4 Tips for Effective Communications in Investor Relations

Posted by | June 10, 2011

I have been invited to moderate the Managing Expectations: Effective Communication for Strategic Events and Audiences Panel at the NIRI Annual Conference this June.  The panel features distinguished speakers who will address the intricacies of communicating about strategic events such as M&A, activists, and crisis management with management, the board, special interest groups, shareholders and employees.  The panel will combine current best practices with personal “war stories” to provide attendees with a “recipe” to effectively manage expectations and communications should any such event arise.

I’ve been involved in special events from just about every angle – as the buyer, seller, as a consultant and as a corporate IR practitioner.  During my talk, I will be examining some keystones for success that I have learned throughout my experience in nearly 40 M&A transactions.

Here are some highlights I will be covering at the conference:

  • Every strategic event is different — There is no cookie-cutter communications playbook, yet there are common elements to managing expectations and communicating effectively.  Identifying the type of event, desired outcome, critical audiences and tools/channels will help focus your message.
  • Effective planning and preparation is essential — You have to think of each disclosure as an opportunity for an IRO to assert leadership.  Gain solid footing in your company’s operations, financial details and strategic direction, it helps you stay ahead of events and communicate with authority.
  • No surprises — It’s unrealistic to expect that everything is going to be perfect; some investors and analysts even prefer to hear the worst case or bad news.  Remember: timing is everything.  A new study out of the University of Texas found companies that wait until the end of the quarter to announce they missed analysts expectations are 45 times more likely to face shareholder lawsuits.
  • Finally, remember the “3 C’s” of communication — Consistency, Clarity, and Credibility.  Would your team benefit from speaker training?  Does your CEO enjoy being interviewed?  Identify a small roster of spokesmen/spokeswomen to speak for your organization.

This is just a small portion of what will be covered in the conference, including talks by other industry executives on crisis management, messaging with success & failure, and activist challenges.  Interwoven throughout these talks will be the influence that new media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, are having on our corporate landscape.

Our panel discussion will take place on Monday, June 13, in Orlando, FL.  You can find more info about the NIRI Conference here.

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