Barbara Minto, the first lady partner at McKinsey’s, and author of the seminal book the Pyramid Principle, outlined the need for presenting proposals and recommendations in the form of a nested hierarchy of logic if they were to maximise their chances of success.


This thinking approach is also sometimes known as "Top Down Thinking" or the "Minto" approach.


Many of us at Compelling Propositions have had the good fortune to be trained in this methodology, and are now both expert practitioners and advocates of the approach. Over the last 10 years, between us we have deployed the Pyramid Thinking Plus approach with our clients and trained many of them in the discipline. We have augmented the discipline by adding a focus on "Benefits" - what your audience gets from your product or service. This is the "Plus" in Pyramid Thinking Plus. 

Should you learn the discipline of Pyramid Thinking Plus?

By embracing Pyramid Thinking Plus you will become more successful.

This is because you will bring your stakeholders with you more effectively. Which will mean:

  • You will get more sales from customers and prospects

  • More regulatory approvals

  • More business case acceptances

and more motivated staff - since they will see their success levels increase.

Read what some of our clients have to say:

James Harvey, Managing Partner - Economic Insight

"The Pyramid Thinking Plus training we commissioned for our new recruits was extremely well received. They found the mix of theory and practical group work gave them a sound grounding in why and how to deploy the Pyramid Thinking Plus approach. In particular they welcomed the individual mentoring sessions on day 2 to go through a communication logic for something they were actually working on in real life. They found this an excellent way of taking the theory and putting it into practice."

Neill Ryan, CEO , VRM Tech

"We recognised that we needed to make our propositions clearer, more compelling for our potential buyers. The decision was to try Pyramid Thinking as the way to structure our thoughts, both individually and as a group. Peter Franklin and Ian Campbell ran a one-day training course for our top team and business developers. They got the approach across well, and made the subject entertaining. In addition, they have been mentoring us on the first few propositions we have been developing using this new approach which has been a great help in embedding the approach for the team. I am very pleased with the end result, a great improvement on what we had before – much more focused on what the customer needs than what we do from a technology point of view. It has changed our thinking for the better."

Andy Bradley, MD, Delta Energy and Environment


"Delta-ee is a knowledge based research and consulting company specialising in ‘new energy’.  It’s critical for us to communicate the key messages coming from our work clearly and with impact, as the ‘new energy’ landscape is extremely complex and our clients often have little time to read long reports.  Pyramid Thinking has provided Delta-ee with the framework and principles to structure both our consultancy proposals and our research reports, and is a tool we are now consistently using throughout our business.  It helps us before, during and after projects by:  

  • Helping us to more precisely define the scope of work, identify what is required to fully address client needs and to develop winning consultancy bids

  • With a better understanding at the beginning of each project, delivery can be planned and managed more effectively

  • Upon delivery, clients benefit from the clarity of the reporting, which also enables others in the Delta-ee team to quickly acquire the learnings and cross-sell

The combination of engaging workshops and thoughtful mentoring advice provided by Peter & Ian has enabled our team to quickly learn and start applying the Pyramid Principles, and we are already seeing the benefits of our investment’.

Bill Hodson, Business Development Director, Frazer-Nash Consultancy

"We have been gradually adopting Pyramid Thinking to support our business development activities in Frazer-Nash over recent years and it has been a significant help to our ongoing growth. Our bids are now routinely built around the clear and compelling logic that the discipline of the technique provides. Adopting Pyramid Thinking has had a direct impact on our win rates.

Many of our staff have been trained by Peter Franklin of Compelling Propositions, who is himself both an expert practitioner and trainer of the principles of Pyramid Thinking (also sometimes called Top-Down Thinking). Feedback from the courses he has run over the years for us shows that he achieves a good mix between communicating the theory, getting delegates to put the theory into practice and providing an entertaining and stimulating day of learning."

Your choice of learning delivery

Choose from face to face, train the trainer, and e-learning for a learning approach that best suits you and your organisation.  

Compelling Propositions

(Pyramid Thinking Plus)

23 Seaton Close, London SW15 3TJ, UK

Tel: +44 (20) 8789 3216

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