The Pyramid Principle of Communication

One of the most powerful and frequently used frameworks in business communication is the Pyramid Principle.

It is very effective especially with the senior management of a company.

It is a TOP-DOWN as well as very DIRECT mode of communication tailored for executives who are busy and want to get down to business asap.

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So what is this framework?

See below:

Let’s understand this with an illustration.

Lets say you just organized a big ON-BOARDING INDUCTION TRAINING program for the new hires in your company.

You went about co-ordinating with HR, the different trainers from the various business departments as well the new hires to organize this.

The calendars needed to be matched.

The content of the training needed to be finalized.

The approvals for break-time snacks was done in time.

The meeting rooms were booked in advance.

Overall, it was a big success.

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The average score was around 4.5/5 for the different training sessions.

This is the highest score ever received in an on-boarding induction training program at your Firm.

A few days later, your manager approaches you to understand ‘HOW DID IT GO?’

So its your big moment to shine.

The question is how do you COMMUNICATE this to your SUPER-BUSY manager.

Well, most of us would start with the details i.e. the planning that was required, etc.

In fact, we should NOT start this way.

If you were to follow the PYRAMID PRINCIPLE, your response to the question could be something like this

Manager: How did it go?

You: It was a great success.

[Pause-Aside] Don’t say a word more. Let your manager probe if he is interested to know more.

You have provided a very DIRECT answer to his question.

Manager: Why do you say so?

You: The overall feedback was 4.5 / 5 which is the highest ever in our company in an ONBOARDING training.

[Pause-Aside] Don’t say a word more. Let your manager probe if he is interested to know more.

Manager: That’s wonderful. What made it so successful?

You: We did three things quite well.

One, we co-ordinated the calendars so that all trainers were available. There was not a single NO-SHOW from the trainers.

Two, the content was refreshing and up-to date. All the trainers had spent a good time on keeping the content relevant to the new hires.

Three, on a lighter note, the new hires also appreciated snacks at the break time which were available.

So see, how you managed to avoid the details to be put at the end only when the manager asked for it.

This is the core of the Pyramid Principle.

We do not provide un-necessary details as long as we don’t need to.

Be very direct.

And concise in your communication with senior audience.

So graphically put, the above conversation would like below:

Does this make sense? Let us know what you think!

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