Leaders that chunk, link, recall and review

transcript written by Wayne Brown

Highly effective presentations for every leader”

  • Video 1.01 – Preparing to present like a Pro
  • Video 1.02 – What leaders need, to achieve initial buy-in
  • Video 1.03 – Leaders that chunk, link, recall and review, win
  • Video 1.04 – Leaders need to learn how to close

Welcome back to “Highly effective presentations for every leader” – in episode 1.01, we started by looking at the necessary preparations to enable professional presentations. 

Episode 1.02 followed with a detailed review of the critical considerations for that opening stanza of the presentation. 

And now you’ve reached episode 1.03 in this 4 part series, where we discuss how to enable better knowledge retention and the likelihood of behavioral change, based on the presenters’ ability to keep the new information in bite-size nuggets or parcels – we call them chunks – which are well structured and with a clear link from one chunk to the next. 

Before starting off on this new material, however, let’s go back and briefly summarize the 3 key considerations from previous episode 1.02 – “What leaders need, to achieve initial buy-in.”

3 key considerations from that episode

  • # 1: Captivate from the very beginning
  • # 2: Opening comments
  • # 3: Engage through Story

Before starting off on this new material, however, let’s go back and briefly summarize the 3 key considerations from previous episode 1.02 – “What leaders need, to achieve initial buy-in.”

We highlighted the fact that first impressions are lasting, and therefore our # 1 consideration begins the moment you step up in front of the audience and before opening your mouth 

  • approach the podium, 
  • pause in silence, 
  • scan the room, 
  • raise your eyebrows, 
  • pause again and then smile.

Then we move to those opening comments

  • look at how your opening can be powerful, 
  • naturally connected to the subject & 
  • hooking the audience 

And finally, we suggest you engage through a story. 

  • But important to become effective at delivering stories.

Understand the difference between telling me and showing me the story through a descriptive well thought through & emotive storyline.

In this episode 1.03 – “Leaders that chunk, link, recall, and review, win,” we will cover 5 specific considerations.

1st – The art of chunking & linking, 

2nd – Body language to enhance the message, 

3RD – Using voice to enhance the message, 

4TH – Recall through activities 

5TH – and finally Revisit and Review   

Are you ready? Then let’s get started!

Consideration # 1:              The art of chunking and linking – adults digest information best when broken into small parcels of sequential data in a logically structured way.

Start by raising the audience interest in a new topic 

  • use your visual tools to outline something memorable and perhaps even abstract to get their attention. 

See whether the participants can determine what you are showing or illustrating. Word of warning, however, must be related or connected to the topic your introducing.

Chunk the topic info by spending no more than 15-20 mins discussing the topic items – this timeframe allows people to remain focused and digest the new information. 

Anything longer and studies have shown that the human absorption rate drops off quite sharply.

Link the topic items and subsequent topics so that there is a clear structure between points 

  • where possible find ways to link the information to the audience’s workplace. 
    • This will help with the “Participant Centredness.”

Consideration # 2:              Using Body language to enhance the message. 

Focus on facial expression, hand gestures, and body movement to greatly enhance engagement with the audience.          

Leverage your face to highlight key points – people engage best when the presenter uses the upper half of the face – i.e., eyes and forehead, rather than only the mouth. 

Eye contact is essential with each participant but makes your scanning natural rather than a continuous radar.

Hand gestures are powerful when used as an invite – extended arm and open palm to the audience, equally so when wanting to reinforce a point by using the steeple hands to question or reflect. 

Avoid placing your hands behind your back and in pockets – this appears if you have something to hide. 

Walking towards the audience helps emphasize the importance of a point, and moving backward brings closure to that discussion or point. 

Avoid rocking in one place or prowling around the floor. 

As a guide – move, then pause, make your point, and then move again.

Consideration # 3:              Using voice to enhance the message 

  • – just as your body language conveys a visual message, your voice tells the verbal & vocal message

Terms such as “Register, timbre, prosody, pace, pitch & volume” are as many key attributes for presenters as they are for singers.

  • Your ability to control and utilize your voice to emphasize a point is a critical tool and should be practiced. 

At all costs, avoid the monotone dialogue. 

Utilize the PAUSE and SILENCE methods to create effect and emphasize key points – an interesting practice is to use pause and get the audience to complete sentences to create engagement. 

Brian Tracy, one of the business success gurus, illustrates this nicely in several of his videos.  

A final suggestion here is to make the microphone your best friend but don’t make love to the microphone. 

If you have a large gathering, use a microphone to ensure your voice carries 

  • Practice using the microphone in advance so that you are aware of how it sounds. 

However, avoid playing with it or making it a distraction during your presentation.

Consideration # 4:              Recall through activities 

  • active learning is powerful, and research confirms that it’s the best way to help adults remember (i.e., learning through experience).     

Plan short activities to reinforce the theory of the topics – no more than 5-10 mins is required after each subject, but this depends on the type of workshop you are presenting.  

Additionally, incorporate simple reinforcement exercises through discussion, questions, brainstorming will help participants digest and recall.

Ensure your activities relate to the topic and enable the audience to easily link the theory with the experience. 

A good practice is to ask the audience to visualize how they could use this knowledge or skills at a later stage back in their workplace. 

By doing this, you transfer the learning and experience across to implementation – forming a very powerful and lasting connection.

Consideration # 5:              Revisit and review 

  • if this part is utilized correctly, it will deepen learning retention and increase the potential for behavior change.   

There are three main stages to your presentation – the opening, the body, and the close. 

  • At the open, you tell them what you are going to say to them
  • during the body, you tell them what you need to tell them
  • and in closing, you tell them what you have already told them.

Studies show that it’s necessary to revise each topic 6 – 7 times to maximize the potential for later recall – each way should be a little different from the previous. 

This can be achieved informally through simple discussion, question/ answer, summarizing, even with hands-on activities, or in a more formal manner where participants are asked to complete a written test. 

Whichever combination you choose, seek out as many opportunities as possible to repeatedly review the topic you have introduced.  

One effective way we have already mentioned earlier is to conclude the topic with an example and illustrate that example via a “show me” story.

We’ve covered a lot of territory in this episode, so let’s recap and summarize the 5 key considerations; 

During the body of any presentation, we touch on 4 of the 7 concepts for memory retention.

# 1 The art of chunking & linking – adults digest information best when it is broken into small parcels

# 2 Using body language to enhance the message – focusing on your facial expression, hand gestures, and body movement

# 3 Using voice to enhance the message – just as body language conveys a visual message, your voice conveys the verbal & vocal message 

# 4 Recall through activities – active learning is a powerful mechanism for assisting adults in locking in the message

# 5 Revisit and review – will deepen learning retention and create the potential for behavior change

Thank you for listening to this third episode, Leaders that chunk, link, recall, and review, win,” from our series “Highly effective presentations for every leader.” 

One episode remaining in this series called “Leaders need to learn how to close.” 

Looking forward to seeing you soon, be sure to preparation, open with purpose, and practice chunking and linking.

Bye for now.