I recently started reading the Minto Principle and wanted to share a brief story about how I have benefited from the first 100 pages of the book and recommend the book to other community members.  I was not sure what to expect when I ordered the book so I thought I could provide a quick overview of how I have applied the principles of the book.

I work as an in-house attorney and each of us were recently asked to provide a 15 minute overview to the highest level of company about our responsibilities and how we support the overall strategy of the company.  As a result of reading the Minto Principle I recognized the purpose of the meeting was not because someone woke up and wondered to themselves what everyone in our group does, rather there is a question in the audience's mind.  I applied the principles the following way:

Topic: Discuss how the individual attorneys support aspects of the business

Major Question from the Audience (Unstated): Is there a better or cheaper way to provide legal support to the business?

Desired Conclusion: No, the group is organized to prioritize the most important company strategies and I am the right person to provide support to my areas of the business.

Major Premises Necessary to Reach My Desired Conclusion: 1) The areas of the company I support are important enough to warrant devoting an in-house attorney to provide support; 2) The level of legal advise and business knowledge I bring to my clients exceeds other available options, either internally or from outside law firms.

After I went through this exercise I was able to tailor my presentation to provide support and evidence for my two major premises.  After organizing my presentation to reinforce the  two major premises, combined with other suggestions from the Mark and Mike, I was very successful!

SamBeroz's picture

I'm in the middle of The Pyramid Principle right now and I agree that my writing has already benefited. As directed, I've been trying to structure my reasoning to best suit understanding by the reader. Providing context upfront and linking my aguments requires more effort on my part but results in a visibly better product. I've been so eager to put what I've been learning into practice that I volunteered to write up a large section of a report to the customer. These are throughly reviewed and I was very pleased to receive only minor comments on my portion. - Sam

TNoxtort's picture

I read it a year ago and benefitted a lot in writing propopsals.

On the other hand, I struggled a bit with using it when trying to write scientific reports when the reader does not have as much information.Or when reading advice that says to start by saying, "The purpose of this report is to...." I look at Minto's book at least once a week, and try to incorporate it, since that's the way I'll get better.