It is pretty common to see IR practitioners worrying about the 10.000 feet high stuff: the IR program, investor targeting, websites, annual reports and such. IR consultants talk about these things all the time. No arguing here, these are indeed important things to get right.
Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that you’ve done everything right: you have this stellar website that attracts all the attention, your AR is a great starting point and your targeting was on spot. There you are, sitting right in front of this investor that has the mandate and the desire to invest on your company. Here, the cliché goes, the rubber meets the road: you have to make her time investment worthwhile by telling her a good investment story.
Now, if only you would have spend a little more time developing that story, becoming more fluent at telling it and investing a bit of money to present it in a more professional manner.
Many years spend as PM/analyst have taught me two things. First, that presentations are the single most boring business activity there is (and IR presentations are “kill-puppies” boring.) Second, that it is possible to fall asleep at virtually any presentation, even during a one-on-one meeting.
The fact is, it always amazed me how many IR’s did not have a clue to what I, as a PM/analyst found important in their story. They were always trying to explain me their product or showing me picture after picture of their factories in far out locations. The question really is: how far can an IR program go if the story telling at a personal level is relegated to an afterthought? No much far, I would argue.
This rant comes after an absolutely awesome webinar I had the pleasure to attend to today, “Presenting Yourself, Your Business and Your Cause in 15 Minutes or Less,” by @scottschwertly from 3Ethos. He is one of many people that have been changing this presentation biz for good. I mean, have you ever seen a TED presentation? Compare it to your typical CEO / CFO / IRO presentation that was inflicted upon you at the last broker conference you had to so time to spare.
The biz of presenting is undergoing major transformation and IR people must pay attention. If you are interested, I would recommend, besides Scott, a look at Garr Reynolds’ (@presentationzen) Presentation Zen blog and at Nancy Duarte’s (@nancyduarte) Duarte Design and Slide.ology sites.
There is no excuse to have a poor presentation. It is like a tennis player that can’t serve. Much like the tennis player, this is the one situation where you have the most control of all the variables: where to start, how to lead, what the pace is, what to skim through and where to dig deeper. I mean, that’s why you spend all that money and effort targeting, right? Your presentation, including the visuals, printed materials AND delivery, must be top notch. No less. You may not (and probably do not deserve) get a second chance.