Wednesday, September 18, 2013
The Ten Most Common Investor Presentation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
By Thomas Murrell MBA, CSP International Business Speaker
Having spent time listening to nearly 60 investor presentations recently its time to analyse what works and what doesn't.
I attended two international conferences and was the MC of the technical session for one where I caught up with fellow professional MC and former Australian Broadcasting Corporation broadcaster Gerry Gannon (pictured).
These are the most common mistakes CEOs and Directors make when trying to communicate their business strategy, competitive position and value proposition for an investor audience.
And of course there are tips on how to overcome these mistakes.
So here are The Ten Most Common Investor Presentation Mistakes and What to Do About Them.
1. Poor Set Up
How a CEO or Director is introduced is critical to the success of an investor presentation.
Do not leave this to chance!
This is the first message an investor audience will hear about the investment opportunity.
Do not let it be an uncontrolled message.
Always write an introduction for the MC or person who introduces the speaker. Or get your PR person to do this.
One of the main reasons investors will part with money is the quality of management.
Make sure sure the introduction highlights the qualifications and experience of the person giving the presentation.
2. Complex Business Strategy
Most investors will turn off if the business strategy is too complex.
The most successful investments have a simple business strategy.
Think Google, Microsoft and Ikea.
How can you make the value proposition simple and easy to understand?
3. Information Overload
Too much content is the most common mistake I see.
The presenter somehow needs to explain every tiny detail and audiences just switch off!
Symptoms include the speaker going over time, looking at the screen for long periods of time or reading notes.
Remember the presentation is about the spoken word not the written word!
Save the minutiae for the detailed and written Prospectus, Quarterly or Annual Report.
4. Lack of Confidence in Content
If you don't have confidence in your content and investor message how can potential investors?
You need to believe very strongly in your business case, competitive position or value proposition.
You need to be able to recite this off by heart.
5. Poor Visuals
The symptoms are presenters use the slides as speech notes.
Visuals should be treated like a TV screen.
Common mistakes are too many competing images/photos on a slide.
Other mistakes are on the master template footer no page numbers and no website to drive people there for more detail.
Other mistakes are getting into the "Header: Bullet Point" trap of every slide having this format rather than really good graphics.
I mean digital, slick graphics that I call "eye candy".
It is just good to visually look at.
That brings me to my next point.
6. Too Many Bullet Points Per Page
Yes, it's true. I heard a presentation that had eight bullet points on a page.
No more than three please.
7. Visual Distractions
The quality of your design reflects the reputation of your company.
Don't skimp on this.
If you look cheap and nasty - no one will invest.
Always get an external professional to have input into your visuals and speech.
You can be too close to your content.
And when you get on stage to present - take your name badge or lapel badge off.
This will give you more power and authority because the badge or security tag is just a visual distraction.
8. Headers That Are Descriptive and Functional With No Benefit
Here's the header "About XXX Company" followed by eight bullet points.
It is much better to have a benefit laden message in the header rather than a purely functional or descriptive phrase.
For example, instead of having "About XXX Company" - have the value proposition in the Header.
Keep this to five words or less.
If you want simple background to the company - when started, how big etc - have this in the formal structured introduction.
9. Poor Structure
Do you really want to start your presentation with a disclaimer?
The lawyers will tell you this is the most important slide in your deck.
Don't listen to them.
I know lawyers who are now CEOs of publicly listed companies and they put the disclaimers last in the slide deck.
Disclaimers are there for compliance not impact!
OK, so you say let's start with the corporate structure of the company?
Who owns shares, how many shares on offer etc?
Is this really the best you can hit me with as a potential investor? Your company structure?
I'm interested in this one overall question?
What is the compelling reason to invest? I call this the CR2I.
Your CR2I should set you apart from all others and answer these questions.
What is your unique selling proposition (USP)?
What is your sustainable competitive advantage (CSA)?
What is your RPOD (Reputational Point of Difference)
What is your strategy to leverage the opportunity?
What is the upside for investors?
What is the exit strategy?
What is your ability to execute the strategy?
What is the reputation, credibility, experience and qualifications of the people involved?
All this information is of far more interest than corporate structures.
And can you explain all of the above in one visual or one memorable and sticky phrase or tagline?
10. No Call to Action
What do you want investors to do after hearing your speech?
Fill in the Prospectus?
Call their stockbroker?
Write out a cheque?
Visit your booth at the trade show?
Please consider Tuesday 8th October, 9.30am to 1.00pm, HLB Mann Judd, L4, 130 Stirling Street, Perth, Australia.
Presentation Skills Masterclass - Powerful & Persuasive Speech-writing.
Numbers limited so book here.