University teaching has certainly come on since my day when we had lectures with few opportunities to practice real world skills such as presenting and writing reports.
With the Chemical Engineering course at Birmingham University they get to write six reports in the first year, four presentations including two of the reports and presentations as a group. With the group work they treat it like real consulting engagement with a team producing a report by a deadline. They are training them to work in the real world which really does re-enforce why they are ranked second by the Guardian for Chemical Engineering.
They do teach them how to format a presentation and there are a some excellent books such as Say It With Presentations that cover this well. Unfortunately, like many businesses they don’t teach them the most effective way to structure a presentation or report. The Pyramid Principle from Barbara Minto was first written over forty years ago and defines a logical way of writing reports and presentations. The technique first came from McKinsey and Company but it is now used by many management consulting companies including IBM Global Business Services. I have been using this approach for the past 14 years which has proven most effective in getting across the key ideas in presentations, emails and reports.
Getting any student to sit down and read a book describing the theory of Pyramid Logic and then apply it to presentations and reports is not an easy task. So I wrote a presentation using the principles that can be read very quickly with some of my own hints and tips in using the method. I hope someone finds this useful in their work.
Note: If you buy the book, buy the latest edition and not the third edition you will find by searching on Amazon. If you are a student buy direct from the Barbara Minto web site as they give a discount.