What if we won £30 million? What if we married our first great love? What if we didn't? We have all at some point in our lives asked a question beginning with those two words. 'What ifs' spark our imagination and take us on a journey of alternate possibilities.
At Edison Red we see many presentations that could benefit from a ‘what if’.
What if we expand into Brazil, export to China or bought all our staff and families bikes? Once the question is posed we have to imagine the possibilities.
Eurostar recently launched its 'maybe' TV commercial campaign and it's a striking example of the use of 'what if'. The commercials are in 30, 60 and 90 second formats - with one made for the British visiting Paris and another for the French visiting London (you can view both below). They are a combination of moving and still images, which capture possible stories on either side of the channel. The ads have been beautifully put together and I imagine will be very effective.
In the 60 second British version we glimpse nearly 70 story possibilities. On paper you would think that would be too many - but the split second images tell us all we need to know. Two thirds in and we get to our 'what if?':
A Parisian girl is sheltering from the rain, the voice over says "Maybe it will rain…". In a series of split second still images we glimpse a possible future - a romantic meal, a night spent together, marriage and finally pregnancy. All of this in six seconds.
One of the most common questions asked on our slide design course is how many slides are just right in my presentation? We maintain that it's not the number of slides but the content on them that makes the difference. How easy or difficult they are to interpret will always be the most important factor in maintaining your audience's attention and engagement.
The next time you're building your slides for that next big pitch, don't worry about how many you've got – focus rather on how quickly they help you to communicate your message.
And why not chuck in a 'what if' as well?
Image credit: Flickr