There are few things in business that are as high profile and potentially as high stress as an earnings call. It can spook investors if it seems sloppy or unclear. Presenting with confidence and clarity is paramount.
Here are 5 keys to remember when preparing for an earnings call:
- Start now: Too often preparation for the next call is scheduled months down the road after the end of the previous quarter. The sooner you start the fresher the thoughts of how the last call went, the better you can prepare for the next one. Having enough lead time is also key in getting the consensus of management.
- Script with clarity: Identifying the key elements of the message are important, but ensuring the script flows well, is interesting, and the readers can deliver it with genuine enthusiasm is a true art form. When scripting, allow for critiquing in the early phases of the draft. This will help keep the process moving and likely avoid complete rewrites later on.
- Timing Is Everything: Be aware of when other industry players are announcing their earnings. If you end up head to head with one of the “big guys”, you may end up having your call attended by junior analysts and not the target audience you desired.
- Practice, Practice, Practice: Be sure to record your speakers so that you and others can listen to the script read aloud. It is amazing how something on paper can sound so different when spoken. It is wise to utilize the call provider you intend on using the day of the call for the practice run as well. This can help identify possible technical issues.
- Think Like An Angry Investor: When preparing answers to possible questions, be sure to have a critical spirit. It is embarrassing and damaging to be caught off guard by a frustrated investor. One simple question that has an inadequate answer can sour the whole call.
Earnings calls are more than a platform to disseminate information, they are an opportunity to build your brand, increase investor confidence, and rise above the competition. Put your best foot forward and prepare well.