Financially Responsible Marketing

Presenting Your Kickass Investor Relations Deck, part 2 of 2

Posted by on May 27, 2015

This is the second of two posts on how to create a successful Investor Relations (IR) deck. In the first, we focused on how to build your IR presentation deck. This post focuses on presenting your slides.


If your audience doesn’t ask questions about your investment opportunity, you know your message has not been received. Here are five steps to engaging your investor audience so that they ask those critical questions.

Keep in mind that for a successful IR presentation, you present to your audience, not reading. This alone will protect you from the errors that derail most presentations.


Presenting your investor relations deck

You’ve already completed Step One – a tight, focused story

Let’s say you have followed the suggestions in Part One of this blog. Your clear and concise slides cover the bases and:

  • Focus on only 1-3 opportunities, with enough to entice but not enough to overwhelm
  • Contain ruthlessly edited text, in a minimum 18-point font (keep additional text hidden in the speaking points, not on the slides)
  • Create a feeling of anticipation for the opportunity ­– less is more!


Step Two – getting to Carnegie Hall

All you need to do now is present your deck well. What are the keys to that?

  1. What qualifies you to get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice. You cannot be too well prepared . Know your slides cold. Know your speaking notes cold. (How much money are you asking for? Is it worth a few hours of knowing and nailing your pitch? Why should they invest in you, if you haven’t invested the time to present well to them?)
  2. Be flexible. Your deck is not cast in concrete. Adapt your presentation to the needs, size, interests and nature of your audience. (The better you know your material and your message, the better you’ll be able to do this.) To earn maximum return from every presentation, you must be able to revise on the fly.
  3. Get your eyes off your slides. An engaged presenter captures attention. Look up, talk to, connect with your audience.


Step Three – the finer points

Here are a few tips to improve your presentation:

  • When you present to a larger audience, use fly-ins (the animated PowerPoint feature that allows you to bring in bullet points separately, with a mouse-click).
  • Feel free to skim by some slides – particularly bios, financials and comparables – your audience can review them later.
  • Be flexible. Some presentations may be electronic, some by conference call, some in-person with a printed copy.
  • Print your presentation single-sided, giving your audience plenty of space to make notes.
  • If presenting isn’t your strong suit, hire a professional to help you improve. Either way, keep practicing. Practice to friends and family. Practice, revise and fine-tune your speaking notes to help your delivery.
  • Ideally, you’ll present with 2 people, 1 to tell the story and 1 to back up the number questions (i.e. CEO, CFO, COO). Never present with more than 3.
  • Assign anyone on your team who is not currently speaking or presenting to carefully watch the audience for later de-brief and follow-up.


Step 4: Read your audience, not your slides!

Having a tight, well-prepared presentation means that you control the presentation, it doesn’t control you.  As you present, you can breathe, think, and watch:

  • Read your audience – always be watching to see if you have their attention. Pick one person to present to, generally the most senior. Institutional investors see scores of these things. Watch what page your audience is on … stay in sync. Never be afraid of having them take you out of sequence – just make sure you circle back to get your key points in.
  • Don’t be afraid to repeat the 4 or 5 strong points you have in your presentation. Repetition is the mother of learning. Hit them 3 times: Tell them what you are going to tell them; tell them the story; tell them what you told them.


Step 5: Not afraid of asking the tough ones, are they?

You can’t know what your audience will ask, yet you have to be prepared. This is your chance to shine; your answers will be the most-remembered part of your presentation:

  • Anticipate the questions. Be ready to deal with whatever your audience throws at you.
  • Be confident: you may be delivering good news and bad news but don’t duck the bad news questions. This builds trust.
  • When you get questions on your numbers – which you will – be ready to explain but do not ad lib. They’ll be taking notes, careless answers will come back to haunt you.

Here are critical questions you want to be prepared for:

  1. Why are you going public?
  2. How can you identify the scope of the market you are entering or are in?
  3. How do you really identify the opportunities going forward?
  4. What are your growth goals? (e.g. revenue, market cap)


Bonus marks: hit your points hard, but leave something on the table!

How many presentations have you been to where the next day, you remembered no compelling story? Focus down hard on your key messages, make sure your audience leaves with them implanted in their minds. And don’t be afraid to hit your audience with your strong points again when answering questions!



Veteran’s tip: Try to leave something on the table (in terms of numbers, business climate, growth, etc.). You’ll never make the sale in just one presentation. Under-promising and over-delivering makes a follow-up presentation much easier.