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Guide to Successful Earnings Calls (Part 3)

Everything you need to know to give a “Standout Virtual Presentation”

This week we bring you the final edition of our three-part series on successful earnings calls, which includes our top tips for delivering standout virtual presentations in your earnings calls as well as other virtual presentations you may be giving, whether they be for Investor Days, NRDs, virtual AGMs or internal presentations.

In December we virtually attended Intrado’s Digital Media 2020 Summit, which included a webinar from Business Television’s, Taylor Thoen. Thoen shared her presentation on “Delivering Standout Virtual Presentations” with communicators from across the globe.

Let’s get into the key advice and takeaways that BTV’s Taylor Thoen recommended to us, as well as some of our own tips:


1)    Test

a) Make sure to install the video conference platform and test it at least one day prior to your event.

b) Check the audio and video quality.

c) Check your platform and computer settings to make sure your screen is in HD, measuring 16:8 widescreen, and the touch up option is enabled.


2)    Set Up

a) Lighting: 

    • Having a window behind your screen rather than behind you will make a world of difference for your audience.
    • To double check that your audience can see you clearly, practice the hand test. The hand test is where you move your hand around the room and wherever the light is brightest on your hand, is where your face should be for the camera to capture you most clearly. 
    • Make sure that lighting tests are conducted at the same time of day as the presentation will take place.
    • Another option is to use a ring light to give a more studio light vibrance.

b) Background: 

    • Make sure that your background is clean and not cluttered – think less is more.
    • An example could be setting up in front of a plain vanilla wall with an accent plant! 
    • Another option is to use your company’s official virtual background, but only use this if you know that it works well.

c) Direction of vision:

    • A common mistake that almost everyone makes is where they look when conducting a presentation. Having your camera at eye level and 60-75cm away from you can help avoid instances of looking down or too high up… the audience does not want to see up your nose.
    • If you are going to be reading from a script, make sure that it is in line with and at a similar height to the camera. You could also consider using a teleprompter tool.
    • Having your camera far enough away from your face makes it less obvious if you are reading from a script as it is more difficult for the audience to see your eyes scanning from left to right.

d) What to wear:

    • Wear business attire, just as if you were giving an in-person presentation.
    • Wear colors that stand out from the background.

e) Connection:

    • Make sure to remind your coworkers or members of your home not to use the microwave while you are giving your presentation as it is known to interfere with the WiFi.


3)    Use video

a) For more general presentations (not necessarily earnings call presentations), Thoen suggests adding video like CEO clips, white board video for technical explanations, and site footage, as it can really help to grasp your audience’s attention. 

b) Forrester Research says that “one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words”, so including your 1 minute corporate video as part of your presentation for Investor Days or virtual AGMs could add a lot of value. 


4)    Action 

a) Having a direct, concise, and precise approach is one way to make you and your company standout and makes viewers remember your presentation. The idea of making your viewer “lean in and raise an eyebrow” is what you want to see to ensure that they remain interested. 


5)    Content for earnings call presentations

a) To reduce your workload at busy times such as in the quarterly reporting period, you could base your earnings call presentation on your corporate presentation, removing any more general slides that will not be covered in the script. 

b) Add a cover slide with text along the lines of “Thank you for joining XXX’s earnings call. The call will begin shortly.”

c) Whilst the operator is opening the call and giving instructions, you may choose to show a slide with your disclaimer, including a disclaimer on forward-looking statements which may be made during the call. 

d) Include photos of the speakers on the slide before the section they will cover and/or on the slide after the disclaimer.

e) The information in the presentation should complement the opening remarks from top management.

f) It should be presented in a coherent way and the design should be in line with the quarterly report and the corporate image.

g) It should include visual aids such as graphs and tables.

h) Key figures in these graphs and tables could be highlighted to draw the viewer’s eye to them.

i) Bring out the positives from the quarter, comparing the numbers with the same period of the previous year and/or other relevant periods, and allay investors’ worries by addressing any concerns you think they may have. 

j) Include two final slides: i) a Q&A slide, ii) a ‘thank you for joining’ / ‘end of earnings call’ slide.


Be patient in grasping this new concept, it takes time and practice.


Click here to read parts 1 & 2 from this series:

Part 1: Guide to Successful Earnings Calls

Part 2: Pros and Cons: Different Earnings Call Formats and Providers


As always, if you need any advice on IR matters, including how to deliver a standout virtual presentation, Miranda IR is here to help.

Contacts at Miranda Partners

Damian Fraser
Miranda Partners

Ana Maria Ybarra Corcuera