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What is a CHUNK of information



Often the same word or phrase means something different depending on who is listening.

This leads to misunderstandings, confusion and mixed-messages.

When putting your message across, you need to ensure the audience not only understands the words and phrases (chunks) you are using but also the meaning behind those words and phrases (chunks).

It is important to understand the basic concept of a "chunk".

Herbert Simon1 suggested a chunk is the largest meaningful unit (word/phrase) in presented material that a person recognises (has meaning) - thus, it depends on the knowledge of the person what counts as a chunk.

A Chunk could be a word or phrase or concept or idea - basically any piece of information which has meaning.

The most important two things to remember are:

    1. A Chunk contains deeper information and meaning to the audience

    2. The meaning could be different to each audience member (due to their own experiences, memories, education etc).

Examples of Chunks:

"Dog", "City", "Universe", "Maths Teacher", "Government", "Red", "Happy", "Conservation", "Father", "Sunnies", "Peace", "Bus", "Farm", "Negative Attitude", "Romeo and Juliet", "She is always complaining", "People work better if they are paid more"

Deeper Meaning - For example, the simple phrase (chunk) "It's a day for my sunnies!" would mean to most Australians "I need my sun-glasses" and have deeper meanings such as sunshine, bright light, sunny days etc; but to most non-Australians they would either not know or have to struggle to figure out what the phrase meant.


Chunks contain meaning for the audience, but the meaning or intent the author originally had can be lost without the Chunks being related to other Chunks to support the meaning of the first Chunk.

From the list above, let us take the first example "Dog". What came to mind when you read "Dog" ?

Ask 10 people to describe what they thought about "Dog" you would get 10 different answers.

Another example is "She's a real red-head".

This of course may mean the lady in question has natural red hair.

But a deeper meaning to some listeners may convey "fiery temper", "passionate" or "stubborn".

Again, in most words & phrases, there is always a deeper meaning which the speaker may want to convey, but the audience may make the wrong link. ChunkMaps helps you to manage and organise your information effectively.

Another example of understanding a Chunk of information is the following:

Two criminals - Derek and Christopher - were being chased by policemen. The suspects were cornered, Christopher pulled out his gun. A policeman ordered the criminals to surrender. Derek was heard to shout to Christopher "Let him have it!", so Christopher shot the policeman dead.

It was argued by Derek that the Chunk "Let him have it" meant "pass the gun to the policeman and surrender", but that Christopher had understood the Chunk to mean "give the policeman a bullet by firing the gun"

How do you understanding the above Chunk?

Derek and Christopher were both found guilty of murder. Derek became the last man in England to be hanged.
For more on this example see Wikipedia Derek Bentley

CHUNKMAPS empowers you to influence and manage what your audience thinks and understands about the Chunks of information you provide them.

This is achieved by applying some very simple rules.

Aspects of a Chunk

We will discuss Chunking UP - DOWN - ACROSS shortly (also see Model 1 and Model 2), however, a Chunk has some very interesting and useful aspects or properties you should also explore.


Model 3
  • CAUSED/PROMOTED BY - Model 3 (see later) encourages you determine what influences your Chunk positively. E.g. Bringing Food through the airport from overseas is encouraged by "unavailability of that food locally".
  • RESTRICTED/PREVENTEED BY - Model 3 (see later) encourages you determine what influences your Chunk negatively. E.g. Bringing Food through the airport from overseas is prevented through "fines and penalties"
Model 4
  • FEATURES/ATTRIBUTES - Model 4 (see later) encourages you determine what Features and/or Attributes your Chunk has. E.g. A Mobile Phone may have the Feature of a "Touch Screen".
  • BENEFIT/OBJECTION - Model 4 (see later) encourages you determine what Benefits or Objections that Feature/Attribute may produce. E.g. A "Touch Screen" on a Mobile Phone has the benefit of "Smaller Size" but an Objection of "Increases selecting wrong characters"
Learning to identify the what "Promotes & Restricts" your Chunks and what your Chunk's "Features & Benefits" are allows you to create powerful and compelling arguments which you can incorporate into your Journey of Persuasion in order to influence your audience.

To learn more about how CHUNKMAPS empowers you to influence and manage what your audience thinks and understands about the Chunks of information you provide them, we will explore more.


1See Wikipedia - H Simon

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