Explore structured thinking techniques to learn how
to communicate complex ideas with clarity and confidence
Life's too short to be reworking drafts. Get fast decisions instead.
Too many of my clients tell me they spend their nights and weekends reworking important communication multiple times and still don't get the results they need..
Clarity First Express offers 11 compact modules that will help you clarify and communicate your message no matter how complex.
It introduces structured thinking techniques developed by top-tier consultants and recontextualised for executives in business and government.
Taught by Davina Stanley, author of The So What Strategy, who has introduced structured thinking techniques to professionals globally for 25+ years.
Clarity First Basics introduces our structured communication approach
Learn our high-level storylining approach
Our first module introduces our approach, which is based on the Pyramid Principle.
It includes practical examples to enable you prepare simple communication such as emails right away.
The same principles apply to more complex papers and PowerPoints.
Explore thinking strategies to help you distil your messaging
Underpinning all of our work are some practical thinking strategies you can employ when communicating and solving problems.
We explain how we use MECE as well as top-down and bottom-up thinking strategies when preparing our communication.
Discover practical hacks for tackling corporate templates
How often have you sat at your desk ‘filling in' the sections of a corporate template? You find you repeat yourself and are often not sure what to put where.
This module provides some simple hacks to communicate a clear and compelling story within such templates.
Register now for 3 digital bonuses valued at $99 …
♦ A copy of our book, The So What Strategy
♦ A desk reference highlighting our Ten Point Test to help you evaluate your storyline structure as well as our 7 storyline patterns
♦ A bundle of 7 annotated PowerPoint decks illustrating how a storyline translates into a PowerPoint
Learn from an expert
I began helping others clarify and communicate complex ideas professionally at McKinsey in the mid 1990s. I trained in the Minto Pyramid Principle® under some of the best and was approved to teach others by Barbara Minto in 2008.
Since then I helped Boston Consulting Group in Australia design and deliver their structured communication program and have helped thousands of people globally to communicate better at work.
Mixed with education and business creds
My skill-building approach blends my corporate experience with my background as a professional communicator and educator who runs her own business.
Despite not practicing as a kindergarten teacher for long, the skills I learned are invaluable when helping adults.
Running my own business has given me greater understanding of leadership and its challenges, as well as greater business acumen. It has also given me opportunities to put structured problem solving techniques to work in the real world.
To help experts engage others in complex ideas
In thinking about where I can help the most, I consciously oriented my programs toward helping those who know a lot about something to engage others who know less.
This can be a tricky bridge to cross but worth doing if we think that truly good ideas only have real value when they are understood.
It is also incredibly satisfying to see experts not only succeed at their communication, but to lift their confidence in their professional abilities and in themselves.
Here are some comments from people who have completed these modules.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Clarity First Basics for?
Clarity First Basics is designed for professionals who need to communicate at work and who want to explore our approach without a major commitment.
The techniques can be applied to everything from emails that are more than about three lines long to those wanting to write a book. For example when communicating
To superiors: You may need to put a proposal to your superiors about a change to a project, inform them of your progress or ask for funding.
To your team: You may need to communicate with your team to explain something you need from them or perhaps cascade down a message from people elsewhere in the organisation.
To outsiders: The techniques are also helpful in communicating with people outside your organisation such as customers, suppliers, regulators or others.
The techniques are useful anywhere you need to be confident you are understood.
What is structured thinking?
Structured thinking is a technique developed at McKinsey & Company during the 1960s by a team led by the Firm’s first female consultant, Barbara Minto.
The team leveraged universal thinking techniques to develop a highly structured way to distil the essence out of complex material and convey it clearly and convincingly.
The structure itself becomes a ‘thinking machine’ that helps not just tidy ideas so they are neatly organised, but to actually identify what they are.
By knowing the techniques, you can see when ideas don’t belong and then work out what to do about that. Do you move them, remove them or modify them to give the structure integrity?
Knowing the techniques enables you to make these decisions quickly and intelligently.
What is the difference between Basics and Express?
Basics includes the first three modules of the Express course.
You might see it as being a ‘taster', which you can try to see whether the approach is for you.
What is the difference between Clarity First Express and the Clarity First Program?
Does my access expire?
Access to the modules does not expire. As long as our website exists, you can revisit the course.