Investor relations professionals play a crucial role in maintaining transparency and fostering trust between a company and its shareholders. One of the most critical communication events in this domain is the earnings call.
With years of experience helping leading brands host thousands of earnings calls through MultiVu’s webcasting platform and production services, my team and I have developed a list of best practices that the make for engaging, informative and effective earnings calls:
1. Preparation is key
Successful earnings calls start with meticulous preparation. Begin by establishing a timeline and assigning responsibilities to your team members. Set clear objectives, review past calls, and gather all necessary financial data, presentations, and scripts well in advance. Anticipate potential questions and have concise answers ready. Consider planning as early as possible to ensure you have ample time to gather data, craft your messaging, and rehearse.
2. Solidify your messaging
Your earnings call should tell a coherent and engaging story about your company's performance. Develop a narrative that highlights key achievements, challenges and strategic developments, while also addressing the concerns and interests of key stakeholders. Use clear, straightforward language and avoid jargon or overly technical language that may confuse your audience.
3. Schedule time to rehearse
Conduct mock earnings calls with your team to rehearse responses and ensure everyone is aligned on key messages. This exercise will also help you find opportunities to refine your messages where needed. Consider involving external advisors to simulate the experience of facing analysts' inquiries.
4. Don’t underestimate the power of visuals
Use visual aids during your call – such as charts, graphs and infographics – to help communicate complex financial data, illustrate trends and patterns in performance, and make it easier for stakeholders to understand the key points.
5. Create an agenda and stick to it
Respect your audience's time by adhering to the scheduled start and end times. Begin with a brief agenda overview and set aside specific time slots for prepared remarks, Q&A and closing statements. Encourage participants to submit questions for the Q&A in advance of the call so you can review and prioritize them based on relevance.
6. Be ready to address tough questions:
Expect challenging questions from analysts and investors and be ready to handle them with grace and transparency. If you don't have an immediate answer, commit to finding a response after further research and following up. As mentioned above, rehearsing anticipated questions prior to the event can help ensure you aren’t caught off guard.
Webcasting or livestreaming your call will enable you to reach wider audiences and enhance the effectiveness of your message. Consider utilizing your webcams in a controlled webcasting experience so your audience can see you and submit questions over the web, increasing the engagement opportunities. Consider partnering with a third-party production company that specializes in earnings calls to ensure everything goes smoothly and all you need to worry about is getting your message across. For audio or video webcasts, your event will be polished and professional, setting the right image to your shareholders and analysts.
8. Record, transcribe and share:
Record the earnings call for those who can’t make it live and make it available for replay on your company's website via the webcast archive, or phone replay. If you can, provide a transcript for those who prefer to read or search for specific information. The more accessible you make your earnings call and the information in it, the more you build transparency (and trust) with key stakeholders.
9. Do a debrief:
After the earnings call, conduct a post-call debrief with your team to assess what went well and what could be improved. Analyze feedback from investors and analysts to understand their perspectives and expectations. Use this insight to refine your approach for future calls.
When it comes to earnings calls, you want to be sure you’re doing everything possible to communicate your company's financial performance clearly, transparently and with impact. Effective communication during earnings calls can enhance shareholder trust, contribute to positive market reactions, and solidify your reputation as a proficient investor relations professional.
Kelly Henson is senior manager of operations, multimedia at Cision
This content is provided by Cision and did not involve IR Magazine journalists. For further information on Cision please click here.