Ascendis Blog

Improving Communication Efficiency Using the Pyramid Principle

If your organization’s team members and leaders don’t already utilize the Pyramid Principle, you ought to consider adopting it to improve communication efficiency. 

Nearly half a century after the concept was first introduced by McKinsey’s Barbara Minto, businesses continue to identify communication as a challenge and opportunity for improvement in the workplace. Research from Salesforce has uncovered that as much as 86 percent of team leaders and members believe poor communication is the root cause of workplace failures. 

The Pyramid Principle is a communication framework for presenting complex information in a clear, concise way - particularly to upper-level managers or stakeholders who have limited time on their hands. Under this “answer-first” framework, a team member provides a very specific answer to a question at hand, then elaborates with a few key themes and points - as opposed to building a case in detail before reaching a conclusion.

Taking this approach allows the listener to grasp the presenter’s main point right away, while keeping the nitty gritty details on the sidelines until needed. This principle has been widely accepted by leading organizations, and has arguably become even more important over time as technology has reduced our attention span.

In addition to verbal communication, the principle can also be applied to written communication. Consider, for example, the article you’re currently reading, and how it was organized according to the Pyramid Principle. The article opens with the ‘answer’, elaborates with a few key themes, and concludes with an option to “learn more” if you want more information. 

Perhaps this structure captured your attention, and maybe even persuaded you to bring in the Pyramid Principle to your organization.

To learn more, contact the Ascendis Leadership Academy to take the Organizational Leadership Skills Profile. Please contact Sue Drake at for an overview of the Profile and ways in which it may be used in your organization.