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Getting Your Executives to Cut Down their Presentations

November 11, 2008

The first thing I read today was by Carter Lusher on this subject.  He calls it getting them to Change their presentations.

As always it is a good read and of importance to Analyst Relations.  After talking about this subject to analysts before, during and after presentations and conferences, I’ve developed my personal pet peeve list.

His example was an executive using a sales presentation for a deck which happens about 387 out of 365 days a year.

With that lead in, here is the list of issues I’ve thought about having done or been a part of close to 1000 analyst presentation decks (likely over that number).

1. Carter is right, don’t bring your sales presentation to the table, instant credibility loss.

2. If you can’t get your message delivered in 15 charts or less, you likely have clarification issues.

3. Analysts (most people) look at the number of charts and immediately judge what point they are going to listen to before they check email.

4. Send it in advance and ask what is clear and what is important to them to get to the point.  If you have to get through a couple of set up charts fine, but say that in advance.

5. No chart is golden, (many) could (should) be sacrificed.

6. Discussion about strategy and technology is a much better use of time than chart after chart preaching.

7. Don’t take offense in chartsmanship, most people aren’t that good at it.

8. If the analyst wants to go off the charts, be willing to go as long as you stay on topic.

9. Use A/R to speak to the analyst before the briefing/discussion/meeting/conference to see what is the analyst goal and actually make charts to answer the issues, not pound your chest on what your end of year rating is based on.

10. Accept criticism where appropriate, the analyst is right.

11. Never fail to have a chart to say, what do you think or are we on topic, message, right course or other to let the analyst offere advice or opinion.

12. Consider using web conferencing if your audience is over 10 people.

13. Personal opinion here – I hate powerpoint, it’s been used as a crutch for too long and we were able to get our job done well prior to it’s invention.  Please someone invent the next tool.

14. A presentation deck has a life.  Don’t recycle charts too long.  I’ve seen analyst eyes glaze over with “I’ve seen this before blaring in neon” on their face.

15. Be aware of your audience.  We at IBM run more conferences than months in the year by at least double.  I’ve seen the same charts at multiple conferences where I knew their were the same analysts (this is a similar comment to 14).

16. Leave time for questions at the end.  Don’t look at the time and gauge the number of charts you can cram into it.

17. Give the analyst a copy if you haven’t sent it to them upfront.  Sometimes there are circumstances that prevent one from sending early (the executive didn’t finish until 5 minutes before the presentation, been there and done that double digits).

18. If there are multiple executives presenting, have them compare notes prior to the briefing so they don’t conflict or aren’t redundant.

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3 Comments
  1. Hi Jon,

    Good post, would you consider cross-posting it as a best practice on the IIAR blog?

  2. deladequacy permalink

    Yes, would be happy to..just let me know your procedures for doing such. I have a number of best of posts that you may also want. I’m moving my blog right now so also see JohnSimonds.com under the analyst relations category and see if anything is helpful for you.

  3. Hi Jon,

    Great stuff!
    Can you send your email at lleforestier at analystrelationsdotorg and I’ll add you as a contributor to the IIAR blog?

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