Pyramid principle – Efficiency

Smart Structuring Methode Pyramid principle
Categorie Efficiency
Short overview Whether it is the structuring of a presentation, the arrangement of benefit arguments or the positioning of comprehensive product market launches, the pyramid principle is an all-purpose instrument. Often the arguments are already available, but the structure – like a recipe – is missing in order to distinguish essential from details, strong target group motivators from internal wishful thinking. The simple structure of a pyramid provides a clear assignment of the importance of arguments and thus supports a clear separation and focus in further processing.
Developed by McKinsey-staff member Barbara Minto
Online Reference
Book Barbara Minto: Das Prinzip der Pyramide. Pearson Studium, München u.a. 2005, ISBN 3-8273-7189-9.

The methodology should include the following four steps of structuring:

  1. Core statement
    The core statement tries to bring the essential aspect of a project to the point. It is the central starting point for all further aspects.
  2. Support level
    Below the core statement every pyramid needs a solid base. Experience has shown that these are 3-5 supporting arguments or pillars, all of which contribute to the core statement.
  3. Structure of the support level
    The classic structure of the support level is the argument group. The supporting arguments support the core statement. Especially in case of dissent or skepticism, the argumentation chain is particularly useful. The core statement is first supported by the description of the situation, followed by the commentary or the complication relevant for the subject’s action and the conclusion.
  4. Quality verification
    The respective statements made should bear the quality verification: Uniform, without overlap, accurate and exhaustive.
Best usage for… complex projects that require a simple but necessarily clear structure. Sorting with an excessive number of arguments to concentrate on the essential. Also good to use in a group via moderation board for common understanding.
Weak result when… no fruitful basis for logically constructed argumentation, no “hidden” agenda available.
Template The pyramid principle does not require a fixed form. However, the principle of goodness requires some practice. Guided elaboration e.g. on
Needed time span Preparation time from 1 hour depending on the project
Type of presentation Simple documentation in presentation applications or argumentation paper, whiteboard, moderation board or flipchart.
Size of group 1-n

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