Chunking Saves Time for Making Business Decisions

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Introduction

Many times, you have seen that due to changes in external factors like competition, changing tastes and preferences of customers put you in trouble. In order to safeguard your business, you formulate new marketing strategies and frame other contingency plans. For executing your plans into action, you call a meeting with your team members. During the meeting, you start explaining about strengths, threats, opportunities and weaknesses of your business and make aware about the latest market trends and the course of action that you are going to take. When you ask your team members regarding your plan, you find that many of your employees have failed to recollect the points that you discussed some time back. This has happened due to memory clogging. This drawback can be rectified with the help of content chunking.

What is Chunking?

Memorizing and recollecting facts and figures are a challenge at every boardroom meeting. Remembering previous financial results and related events of the company can be taxing for many employees. In order to overcome this difficulty, learning the memory strategy called chunking can prove effective.

Chunking is a way of combining or organizing similar pieces of information into one unit, which is logical as well as rational. This helps your team members to memorize chunks instead of memorizing individual information. These chunks can act as cues and therefore, allows easy retention of information and making decisions accordingly.

Pioneer of Chunking Strategy

Research has shown that when information is presented in unorganized manner, people can recollect up to seven points. Information comprises of several parts. When these parts are regrouped into one unit, based on their traits and characteristics, then it becomes easy to retain and recollect the information whenever it is required.

The idea of chunking was developed by George A. Miller, who was a Harvard psychologist. The technique became popular in 1950s. He explained the details of the technique in his book titled “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two”. Miller learnt about the capabilities of short- term memory.

He researched, how many numbers people can remember easily within a few minutes after they were asked to do so. Many participants said that they could remember up to seven points.

The concept of Miller goes beyond numbers. For example, many people can remember seven newly learned chunks of similar, classified data.

According to Miller, information must be presented in small digestible unit. A digestible unit can comprise up to nine separate items of information. As the complexity of information increases, the chunking limit decreases.

Benefits of Content Chunking

  • Becomes easy to present ideas
  • Raises comprehending skills of team members

Chunking Helps in Accommodating Working Memory

Working memory is the active part of memory system. H. Lee Swanson of Graduate School of Education, University of California, suggests that the working memory is like mental juggling. When information enters the brain, you are processing as well as storing in same time. Therefore, chunking helps information to stay short and relevant and it helps your team members for quick recall.

Builds Knowledge among Team Members

Chunking helps you in prioritizing information that you present during a meet. If you aim that your team members should build knowledge, you need to organize chunks in logical manner.

Your Team Members Get Benefited from Bullet Points

Bullet points keep your presentation organized and simple. They make content chunking easy for you and helps listeners to develop attention towards the presentation. As they become engaged, the purpose for the meeting gets solved effectively.

Now the question arises how to chunk information.

Steps Involved

1. Identifying Chunks

Your team members need to identify patterns or similarities in information, so that it becomes easy for them to club it. For example, the participants at the meeting can categorize information based on dates, time of achievements, influencing factors and many more.

2. Grouping and Memorizing Chunks

When similarities are identified, team members can organize or group the information into chunks and memorize them without facing difficulty.

3. Retrieving Chunks

When it is required, team members need to remember the type of chunk for retrieving the information. For example, which events took place in 2014? Alternatively, what are the factors that led to company’s growth? In this example, “2014” and “growth” are cues or chunks by which your employees can recollect the information that have been learned so far.

How to Integrate Chunking As a Memory Strategy?

# Pictorial Method

In this method, you have to display various objects, like projector, laptop, keyboard, etc and ask team members for finding a common feature between two or more objects. For example, projectors and PC monitors can be chunked as “display tools”.

Now, you have to show your team- mates a picture of this chunk at the end of the session and ask them to recollect the items, which fall under this chunk.

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# Rapid Fire Round

Team-mates can use chunks in pairs. They have to chunk the information, make a note on index card and pass on to the respective partners. The other team member can quiz them on his or her index card and the whole group can know how much they have learnt.

# Index Card Method

In case of index card method, team members are required to memorize the various past events that took place in the organization. As a manager or business owner, you need to distribute few blank index cards among them during the session.

Instruct them for chunking the past incidents based on a pattern, which emerge from them. When the process has been completed, ask your team members to lay the cards faced down and list the happenings. When they need some help, they can use the index cards as cues for making decisions.

Conclusion

Human brains are subjected to continuous processing of information. This results in development of fatigue. When information is presented in vast form, people find difficulty in recollecting vital points during the meeting. Therefore, by chunking, information is broken down into categories, where similar contents are grouped into one digestible unit. Therefore, team members can easily recollect all points discussed so far and can make suitable decisions for raising profitability of the business.

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