The key to having an effective investor conference call is the speaker’s ability to clearly define and communicate the Company’s message to its audience. Here are 10 simple tips to improve the content and quality of your message to investors and analysts.
1. Define the Message
A few days before the call, define the message you want to communicate, and ensure that the script adheres to the message. The script should not merely repeat what is in the quarterly report, and should include additional information and analysis. In the Q&A, it is important to answer questions without losing the overall message, trying to bridge the gap between the immediate response to the question and the Company’s overall message. It is essential that the Company defines the narrative of the call and not an aggressive investor/analyst.
If possible, we recommend that the CEO and CFO are present, as well as the IRO. Having the CEO present shows the Company’s commitment to the market and its investors, and sends a very professional and positive message.
3. Getting Ready for the Question and Answer Session
In addition to developing the Company’s key message, it is important to anticipate what investors/analysts might ask. Having a list of possible questions ahead of time helps plan out answers. Rehearsing answers will also ensure that there are no surprises during the call. The most difficult questions (those the Company doesn’t want to be asked) are the ones that must be practices the most in order to plan on how the subject could be treated. If many people from management are present during the call, it’s important to plan who will answer what. If possible, only one person should answer the question, as any additional response can take away credibility from the person who originally answered.
Similarly, it is important to have all the information and data that might be needed at hand in order to answer effectively.
4. The Twitter Rule (280 characters).
Answers must be brief. It’s possible that 280 characters are insufficient, but it’s important to be concise, and allow time for other questions. Always try to answer the question at the beginning and give context later.
5. The New York Times Rule
Although the call is off the record, it must be assumed that the competition and media have access to them. Do not say anything that could cause problems if it were published in the New York Times (Reforma, Economista, etc.). This is especially sensitive in Mexico’s current context. Sometimes it is better to avoid comments and seek out investors/analysts privately, in order to provide details needed.
6. Voice or Video
The provider is key. Unfortunately, the quarterly calls haven’t evolved much in the last 20 years. We think that it is time for change, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic and the increased familiarity everyone has with videoconferencing, as well as the reduction of costs associated with their use. Miranda-IR can organize video conferences with investors through ZOOM, TEAMS, Blue Jeans, Google Meets, Skyoe, or other providers specialized in IR (Mag Yates). In summary, we think VIDEO is the future of quarterly calls. (In another weekly we will talk about the differences between ZOOM, Google Meets, Teams, Skype, Mag Yates, etc.).
If you decide to use conventional voice calls, due to its increased comfort and ease, we recommend providers that give access to calls without having contact with operators (saving a lot of wasted time), and with high sound quality. Miranda-IR can help you choose the best provider at the best price.
7. Choose the Correct Space
One of the least considered but most important aspects is the place where the call will take place. Ideally, when making a call, you need to find a quiet, secluded space to avoid distractions and noises that can affect sound quality. Another thing that has to be taken into account is the echo of the room, because if the room is large, has a high ceiling or a wooden floor, the sound can echo excessively. Covering part of the floor with a carpet generally helps reduce echoes, since carpets absorb sound better than wood. Another solution can be to install fabric curtains in the room or cover walls with paintings, fabrics, etc. to cover the sound. If the call is taking place in the office conference room and you are using a microphone or speaker, it is important to make sure that you are close enough to the device to pick up the sound of your voice, but far away enough that it doesn’t pick up every little sound to be made.
8. Use Headphones or Microphones to Improve Audio Quality
A good way to guarantee high quality audio is to use headphones or microphones. You can find very simple ones on pages like Amazon. Click the following link to see an example: Cyber Acoustics AC-204
If you are using headphones or a microphone, it is very important to take care of the distance with the microphone, so that it is close enough to catch your voice but you cannot hear you breathe. Another aspect to keep in mind is that, if you have several devices close to the microphones open, these could cause interference.
9. Test the Tech
Like any other meeting, it is important to arrive early for testing before starting. Waiting until the last-minute van be counterproductive if you have technical problems, as there will be less time to address them. Before starting a call, you must be familiar with the technology and accessories to be used. This will help give the speaker confidence. You must have a good internet connection/telephone signal to avoid problems.
You must have a sound test prior to each quarterly call and/or that the equipment to be presented connects 20-30 minutes before to ensure its functionality.
10. Voice and Diction
When speaking in public, speak in a powerful, modulated, and clear voice. You have to put energy into the voice to capture the attention of the attention of listeners. The key to all of this is in breathing. This helps you make sure air reaches the end of each sentence. Rhythm is what gives each presentation dynamism. The problem is that most people don’t breathe properly. Click on the following link to see some exercises: Improving Your Diction
Here’s a small checklist of things we recommend checking before starting any type of call:
· Quiet, distraction-free location
· Use breathing and diction excercises
· Have a glass of water at hand
· Verify that you have the dial-in information
· Perform a sound check
· Check the echo
· Check the distance between yourself and the microphone
· Ensure a good internet connection/telephone signal
· If necessary, implement a back-up line if the line has a problem