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Zoom Tips and Troubleshooting to Become a Pro at Conference Calls

This week we look at 1) NIRI’s webinar last week on how to manage Investor Relations virtually 2) Some Miranda tips on best managing ZOOM for professional purposes 3) a summary of the CNBV’s extension on various filing deadlines.

 

  1. NIRI Webinar on Virtual IR meetings:

 

What are the issues with video meetings, virtual annual and earnings meeting and how can Companies deal with it?

Tom, IR – Zoom Video Communications. Dominate the ZOOM IT issues (see below). From an IR security perspective, make sure the internal corporate IT team has vetted all the functionality and features of any software that a Company adopts. Identify all the tools and control functions of the product to take care of any arising issues, which can range from infiltration to connection. Use online community forums to keep track with problems and solutions. ZOOM is rolling out new security protocols to deal with the issues that have arisen.

 

Annual Meetings, what guidance should be given to IR departments?

Luke, VP – Investis Digital. First think of the purpose and message/content in a virtual meeting. IROs need to make sure the leadership is confident on how to best convey the message of the meeting through a digital setting.  On that note, increasing communications between IT and IR is becoming increasingly important.

Tom, ZOOM. Will be working with Broadridge, which has experience in this sector to conduct future meetings (annual shareholder meetings). Important to push the IR to be creative, include some branding, show off marketing capabilities and technical demos to make these meetings a bit different. Coordinate with the marketing and event planning people within the company.  If these have big audiences, then these events are a great opportunity to go big.

 

What can go wrong in big virtual meetings, and how should companies be prepared? Any examples of quick recoveries?

Luke, Investis Digital. There was once an event being physically hosted but broadcasted globally, and a piece of equipment failed at the beginning of the call. This shows that live events almost always have a risk of things going wrong, but if you work with a vendor, the chances are that their IT support will have the backups, duplicates of the software and equipment to quickly overcome these sorts of issues. Solutions should definitely be recorded. Some content can be pre-recorded and then released while something is being fixed. So even if there is a problem with a live event, then at least there is content and a message available to be used during times of transmission.

Gregg, Cienna. Everyone getting used to going virtual is fortunately causing a collective increase in technical literacy. Common problems are easily fixed and generally becoming rarer.

 

Are there some things that are recommended when it comes to managing the next earnings call?

Gregg, Cienna.   Last earnings call was traditional. Sometimes there is a lot of success in pre-recording the script, and then releasing that during the earnings call. In addition, this recording can be uploaded to the website a day before, after the report is released. This allows investors to prepare questions. Also, during the call instead of replaying the whole recording, we simply issue a summary of the script and this allows for more time for the Q&A. Usually done for Q4. At some point we want to incorporate video, not sure which companies plan to adopt this practice for Q1

Tom, ZOOM. Our earnings are always done through video, and the advantage of this is how it can be done remotely. Needs to be a way of internal communication between the management during the call, outside of the listening participants.  I would consider using a Slack channel, or google or Zoom. That way if something goes wrong a quick signal could be made for someone else to temporarily take over and maintain fluidity. The more you use technology; the more backup technology is required.

 

What are common mistakes on Zoom calls?

Tom, ZOOM. Always, always double check each setting before the call. The biggest and most common problem is a technical issue arising from not properly configuring the settings to the type of call. The spectrum of effective communication is subjective, but the more technology is utilized to its fullest extent, the better and closer virtual communication becomes closer to the real thing

Luke, Investis Digital. There is a growing demand for video earnings call, right now where I work it’s at 77%. As it becomes more of a norm, investors will expect this type of call going forward.

 

What are some benefits of virtual investor days or roadshows?

Tom, ZOOM.  Some benefits of virtual roadshows are utilizing the different channels and features that are available as extensions to make them more effective and worthwhile, such as moderated Q&A columns that can be seen by multiple analysts. In addition, there tends to be greater participation rates

Gregg, Cienna. Delivering messages on different platforms takes practice, but eventually is easily accepted. Testing will be key. Practice with the platform until it becomes very comfortable to work with. Engagement doesn’t seem to be a problem either. As I reflect on it, there seemed to have been more questions than non-virtual ones.

 

Can video conferences eliminate physical roadshows in the future? Roadshows tend to have a significant impact on senior managements’ schedule.

Tom, ZOOM.  I think it’ll be a hybrid, maybe more virtual. Some banks get paid to do virtual meetings instead of physical ones. There are a lot of ESG benefits of remote work and virtual meeting. However, nothing replaces the little details and benefits of having an in-person meeting

Luke, Investis Digital. This technology has been available for years, but just now is it being used at such a scale. Now that this has been forced, perhaps it could lead to a more permanent switch. In addition, two of the main reasons why it wasn’t fully utilized were usually reluctancy from senior management and complexity of adopting it when it isn’t widely practiced

Tom, ZOOM. There are generally more questions that go to the panelists, and half of them are usually anonymous. Folks are using it more and the sell-side is getting better at it in order to promote themselves and their research. Analysts can get instant responses if they publish their profiles during the meeting.

 

Is there one prediction or takeaway you want to leave the listeners with?

Tom, ZOOM. When things go back to normal, there will be lasting effects of what’s been adopted in the wake of virtual communication, and it’s important to brace that technology, be creative, take risks, and learn fast on how to improve investor communications

 

  1. Miranda’s Tips on How to Conduct a Zoom Meeting:

 

Prepare, prepare, prepare. A good ZOOM meeting is a performance which requires work before the event starts. You cannot fully outsource technical aspects to others, but need to invest time in understanding the key points of the technology. For senior management, being able to project well on video without much external support will be as important a leadership skill as public speaking has been hitherto. To prepare for a zoom meeting, run tests to make sure camera and microphone are working. Use a neutral professional background such as a wall or curtain (ie, not your bed). Make sure the door is locked to avoid disruptions from others in your home and the room is silent. Check that sufficient light is shining on your face. Do not have strong light nor a window behind you. Clean those glasses and invest in anti-reflective lenses. Brush your hair. Dress appropriately. Computer fully charged. Documents needed for the meeting be on standby. Glass of water next to you. Master screen sharing. Make sure the sound doesn’t have too much echo, use headphones if necessary or an acoustically optimized room. (This is important). If using your phone, use a tripod. Rehearse presentations. Be precise, concise and clear. Stay focused on the screen, look at the camera, make sure you are not too close nor too far away from the camera. Voice shouldn’t be too loud, nor too low. Speak clearly, project your voice, and express intention. You are the performer. Breathe. Record practices and meetings to see what parts need improvement. Stretch, relax and practice facial and vocal exercises before the meetings.

 

Miranda-IR offers (on ZOOM) a 45-minute ZOOM video class with Sophie Gomez, famous Mexican actress and communicator, for those interested. Please let us know.

 

Main Points How to Create Secure Zoom Meeting. Add passwords to all Zoom meetings. This is now automatically created and sent when making the invitation. Use waiting rooms. Allows host to accept invited participants and reject uninvited. This feature is in the ‘Advanced Options’ setting. Press save before exiting. Keep Zoom account updated. New features are being added as scalability of zoom grows and new solutions arise. Disable participant screen sharing (unless specifically needed for the meeting). This allows unwanted participants to be blocked from sharing illicit content.

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