The single worst thing you can do at an investor conference
Cannings Purple’s Investor Relations Director, Andrew Rowell, has sat through thousands of investor presentations. While there are several areas that can sink your presentation, there is one simple mistake that CEOs and managing directors keep making.
You’ve only got one chance to make a good first impression.
You step up to the podium as you are introduced to the audience. You’ve got your best suit and tie on and have been through your slide deck a hundred times. You know your stuff inside out – after all, you live it and breathe it day in, day out.
The organisers have given you 20 minutes to tell your story to a group of interested investors, brokers, analysts and fund managers.
You dive right in and spend exactly the next 20 minutes going through every aspect of your company, business plans, key people, timelines and projects.
The big mistake? You’ve kept talking after the audience stopped listening.
While I’ve have seen hundreds of presentations crowded with bullet points, call-outs and other formatting no-no’s, it is the simple error of trying to pad out a presentation to fill the allotted time that is the mistake most likely to ruin your whole event.
Given conference presentation sessions nearly always run over, you will not lose any friends by pulling up a few minutes early. Instead, you will win the support of the crowd and — if you have got your key messages across and conveyed the value proposition to potential investors — your job is done.
Investors don’t want to hear about your third or fourth tier projects that you aren’t going to be spending much money on.
By the time you get to this point in your talk, the audience has switched off and is starting to pull out their phones to check emails.
Spend the time before you step up to the lectern distilling your presentation to a few key messages that you want investors to walk away with, and the most important takeaway should be a positive impression of you and your company.
You want the investor to remember enough key points so they can make an investment decision, but if they have turned off half way through your presentation, it’s a sure sign they won’t be lining up to be your next shareholder.
So, here are our three key insights to deliver a quality investor presentation:
- Only present the information investors will find interesting and that provide a reason to buy your shares.
- Never try to pad your presentation out with ‘filler’ slides just to occupy the allotted time.
- Make sure your slide deck is interesting. Include big, beautiful photos and keep text to a minimum. You want the audience paying attention to you, not reading along at a different speed.
Your audience will be thankful you have delivered a presentation that stands out from the others they have seen before yours.
By focusing only on key messages, you are more likely to sustain engagement with the audience and enhance your chance of securing that all important investor-to shareholder-conversion.
Andrew Rowell is an expert in Investor Relations and leads a Cannings Purple team that has advised on more than 115 M&A transactions with a combined value of US$130 billion over the past 12 years. We placed first on Business News’ PR League Table in 2017-18 and are again leading the field this year. Contact Andrew