Why you should also consider pyramidal presenting

PowerPoint presentations can vary greatly in structure depending on their purpose. If, for example, the presentation of work results is in the foreground, the pyramidal presentation is a good choice. In doing so, the usual communication flow is reversed by starting with the conclusion.

The concept of the pyramidal principle

The Pyramidal Principle is a concept developed by former McKinsey employee Barbara Minto. It is often referred to as the Minto principle. She has formulated it so that it can be used for personal communication, lectures, presentations, letters, reports, or almost any other form of communication.

In the area of presentations, there are interesting application possibilities for this. PowerPoint presentations are mostly similar in structure. Typically, one argument is tied to the next, and at the end of the presentation, a conclusion or end result is presented to the audience. The rough structure consists of introduction – argument 1 – argument 2 – argument 3 etc. – conclusion – end.

Pyramidal presentation

The pyramidal presentation puts the key messages right at the beginning. Crucial findings, results, proposals or measures are communicated to the viewers right at the beginning. These core statements are subsequently substantiated and fleshed out with more and more partial statements. So at the top of this pyramid is the quintessence. Further supporting details form the broadening base one after the other. The resulting structure resembles a pyramid that can theoretically grow downward in width indefinitely.

How big the pyramid becomes depends mainly on the topic, the target group and the time available. In the case of a short keynote presentation, the level of detail may be relatively low. In a final report, the information listed can take up a lot of space. Barbara Minto had developed criteria for the principle in the 1970s, which were later added to. A core statement is supported by further levels of argumentation. For these levels, the so-called GÜTE seal must be fulfilled. This means that the statements must be similar, non-overlapping, accurateand exhaustive.

The application of the pyramidal principle

Presentations of this type are mainly chosen when results are to be presented or discussed and are the focus of attention. Consulting companies are very fond of using this method. The phrase “to make it Minto” is already considered a set phrase in this industry. For example, presentations based on the pyramidal principle are used more frequently in project work. When it comes to decisions or when results are to be discussed intensively, it makes sense to place the results or key statements at the beginning of a presentation.

The pyramidal structure of a presentation offers some advantages for the audience and the presenter. The clear structure enables the essential core statements to be grasped quickly. In this way, you can present complex, confusing content in a way that is easier for the audience to understand. If the core statements are presented right at the beginning, the audience will be able to optimally connect any additional arguments that are added during the presentation with the core statements. The presenter himself has a very clear structure that helps to prepare the presentation without overlooking important aspects.

However, the pyramidal presentation cannot be used optimally for certain tasks. In courses it is not advisable to start with the end result, because here the development of a topic towards the solution should be taught in individual steps. Even with emotionally charged presentations, the end result should not be the first priority of the presentation.

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Dipl.-Wirtsch.-Informatiker Matthias Garten as the expert for multimedia presentations and professional PowerPoint presentations knows about the art of professional slide design. He is an entrepreneur, speaker (TOP 100 Speaker), trainer (TOP 100 Excellence Trainer), multiple book author, presentation coach (presentation training), member of the GSA and Club 55, organizer of the Presentation Conference, Presentation Bootcamp and Presentation Rocket Day. In addition to PowerPoint and presentation training, he inspires and advises companies to present themselves even more effectively and thus stand out from competitors. He is the business owner of the presentation and PowerPoint agency smavicon Best Business Presentations and with his team has created over 15,000 professional PowerPoint presentations for over 150 industries since 1993.