Investor Relations: Executive Presence and Communicating with Confidence

As the former VP of Investor Relations at NI for more than 15 years, I understand the expectations of executives when communicating with all critical stakeholders. Preparation is key, and ensuring your message is delivered with confidence, credibility, and consistency is crucial. I believe every engagement is an opportunity to build trust, inspire confidence, and drive meaningful outcomes for your business.

When assessing an executive’s readiness, there are four critical pillars of focus.

1. Prepare Your Message

Tailor your message to the ways in which a stakeholder (investor, customer, employee, or partner) evaluates your business. Ensure you focus on each audience’s topics of interest.

Crafting an investment thesis is a good place to start. Prepare the top 3 to 5 key messages you want the contact to better understand about your business or financial performance. Did you have a tough quarter? Share how you plan to pivot the strategy. Differentiate yourself from the competition by weaving in your culture and purpose while highlighting your executive leadership team.

2. Present with Confidence

Even the most seasoned executives need to practice and refine the delivery of the corporate narrative. Practice makes perfect, but you don’t need to be so rehearsed that you sound scripted.

Leadership presence can showcase confidence and build trust with all stakeholders. Use strategic pauses when you want the audience to fully understand a key point. Think more talk and fewer slides. The audience should be focused on you and what you are saying, rather than the slides behind you.

Command the room and remember research shows it is 7% the words you say, 38% tone, and more than 55% body language. Knowing your message only gets you so far. It is all in the delivery.

Studies by Albert Mehrabian found what is known as the 7/38/55 Formula in the late 1960s.

3. In-person Engagements

What makes a good meeting? Control the conversation and pace of the meeting.

  • Conversation at times may be ambiguous, so always check for clarity and understanding along the way.
  • If in a group setting, acknowledge all contacts and give them each time to speak. You may need to level-set the group at the start if not all are entering with conversation with the same level of knowledge.
  • Slides can serve as a nice backdrop to topics where data is easily presented.
  • If sitting at a table, sit straight up and position your feet firmly on the ground.
  • Make it a two-way discussion. As much as they learn from you, you can learn from them too. People appreciate being asked for their knowledge and opinions.

4. Question and Answer (Q&A) Preparation

Q&A is always a guarantee, whether a presentation is shared with a large audience or a small group meeting. Plan for the toughest questions and prepare your response in advance for confidence.

Ensure responses are consistent with what has been shared in other forums, so the story does not seem to be changing frequently. Not all questions asked must be answered. At times, the information may be material and not disclosed by the business. And it is always OK to follow-up later if the data is not at your fingertips. Stick to the facts and keep your responses short and concise to prevent vague answers.

Enhance your Executive Presence Today

With a little practice and the right focus, executives of all backgrounds and personality types can establish a great presence and communicate with confidence. To review a few key takeaways:

  • Always prepare
  • Know your message
  • Less slides more talk
  • Concise responses
  • Pause for emphasis
  • Control the dialogue

At CCN, we provide executive readiness as part of our investor relations consulting services. You’ll learn all about stakeholder expectations and ways to ensure quality engagements.

Contact us today to enhance your executive presence and elevate your IR program.

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