You have a 90 minute keynote speech that brings down the house, every time. But the meeting planner trying to book you only has a 60 minute slot left, and it’s the last of three presentations. Can you do it? The answer better be, “Yes, I can!” On the day of the your (now) 60 minute keynote, the two presenters preceding you go over, leaving you with 40 minutes. Can you still deliver a knockout? The answer is, “Yes I can!”, because you “chunked” your speech.
Chunking is the breaking apart of something into smaller parts, called “Chunks”. For a presentation, it is typically a 5 to 10 minute module that stands on its own. It contains its own beginning, middle and end, its own stories and parables, and conclusions. Your speech becomes a collection of chunks, the number and order can be modified to suit the audience, the conference theme, and time constraints.
As you create content, develop it to be as modular and independent as possible; when complete, place the module in a “Chunk Library” or “Chunkbrary”. As Chunks are retired, keep them in the library for possible future use. Ultimately you may end up with several hours’ worth of material to draw upon. With your Chunkbrary, you can build a variety of presentations and speech types to match the needs of your customers and clients.
In this example, your 90 minute keynote may be a collection of 10-12 chunks; the resulting 40 minute presentation you actually deliver will be more like 5-8 chunks. Both will probably have the same beginning and end with the middle portion being affected. The audience may miss the story about how you stopped a riot at a Led Zeppelin concert in Germany, but they will have experienced your no-holds-barred ending. And those managing the event will appreciate how you effortlessly modified your presentation to meet the time crunch your fellow speakers placed upon you.
As with eating smaller bites, Chunking your material leads to a healthier (speaking) life.