An earnings conference call is a way for companies to relay information to all interested parties, including institutional and individual investors, as well as certain analysts. Business leaders use these earnings calls to highlight successes during prosperous times and calm fears during adverse ones. Many companies do these calls immediately following the release of their quarterly financial results. Besides keeping current shareholders up-to-date, earnings calls are an opportunity to attract new potential investors and increase their company’s value. To help businesses get the most of these meetings, here are five ways business leaders can improve their earnings conference call.
As much as the information to be presented, the audience of a conference call can affect how well the event goes and the how much of a positive benefit it has for the company. Traditionally, these calls are made available to investors and analysts. Choosing analysts and investors who will ask thoughtful questions and get the most out of the presentation can help the most important parts of the call spread to other people.
Because of the things that need to be discussed during an earnings conference call, most of these calls aren’t the most exciting presentations. Often, the financial presentation at the beginning of a call sounds like an accountant reciting tax rules. Ensuring that the audience includes people who can make sense of this information can help the call be a success.
When inviting people to attend the live earnings conference call, make sure they know that they will be able to ask questions. This will give them time to prepare good questions before the event and gives them an incentive to pay attention to the numbers, since they may want to ask a question about them later. By using tools, like the Operated Assisted Plus call feature from The Conference Group, it’s possible to keep track of who is attending and what questions they are asking.
With so many companies hosting earnings conference calls throughout the year, it can be difficult for smaller organizations to get attention for their calls. Keep in mind that there is an “earning season”, the various times throughout the year when a lot of companies release data and host earnings calls. To get the most exposure for an earnings conference call, it’s best to schedule it during the period when analyst and journalists are looking for things to write about and share with clients.
It’s also a good idea to avoid competing with larger organizations for the attention of the public and the media for an earnings conference call. As an extreme example, it’s not a great idea to host an earnings call at the same time (or day) as a call for a major company like Apple, Samsung or Google. All of the media and attention will be focused on these big players and it’s more likely that a smaller company’s earning conference call will go unnoticed.
Though it’s called an earnings conference call, there’s no rule saying that the meetings must be held via a conference call. Using a video meeting or a webinar format gives businesses the opportunity to supplement the audio portion of their earnings call with charts or other visual aids. As mentioned before, earnings conference calls are very data heavy, so anything that makes the information easier to visualize and digest can help the presentation.
Video meetings can be a great tool for earnings conference calls, since each department head can take turns speaking about their area of expertise. Switching out the voice and face keeps the presentation from getting stale. Watching and listening to the same person speak for 45 minutes can get boring. Using videos of the various department heads or animated charts to show growth can do a lot to turn an earnings presentation into something to remember.
This may seem like obvious advice, but it’s something that even the richest people on the planet can forget when hosting earnings calls. In 2018, Elon Musk made headlines multiple times because of his behavior during his earnings call.
Earnings call can be dry and boring affairs, but that is to be expected from a meeting designed to review revenue numbers. It’s fine to spice up an earning calls with a joke or something to make the presentation more engaging, but that’s no excuse for being unprofessional during the call. As the example above shows, there is such a thing as bad publicity, so make sure your earnings calls maintain the proper decorum.
Most investors and analysts are on the lookout for anything that can make it seem like the earnings call is being hyped up by the company. One of the things that people check for are the kinds of people who are called on to ask questions. If the organization that is hosting the earnings call only selects people who ask easy questions that make the company look good, it creates the appearance that the entire earning calls could be an elaborate song and dance.
It’s understandable that businesses want their earnings conference call to go well, but that’s no excuse for only allowing prepared questions and answers. Just as the fake laughter can make a sitcom seem less funny, an earning call without hard-hitting questions can be less effective at getting investors excited about a company’s position. Even if it risks the occasional unfriendly question, taking questions from a diverse group of people can help an earnings call be more authentic.
For more advice on hosting more-effective remote meetings, whether they’re conference calls, video meetings or webinars, speak to a meeting specialist from The Conference Group.