How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Chunking and Attention
To get attention, present things in bite-sized chunks that people can easily see, read and digest.
In creating chunks, you may need to combine several similar small things into a single chunk. You may also need to break down more complex ideas or large amounts of information.
In words, use simple language with short sentences and one topic per paragraph. Visually, use space to separate items. Find the common essence of what you are saying and represent it in a way that is immediately attractive and clearly links to your message.
A washing machine is sold on the basic messages of effectiveness and economy, using bold images with little text to make the point.
A teacher breaks the lesson down into separate sections with discussion and personal work in each.
A politician devises a simple message about jobs and headlines with this. The message then breaks down into causes and solutions.
The world is a complex place and we naturally simplify it into chunks of information that we can handle. Communications that play to this tendency are hence using a natural mechanism.
Chunking also helps memory, where we recall things as connected pieces of information. Our short-term memory has around seven 'slots', so it seems a good idea to offer at maximum seven chunks (though often three is more than enough).
Present information in chunks. Then link the chunks as appropriate. Make the most important chunks stand out, for example by linking them to things that your audience already cares about.