What Is The Minto Pyramid Principle And How Does It Improve Communication?

What Is The Minto Pyramid Principle And How Does It Improve Communication?
Summary: Isn't it annoying when you attend a presentation or professional discussion and you wait until the end to hear the key information? This is where the Minto pyramid principle comes into play and offers a much quicker way to communicate your main points.

Introducing The Minto Pyramid Principle

Productive and comprehensible communication is key when pitching your ideas to busy executives who have limited time in their schedules to listen to you. This is particularly necessary for remote professionals, who must retain their leadership's attention through video calls and online presentations. The core characteristics of the Minto pyramid principle can be applied in every form of communication, whether you are writing an email or talking to a colleague face-to-face. Instead of starting with the details and the main argument points, professionals begin with the conclusion and the ultimate goal of the presentation. They understand that too many specifics can bore listeners and make them lose interest and focus. Starting from the end and walking audiences toward the beginning, you can grab everyone's interest early on and communicate your points quickly and efficiently.

The Structure Of A Minto Pyramid

Start From The Conclusion

Also referred to as BLUF (bottom line up front), this step goes against everything we've been taught about communicating. You start by presenting your key takeaway, suggestion, message, or conclusion. This way, your audience doesn't have to wait until the end to hear your main points. Not only do you grab their attention quickly, but it's also much easier to persuade your colleagues by presenting your collected data during the rest of your presentation. However, don't just blurt out your bottom line. Structure it by first establishing the scene and the problem you're facing. Ask everyone how they would solve this issue before giving your unique answer, which is your conclusion.

Mention The Key Points

The next step in the Minto pyramid principle is mentioning the key points that helped you draw your conclusion. They should be short, too, so you don't lose people's attention. You may add bullet points and explain each one with just a few words. You can probably make many arguments asserting your final decision. However, stick to a few of them. Ideally, you should keep the ones you can prove without awakening any doubt.

State The Details And Data

After you've expressed the essence of your presentation, it's time to go deeper and showcase your research, including case studies, data, and figures. This information further solidifies your opinion and aims to persuade even the most skeptical members of your audience. It's better to divide your information using the MECE framework (mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive). For instance, you may categorize your findings based on age and other demographics. While this stage is the most content-heavy, it should not be the main focus of your presentation. It is complementary to the other two stages, and can even be omitted if you've already presented your key points comprehensibly.

Why It's Beneficial On An Executive Level

Enhanced Communication

When you put your recommendations at the end of a presentation, your audience might have already lost interest and feel like your arguments are weak. Executives typically participate in various presentations daily and don't have any time to waste. By following the Minto pyramid principle, you present your ideas concisely and comprehensibly, making a unique impact. Additionally, when you go backward you can research your subject in detail and be prepared for any question. When you are well-prepared for a presentation, you are calm and you can communicate your message clearly and convincingly.

Consulting Case Interviews

In the consulting business, professionals are required to communicate their concepts to clients and stakeholders clearly and coherently. The Minto pyramid principle allows them to break down complex information into easily digested pieces, so nonexperts can understand them. First, it helps you organize your thoughts and material. Then, it allows you to stand out from the crowd by delivering a high-quality and user-friendly presentation. Moreover, as you try to support your own suggestions, you locate gaps that must be bridged. Therefore, you strengthen your arguments and ensure they are not lacking credibility.

Utilizing Horizontal And Vertical Logic

You may know the thinking and arguments behind your conclusions and decisions, but your audience is not aware of them. When you organize your logic pyramid, treat the summit as your final thoughts. In the middle of the pyramid, identify the reasons why your decision is justified. Support each reason and segment with various data and analytics to make your point believable. This way, you use both vertical and horizontal logic. The first refers to the narrative you create to support your main conclusion, by using cemented facts. The latter is based on the deductive reasoning you utilize to validate your final idea, with specific instances.

Example Of Applying The Minto Pyramid Principle

Let's say a company decides to increase its social media marketing budget by 10%. The marketing team informs all employees via email and mentions their decision from the beginning. Then, they proceed to briefly mention why they came to that decision. These key points can be general, representing the entire market. For instance, they may notice how social media and content marketing improve sales and visibility across businesses in their sector. At the bottom of the Minto pyramid principle, they include the detailed data that drove them to their conclusion. Maybe they ran a few experiments and noticed how their social media ad campaigns had higher conversion rates compared to traditional PR campaigns. This is where they mention statistics and numbers that further support their decision.

Crucial Tips To Remember

Creating a concise presentation based on the Minto pyramid principle may be hard for some professionals who are used to creating detailed lectures. One thing you should remember is to never use full sentences and instead add smaller phrases that encapsulate the core message. This tactic makes it easier for audiences to stay with you. You also need to describe one idea at a time and not overcrowd your slides. Be consistent and brief and don't overexplain your points. Sometimes extra words create more confusion rather than enhancing understanding. Less is more, which is precisely the motto for your slides' style where you should refrain from adding bright colors and varied fonts. On the other hand, on handouts, you can add more detail and play with the style. Additionally, remember that business presentations may need to last anywhere between 10 and 45 minutes, preferably going on for at least 20 minutes. Whatever the duration, engage your audience by asking questions, letting them disagree, or asking for clarification.


One common mistake people make when following the Minto pyramid principle is inserting too many main ideas and conclusions. This makes the presentation cluttered and doesn't provide enough clarity for each idea, resulting in confusion. Also, many professionals forget to highlight and emphasize the most crucial pieces of information. This important omission weakens their ideas' credibility and disorients the audience. Therefore, it's pivotal to keep practicing your presentation, record yourself, and try to think like you're hearing this lecture for the first time. You may also ask for feedback and locate any gaps or confusing points that take away from the success of your work.