In Great Demo! Workshops we teach how turn to a firehose demo into a series of consumable “chunks”.  Each chunk needs an introduction, body, and summary.

Aristotle first suggested this about 2350 years ago:  “Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them…”

This is an ancient and very successful practice for many forms of human communication.  A great analogy can be found on an equally ancient construct called a bookshelf (remember physical books?) with bookends…

What are bookends for?  They keep the books on the left and right ends of the shelf from falling over into open spaces.  Think of the very beginning and very end of your demo segments as bookends.  The left bookend is your intro; the right bookend is your summary.  They’ll help to keep your segment from spilling all over your demo shelf!

Chunking also can be described with a few analogies, for example:

  • “How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time…”  (Note:  do NOT try this, especially with a live elephant.)
  • Large chocolate bar?  Break it into chunks (and please share).
  • Lists:  we often organize by topic – grocery lists may be organized by section (vegetables, dairy, canned goods, meat, seafood, etc.).
  • Sausage:  often manufactured, initially, as a single long tube, which is then chunked into individual sausages; which are then cut into pieces when eaten.  (I love sausage, but really don’t want to know how it is made…!)
  • Organizing things:  we categorize to help us manage our lives.  For example, we have rooms for specific activities (kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, living room, etc.  We chunk our possessions and activities according to these spaces.

Apply these same ideas to the wonderful world of demos – and enjoy crisper, clearer (and more successful) communication…!

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