Rob Swystun, Pristine Advisers
Should you pre-record the intro to your sales earnings call? Tim Howard over at IR Smartt thinks so and he has some compelling arguments in favor of it.
Keep in mind, he’s not talking about pre-recording the entire call beforehand and foregoing the Q&A session. That would be disastrous. He’s just talking about the intro part with all the numbers that the CEO typically reads out loud as his or her mouth slowly loses all moisture.
Read on to find out why you should strongly consider pre-recording this section of your sales earning calls.
Chances are you’re going to be sending out an earnings release and the CEO would more than likely just be reading the content of that release or reading a statement similar to it. And while investors and analysts alike want to hear the CEO, it’s not hearing them read that’s important to them. They want to get the insights behind why certain decisions were made and what the CEO thinks about the state of the market, the company’s place within that market and a hundred other things. This means that you can pre-record the reading part without losing anything from the call. And, in fact, you may even gain something.
Some CEOs are perfectly comfortable doing the call live and can pull it off without a hitch. Others, not so much. By recording the intro ahead of time, the CEO gets to relax, knowing that if things go awry, it can always just be redone and there’s not dozens of people out there hearing those mistakes at that moment. The CEO also gets to exhude that desired air of confidence, speaking in a relaxed tone and getting things right rather than risking those “uh” and “umm” moments that really affect the listeners’ perception of what’s being said and who’s saying it.
The CEO will also be better prepared for the Q&A session. The last thing anyone wants to do right after reading for 15 minutes straight is jump into a bunch of probing questions. This way, the CEO can listen to themselves reading along with everyone else and be ready for those questions when they start flying.
It’s not just about making things easier for the CEO or whoever else may be reading those long statements during the call. Analysts can also benefit from a pre-recorded call by getting access to it prior to the actual call. Release it with the rest of the earnings after market close and it gives analysts at least 12 hours to digest it fully before the Q&A starts. They’ll have time to formulate thoughtful questions and have them ready and written out so they don’t end up asking one of those long rambling questions that they’re making up in their head on the fly.
As these analysts will likely be doing a bunch of calls in one day, they’ll greatly appreciate getting the opportunity to listen to the intro at their convenience.
I used to have to do audio editing for someone on a daily basis who was incapable of reading a prepared statement without the uhs and umms and he insisted that all of those be taken out. And while you can usually do it fairly smoothly, it’s time consuming and annoying for the person who has to do it. Probably the best way to “edit” the pre-recorded part of your call is just to do a set number of takes and choose the best one.
There is always the chance when doing things live that your CEO or CFO might let something slip that hasn’t been covered in the earnings release, which makes things awkward and a little panicky. Pre-recording the intro, of course, eliminates this risk. (You can even have your general counsel give it a listen ahead of time, something you obviously can’t do live.)
With all these advantages of pre-recording your call intro, isn’t it about time you turned your CEO into a recording star?