Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Discovering the Power of a Hierarchy Model (Part. 1)

At the top of the leader board, in modern times, as most referred to visual aid is Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs pyramid.

Heading all lists in terms of impressions, is the USDA’s Food Group* pyramid model. It is printed on millions of bread wrappers and cereal boxes every day. It to, is a hierarchy model.

Why Are These Two Models So Powerful?

If these two graphics are such powerful communication tools (and they are), maybe you and I should spend some serious time investigating the inner workings of the hierarchy model.

I cannot over-emphases how effective a simple hierarchy model can be in your own speaking activities.

Hierarchical thinking is so ingrained into the adult mind that it would be a shame to not harness its potential as you present.

What’s a Hierarchy Anyway?
Make your message a hierarchy message and you are headed to the top.

If people naturally want to know what’s most important, tell them. If they want to know how they rank in their organization, tell them, , , better still, show them too.

The word hierarchy comes from the Greek word, “hierarches,” meaning “leader of sacred rites.” Within the Roman Catholic Church, the concept of hierarchy has been applied to rank of leaders within the Holy Priesthood.

Through the ages, religion has adopted this ordering and progression through the ranks of its' leadership. So, to has the military. And business. And education. And about everything else.

A Hierarchy of Leadership and Life
There’s hardly a place you can look among formal organizations where a visible hierarchy of leadership is not apparent.

You see it in your police force, among the cashiers at the supermarket, and when you attend your local Toastmasters Club.

What’s more, for the most part, people go alone with it all. Everyone, whether they like it or not, seems to just go alone with traditional hierarchical thinking. It’s accepted, Life Is a Pecking Order.

The trick for you, the public speaker is to observe this ordering within your field or topic, then figure out how to plug your message into these preconditioned patterns.

I’ve prepared another article (Part 2) that shows you five different ways hierarchal thinking effects your audiences and your future as a public speaker.


* Actually, the USDA Food Group pyrimid has been replaced by the powers-that-be in its government agency. That happened back in 2002, but bakeries and cearal manufactures around the world are still using it every day. Go figure? This is a story for another day.

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