What can we learn from pyramids about improving communication and writing proposals?
Well, nothing really.
However, Barbara Minto an ex-McKinsey consultant did write a book a few years ago called the Pyramid Principle, which summarised a really straight forward way of structuring your proposals, pitches, arguments etc
Why is this useful? Ever written an email or a presentation or an investment proposal or a pitch to a customer and when you have read it back to yourself it never made as much sense as it did when you heard it in your head?
Me too. That’s why I found her approach useful.
There’s a lot more to it in the book but the essence of structuring winning pitches is to set them up in the following way:
- Situation – this is the background piece where you tell the reader or the listener in story form what you you already understand from her. This checks your understanding and makes sure that you have been listening or not. Also, makes sure that your proposal is not all about you and focuses on them.
- Complication – then we come to the bit where you describe the reason why the current situation has gone from being stable to being more challenging and, possibly, why you might have been called to take a look at this particular problem.
- Question or Analysis – this is then the part when you define the scope of how you can help, the investment required (time, money, resources etc) and what needs to be done to effect that.
- Answer or Results – finally, this is where you can define the expected outcomes of your solution.
Of course, there are other frameworks that you can use but I have found this one, particularly, useful and effective. Further, what I have found is that this way of framing a problem can be used in many situations and has helped me a number of times and in different situations over the years.
Could this structure help you in your role and to help you improve your communication, whether it is pitching for new investment, speaking to a new or existing customer or another situation?
I hope so. Let me know how you get on with it.
Thanks to getye1 for the image