IR professionals should speak like an executive first and an IRO second, according to the latest IR Magazine Think Tank – East Coast.
At the event, held in New York on April 27, delegates were encouraged to think like C-suite executives to help get a seat at the table.
‘I find when we have disruptions, I think about what IR can bring,’ said one speaker. ‘Management teams should be asking, What do you think about this? Should we be doing anything differently – not from the shareholder standpoint of communication, but as an executive in the company. So any type of disruption [presents] an opportunity for an IR0 to get that seat at the table.’
IR at the forefront
During a panel session, delegates were asked to vote on whether IR has more or less influence since the pandemic. The response saw the majority vote overwhelmingly ‘yes’.
‘With Covid, it became very important that IR was at the forefront of almost everything we were doing,’ said a speaker.
During the pandemic, the move to more hybrid working allowed IROs an opportunity to be more influential, said a panelist: ‘In the hybrid environment, I find the C-suite is even more focused on the business and more reliant on [IROs] to understand what investors are interested in and what they’re focused on.’
Finding an opportunity in a crisis
When a crisis hits a business, one aspect is getting the information, but the second is turning that into action, said a speaker.
‘Now you’re starting to get into conversations that become constructive and get to a point of enacting some action plan to target the issue,’ he explained.
Crises or events that affect a company usually aren’t new issues, said an IR professional. ‘They’ve happened to companies or something like them has happened to a company in the past,’ he said.
IROs should do the research and understand how other companies have dealt with something similar and bring that knowledge to the meetings, he added: ‘When there’s a crisis, shareholders want velocity; they want information and responsiveness.’
The IR Magazine Think Tank – Europe returns to London on Thursday, June 22. Click for details and to request an invitation.