Build more effective and clear communication with the Minto Pyramid

Using the Minto Pyramid Principle can help you communicate more effectively, save time and effort, impress your audience, and stand out from the crowd.

The Minto Pyramid Principle is a framework developed by Barbara Minto, a former McKinsey consultant, in the 1970s. The principle is designed to help individuals structure their communication in a clear and effective way.

The framework is based on the idea that any communication should start with an explicit and concise main idea or conclusion, which is then supported by a series of arguments, each supported by evidence or data. These arguments are then broken down into sub-points, which are also supported by further evidence or data.

pyramid principle minto

Whether you are giving a presentation, writing an email, or preparing a report, the Pyramid principle can help you get your message across effectively in workplace communication.

How to use it

The framework is based on a hierarchy of ideas, with each idea building on the one before it to create a persuasive argument. The hierarchy consists of three levels:

  1. The top level: This is the main idea or conclusion that you want to communicate. It should be a single sentence that summarizes your message. The top level sets the stage for the supporting arguments and evidence that follow.
  2. The middle level: This level consists of the supporting arguments that build a case for supporting your main idea. Each argument should be a self-contained idea that supports the top level, and in its turn, is also supported by evidence or data.
  3. The bottom level: This level consists of the evidence or data for each of the supporting arguments. The evidence should be specific and relevant to the argument it supports, and should be presented in a clear and organized way.

By structuring your communication this way, you can create a clear and persuasive argument that will enable your audience to understand and remember your message.


Here is an example of how the Minto Pyramid Principle could be applied to a business presentation.

Main goal: expand our product line to increase revenue.
Our current product line is reaching saturation in the market.Market research shows that there is a demand for complementary products in our target market.Expanding our product line will allow us to capture additional market share and increase revenue.
Sales data shows that our current products are reaching saturation in the market.Focus group research shows that customers are interested in complementary products.Analysis of competitors’ product lines shows that there is an opportunity for us to expand our offers.

In this example, the top level presents the main idea or conclusion – that the company should expand its product line to increase revenue. The middle level provides supporting arguments for this idea, while the bottom level presents evidence or data to support each of the arguments. By presenting the information in this structured way, the presenter can make a clear and persuasive argument for why expanding the product line is a good idea.


While the Minto Pyramid Principle provides a useful framework for structuring communication, it is important to remember that effective communication requires more than just following a certain formula. In order to actually communicate effectively, you need to have a range of skills, including active listening, empathy, clarity of expression, and the ability to convey your message to your audience. By developing these skills, you can ensure that your communication is not only well-structured, but also engaging, persuasive, and appropriate for the situation.

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