowledge of what the approach entails.

· Convince you that the principles can be learned in a day – but that mastery takes some practice. But the good news is that every time you practice not only do your skills improve but so does the quality of the communication you are working on – a win-win.

· Confirm that it does provide the ability for you to elicit a “Yes” more often.

· Point you at the resources that can help you undertake the journey.

If you want to reap the benefits of more effective communications Google “Pyramid Thinking Plus” now.

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