The Pyramid Principle — every entrepreneur should use this tool

What is the Pyramid Principle and why does it matter?

  • Effective communication is essential for the success of any business
  • To improve communication you need a structured and logical approach
  • This refined approach will be critical to effectively pitching to potential investors in the most impactful way possible
  • The Pyramid Principle is an excellent structuring tool for communication that should be used by entrepreneurs
  • The concept is widely used by management consultants and was developed by Barbara Minto, an ex-Mckinsey consultant

This methodology for structured communication focuses on:

  • 1) Start with your key takeaway first
  • 2) Group and summerise supporting arguments under this point
  • 3) Keep all supporting ideas and arguments logically ordered

Pyramid Principle Diagram

How to start using the pyramid principle

Let’s dig a little deeper so you can apply the Pyramid Principle in your next written or verbal communication. This will take practice, but once you are familiar with the tool it can be applied to most forms of communication.

1) Start with the key takeaway first

  • What is the one thing an investor should take away from this slide / email / business plan?

Don’t waste time, just get to the point. The Pyramid Principle uses a ‘top-down’ structure that can seem counterintuitive at first, but it will make the communication more memorable by cutting through the noise and emphasising that key point.

Implementation:

  • What is the slide, email or section of this business plan trying to say?
  • If you could only have one articulately written sentence, what would it be?

Distil the most important point. This may require a quick brainstorm or several re-iterations of text. This is the starting point that all ideas and supporting arguments support.

2) Grouping and summarising supporting arguments under this point

Now justify the ‘key takeaway’ with supporting ideas and arguments. Having one point and supporting it makes it more memorable, persuasive and impactful.

Note: Do not overload slides with text. It may be more appropriate to justify the key point verbally or with short bullet points on a slide. By contrast, a business plan should be more detailed and it should expand on the key points in detail.

Implementation:

  • Brainstorm all required supporting arguments
  • Group them based on their importance or context
  • Drill down only as far as you need to go
  • If using slides, it is often best to only drill down one level and keep additional supporting data in the appendix or for verbal delivery

The main point here is that you have started with your key message first, and now you are supporting it. Don’t get bogged down in trying to think up multiple sub-arguments as often they won’t be required. The tool is flexible.

3) Keeping it logical

Once you have drafted your ideas, it is important to review them to ensure they are logically ordered.

Implementation:

  • Do the ideas/arguments belong together?
  • Are they of the same level of importance?
  • Do they follow a logical structure?

Conclusion

The Pyramid Principle is a methodology, developed by Barbara Minto, for structured communication that focuses on starting communication with one main point, followed by supporting arguments in a logical order.

It can be applied to almost all types of communication and will help structure your investor communication.

Looking to explore this concept in more detail? Barbara’s book can be found here. Visit our resources section for other books we love.

If you are looking to improve your investor pitch why not book a Zoom call with us today.

Pitch Smarter. Raise money faster.

Originally featured: https://pitchhive.com/entrepreneur-startup-pitch-pyramid-principle-barbara-minto/

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