The Minto Pyramid Principle: A Framework For Exceptional Writing

When readers visit your content, they will try to consume it quickly. Your audience expects you to get to the point immediately in your article. 70% of people glance through the blog nowadays, and you only have 10-20 seconds to grab their attention. If you fail at that, these folks will stop reading and move to the next piece of writing. 

So, how can we capture an individual’s curiosity for the entire duration of our writing? With the help of the Minto Pyramid Principle. It will make your ideas engaging and fitting.

What is the Minto Pyramid Principle?

Pyramid Principle: Writing

The Minto Pyramid Principle will help you gain and hold your audience’s attention. Barbara Minto conceptualized this idea during her days in McKinsey & Company in the 70s.

This Minto Pyramid Principle logic focuses on actionable points and supports them through underlying arguments and data. 

It’s about getting straight to the point by creating a compelling story that is easier to understand and remember. The Minto Pyramid Principle is put into action by structuring points and arguments after the thesis statement has been introduced. Mainly, the information which is available subsequently branches off to the specific details in a more clear manner.


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How to Use The Pyramid Principle to Convince People? 

The pyramid structure has four parts. 

  • Situation
  • Complication
  • Question 
  • Answer 

Start by understanding your audience. Arrange the entire information in a way that they can rapidly process. Ponder the introduction of the story. Remember, good ones don’t just dump the details on the readers. They begin by carefully describing the situation and creating a mental picture in people’s minds.     

First, introduce the complication to highlight the conflict, the problem solving, or the opportunity that affects the situation. After that, pose a question to show the decision at hand. In the end, conclude by giving the answer or recommendation, which will be the resolution. That’s how the story will have a happy ending. 

I will share an example to demonstrate how the Pyramid principle will look like in actio

  1. Situation 

    Here is an example, for years, X company has seen a steady boost in yearly revenue and profitability. 

    With the above sentence, you have established a familiarity with the company. There is a positive atmosphere, and the stage for the story is set.

  2. Complication 

    In the current quarter, the profits of X business fell flat, that too for the first time in its entire history. 

    Here, you have presented the dilemma immediately to everyone present in the room. It will produce a sense of urgency among the executives, prompting them to listen and take action based on upcoming resolutions.  

  3. Questions 

    How can we boost the profitability of the X business? 

    In the pyramid principle, complications logically lead to questions. The problems should be presented in a to-the-point manner, which also makes them easier to understand. 

    The questions need to be simple and ensure that it is the right one. Conduct a thorough analysis before posing it in front of the executives.

  4. Answers 

    The answers should not be a one-size-fits-all solution. They need to be mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive, also known as MECE in business documents jargon. 

    In mutually exclusive terms, every component is well-defined, and they don’t extend over each other. You can address every part on its own without concern over other ones. Collectively exhaustive is the inclusion of every possible answer.   

    For X business documents, here is a simple answer. To boost profits, the executives can take two steps:

    • Increase revenues 
    • Reduce costs 

    Observe how neither option is overlapping with the other. Both are mutually exclusive. Also, there is no other way to boost profits, so they are also exhaustive.     

    If the answers lack mutual exclusiveness, people may get confused and ask for clarification. Not being completely exhaustive may lead to executives pointing out what is missing in your solutions. They may share other options that you forgot to take into account. 

    In such situations, you will lose their attention. The presentation will end up as a disaster.  

How the Minto Pyramid Principle Simplifies Complex Decisions?

Crafting a coherent story is essential if you want everyone to remain focused during presentations. Hence, answers need to be structured into accurate descriptions and scopes.    

People won’t be able to make the right decisions if you provide them with 25 options. Three to five answers to the question is the ideal choice. Humans can hold about seven items in their short-term memory and might be even less for some folks. Three to five choices will give you the room to be wrong on one or two options. 

The Minto Pyramid Principle also lets you share information in bite-size morsels. Fit it on a slide, chapter, or in a section of a report that the upper management can quickly go through. It is the key principle for better communication to the people and thorough analysis of the knowledge.  

Why is the Minto Pyramid Principle so Effective?  

Structure of Minto Pyramid Principle

The Minto Pyramid Principle uses vertical relationships, which makes it very effective. 

Vertical relationships present an idea, let the readers process it, and then share answers and supporting evidence. The top of the pyramid is the statement, and the supporting base of it provides answers to the questions that arise from the statement.    

Pyramid’s conclusion will not leave the readers hanging because every information in the base pyramid will reinforce the ones above it. To maximize the clarity of your writing, you must showcase your ideas in a proper sequence


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BAccording to Barbara Minto, our mind automatically sorts information into different pyramidal groupings. The Minto pyramid principle logic will help you present your thinking in a better way. It will make your ideas click with the readers, that too with minimum effort and maximum effectiveness.
Here are the three rules that one must obey in building a pyramid draft.
  • An idea at any pyramid level must always be a summary of the ones grouped below them.
  • Ideas in each grouping must always be of a similar kind.
  • Ideas in every grouping should be in a logical order
It has a structure because readers can only absorb one sentence at a time. Hence, they will assume that ideas that appear together logically belong to each other. Each box in the pyramid structure represents an idea.

The pyramid principles provide the following advantages:

  • More efficient writing because ideas and thoughts are organized in advance
  • Reading strategies get incorporated into the text, which helps the reader
  • Consistent quality
  • Greater persuasion


Now that you understand how to capture the people’s attention to your blog posts and internal wiki articles, it’s time to pick a platform through which you can create your own knowledge base platform to share articles, how-to guides, faqs, and documents.

CloudTutorial is a leading-edge knowledge base software that is mainly designed and developed for you to reduce customer support tickets by providing solutions to their questions in real-time. 

With our knowledge management software, you can create different types of documents like FAQ pages, help desks, SOPs, and knowledge bases for your customers. Creating an engaging piece of writing and publishing it with ease with our knowledge base platform is easier than anything. So, you can start your FREE trial with us today and know how it benefits your business.

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