Many people believe public speaking is one of the most stressful parts of work life. But for many employees, writing is often equally, if not more, difficult.
They spend hours trying to craft the perfect email or project report. Only to toss it out and start all over again.
But writing doesn’t have to be so stressful. All you need to do is structure your thoughts before you write.
Structured writing is much easier to read and understand. Be it literature, academic writing, professional writing or even your journal, structure always enhances the reader’s experience with the written word.
The ability to structure writing is even more important in the modern workplace.
Written communication is an integral part of work. You need to write memos, emails, proposals, reports and minutes of meetings. One way to structure your thoughts and ideas is to use the Pyramid Principle—part of Harappa’s Writing Proficiently course.
The Pyramid Principle was developed by former McKinsey consultant Barbara Minto as a blueprint for effective writing. Let’s look at how the Pyramid Principle helps logically structure writing and present ideas to make an impact.
How To Structure Writing: The Pyramid Principle
If you’ve ever written a report in school or university, you must be familiar with the report writing structure. A report should have a beginning, middle and end with a narrative flow tying all elements together.
Every organization has its own formal report structure. But three aspects of the Pyramid Principle are most useful for a report writing structure. They are:
The Governing Idea Or Key Thoughts
Begin with the tip of the pyramids which contains the main message or governing idea for the reader. A report’s writing structure should have the governing idea right at the top. Let’s take a business report as an example of a report structure. When you’re writing a report for your manager, your governing idea should tell them the purpose and intention of the report. Let’s say you have a report on auto sector sales. Begin with the broad conclusion on whether sales have gone up or down.
You add more detail as you down the pyramid. The next section of your report writing structure comprises supporting arguments for your governing idea. A critical aspect to report writing structure is providing the reasons that led you to the key thought. Take the report on auto sales, for instance. Once you have established the main idea about whether sales have risen or fallen, you then write about the reasons for the sales numbers.
Examples Or Corroborative Evidence
After the main conclusion and the reasons, the next step in a report writing structure is to provide examples to back your supporting arguments. This adds credibility to your argument. You should structure writing in a way that’s sound, holistic and accurate. To go back to the auto sales example, you can now add more details such as overall figures and specific company sales figures.
An engaging and impactful report writing structure must comprise each of the three aspects of the Pyramid Principle. Harappa Education’s Writing Proficiently course will help you refine your writing skills for success at work.
You can go a step further and elevate your formal report structure by learning how to write with brevity. Core concepts such as the PREP (Point-Reason-Evidence-Point) Model will help you get your point across by avoiding redundancy.
Sticking to a pattern is the hardest part of writing because our thoughts tend to run in multiple directions. But with practice and experience, you can structure writing compellingly and creatively.
Explore topics such as Report Writing, Types of Reporting, Business Communication, 7 C’s of Communication & Elements of Communication from our Harappa Diaries blog section and learn to write proficiently.
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