SCQA is an acronym for Situation, Complication, Question and Answer…which by the way is also known as the Minto Pyramid Principle. During the course of the school year, my schoolmates and I will be at the mercy of this “torturous”, virtual device called a Pitch Randomizer. As the name entails, the code written framework, randomly displays the name of a prepared or unprepared, quivering, praying, victim or “pitchee”, who will pitch a business idea to all 60 students and fellows congregated in a classroom. The audience in turn is to silently watch, then judge these three minute long, varying degrees of cringe worthy orations. Now, guess who was unprepared, quivering and praying not to get picked but got picked anyway, last week? Me…and yup, you guessed it, I was cringe level 100,000,000,000,000.
Though, it is going to be awhile till I pitch again as all 57 others need to get their turn in the “arena”, next time I will be quivering and praying… but prepared. Thanks to a communications teaching fellow, I will be using the SCQA guideline but first, What is SCQA ?
The Pyramid Principle is constructed in a way that empathizes the need to captivate an audience, by opening with a narration, hence yielding a high rate in interest throughout the remainder of the presentation. The Principle is a model for thinking about, unpacking and organizing information and thoughts in order to be able to respond to and organize ones response to a problem effectively. Let us now dissect the meaning of each:
Situation. This is were you describe the immediate situation and state points the audience may already be aware of, in a manner that is organized and easy to perceive. Doing this first establishes the relevance and context of the discussion.
“For awhile Company X has been doing… this way.”
Complication. Next, answer why your situation is an issue. This is your chance to let the audience know. Be as explicit and simple as you can.
“In recent times, things have changed…”
Question. Now, ask a question or two that transitions from the complication and nicely into the final stage of the next principle; the answer, the solution.
“So what actions does Company X need to take in order to find its footing in unplanned stops?”
Answer. No, those questions you asked are not meant to be rhetorical. This is the point were you answer the question(s) you asked. This is your key point.
“Company X is going to… Doing this will ensure the issue is fixed. Company X is also going to implement action plans such as standard operating procedures to prevent re-occurrences .”
Finally, here is a sample presentation I put together:
For the last 44 months Company X has been doing exponentially well. Two years ago, it raked in $1.8 billion in revenues. But recently, Company X has been reporting failing revenues. What can it do? It can pivot its business model,and make greater use of financial consultants and industry experts…
And there you have it. The best method for pitching. To learn more about this method check out Barbara Minto’s “The Minto Pyramid Principle”.