Roadshows – What’s the (non) Deal ?

roadshow

Roadshows are when you meet fund managers, analysts and other investors and try to present your company and promote your stock. The indicators that it is working are that they:

 

 

  • Monitor your stock
  • Join future earnings and conference calls
  • Come to your presentations
  • Meet you next time
  • Buy your stock

Looks like the investors have to make all the running. So what do you have to do to invest in the relationship?

At a recent CFO forum on IR here the magic number for meeting investors was at least 3 or 4 times a year with 7 – 8 times a year being suggested.

That’s a lot of plane trips for the average overworked CFO. But these days Investor Relations means just that: Relations with the Company Leadership – like the great team I was working with this week. One handshake and you get it that they can do the job.

Ah the human touch. Greeting, Talking, Eating. Spending Time with real people in a room.

Investors in the largest institutions are no different to anyone else. Despite all our technological toys no human heart ever warmed to the glow of a laptop screen.

Fly, My Beauties. Make friends and relations.

How to Tell A Story

storytellingThese days, you cannot hope to keep an audience listening to you if you don’t include stories. Businesses are full of stories; how the product was designed, how the founders started, what the market wants ….. You just have to know how to tell it. Here is the essential guide.

  1. Plan your story starting with the takeaway message. Think about what’s important to the audience. The ending is the most important point of the story. This is the message we want to deliver, and the one that will linger with the audience.
  1. Keep your stories short for the workplace. Three to five minutes long is about what people can digest in today’s ADD world.
  1. Good stories are about challenge or conflict. Without these elements, stories aren’t very interesting. The compelling part of a story is how people deal with conflict–-so start with the people and the conflict.
  1. Think about your story like a movie. Imagine you are screenwriter with a goal to get your message across. The story has to have a beginning, middle, and end
  1. Start with a person and his challenge, and intensify human interest by adding descriptions of time, place, and people with their emotions.
  1. Be creative. A good story always has ups and downs, so “arc” the story. Pull people along, and introduce tension, just like in a fairy tale. (“From out of nowhere, the wolf jumps onto the path…”)
  1. Intensify the story with vivid language and intonation. Tap into people’s emotions with language. Use metaphors, idioms, and parables that have emotional associations.

Most of us have not told stories in front of an audience since English class in high school. So you will need to practice.

 

Warren Buffet’s Investor Relations

doris-warren-bertie-as-kids

Warren Buffett explains investor relations using a couple of close relations – his sisters.
“When writing Berkshire Hathaway’s annual report, I pretend that I’m talking to my sisters.
I have no trouble picturing them: Though highly intelligent, they are not experts in accounting or finance. They will understand plain English, but jargon may puzzle them.
My goal is simply to give them the information I would wish them to supply me if our positions were reversed.
To succeed, I don’t need to be Shakespeare; I must, though, have a sincere desire to inform.
No siblings to write to? Borrow mine: Just begin with “Dear Doris and Bertie.”
And just in case the Sisterhood detect a whiff of sexist bias let me add that this works for any Tom, Dick or Harry as well.
http://www.sec.gov/news/extra/handbook.htm

The Shapes of Stories

Kurt Vonnegut was a master storyteller. In four and a half minutes he shows the emotional journeys that give stories their shape. It is brilliant and witty and worth a look.

Thanks to Park Howell for drawing our attention to this gem on his great blog at parkhowell.com.

Our Top 10 Storytelling tips – in Fast Company!

Check out our 10 Top Storytelling Tips from Susan Fisher in this Fast Company piece by David Lavenda

ONCE UPON A TIME AT THE OFFICE: 10 STORYTELLING TIPS TO HELP YOU BE MORE PERSUASIVE

BY: DAVID LAVENDA


Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom, there was a salesman who traveled the countryside, peddling his wares. Everyone loved his product except the evil king, who wanted to do away with it. One day the king said, “This product is ruining my kingdom and I want to destroy it. If anyone has a reason for why this product should live, let him come hither and speak now.” Out of the crowd came a voice. “I think this product is great and I can prove it,” said the brave salesman. “Then come to my palace tomorrow morning and prove to me why this is so,” said the king. And so the salesman went home and prepared PowerPoint slide after PowerPoint slide filled with endless statistics and dizzying market projection graphs.

On the morrow, the salesman turned up at the palace. “Show me why I should spare your miserable product,” said the king. The salesmen opened his trusty laptop and started to plow through his heaping deck of slides. Starting with a company background, the salesman went on to show market trend graphs, customer case studies, and then analyst quotes. The king began to squirm on his throne. When a return on investment spreadsheet appeared on slide 47, the king finally had enough. “Off with your head,” said the king. “Originally, I only wanted to kill your product, but this presentation is criminal.”

Funny story, but you get the point. The point is a message was delivered using a story, not a statistic or an analyst quote.

Much has been written lately about the efficacy of storytelling in the workplace. Most of it is based on a general feeling that stories “work.” “Persuasion is the centerpiece of business activity,” says screenwriter Robert McKee in an HBR article entitled “Storytelling That Works.” “Trying to convince people with logic is tough for two reasons. One is they are arguing with you in their heads while you are making your argument. Second, if you do succeed in persuading them, you’ve done so only on an intellectual basis. That’s not good enough, because people are not inspired to act by reason alone.”

But there’s more proof of storytelling’s effectiveness than just anecdotal evidence. For example, studies carried out by Melanie C. Green and Timothy C. Brock at Ohio State University have empirically shown that people’s beliefs can be swayed more effectively through storytelling than through logical arguments. The researchers posit that persuasion is most effective when people are “transported” to another place using a story.

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down to discuss this topic with Susan Fisher, a strategic communication expert and principal at First Class. “People are always telling stories; why don’t they do it at work?” asks Fisher. “It’s because they have been taught that at work you use logic and slides and statistics; this seems more professional. Telling stories seems too emotional and possibly manipulative. So people stick to facts and numbers. But the truth is that real emotions always work better, because that is the way to reach hearts and minds, and also people get to see the real you. It’s authentic.”

While we are all intuitively storytellers, I asked Fisher to share some of her insights about where professionals most often need to focus when telling stories in the workplace. Here are Fisher’s top 10 tips for becoming a more effective storyteller at work:

  1. Plan your story starting with the takeaway message. Think about what’s important to the audience. The ending is the most important point of the story. This is the message we want to deliver, and the one that will linger with the audience.
  2. Keep your stories short for the workplace. Three to five minutes long is about what people can digest in today’s ADD world.
  3. Good stories are about challenge or conflict. Without these elements, stories aren’t very interesting. The compelling part of a story is how people deal with conflict–-so start with the people and the conflict.
  4. Think about your story like a movie. Imagine you are screenwriter with a goal to get your message across. The story has to have a beginning, middle, and end.
  5. Start with a person and his challenge, and intensify human interest by adding descriptions of time, place, and people with their emotions.
  6. Be creative. Create a storyboard; draw it out, while listening to music or reading something for inspiration. A good story always has ups and downs, so “arc” the story. Pull people along, and introduce tension, just like in a fairy tale. (“From out of nowhere, the wolf jumps onto the path…”)
  7. Intensify the story with vivid language and intonation. Tap into people’s emotions with language. Use metaphors, idioms, and parables that have emotional associations. (Note: For more on this, see Leo Widrich’s article entitled, “Which Words Matter Most When You Talk” and studies on intonation performed by Ingrid Johnsrude at Cambridge University).
  8. When using a story in a PowerPoint presentation, use appropriate graphics/pictures to convey your message. Stay away from text and complicated graphics. A single picture interlaced with emotional language will go a long way to convey your message.
  9. Most of us have not told stories in front of an audience since English class in high school. So you will need to practice. Tell your story in front of a friendly audience and get feedback. Gauge your pace, and take note of the story’s length and your use of language. It will be a bit rusty at first, but underneath it all, we are all born storytellers.
  10. The most important point is to make the switch within; because once you internalize that today’s “left-brain” communication style doesn’t work very well and you realize that stories are how people really communicate, you will find it a lot easier to proceed…because it’s authentic. And that is what really persuades.

Fisher also recommends signing up for a storytelling workshop. There are even workshops you can do online; find more information here.

Finally, in the words of Ira Glass, “Great stories happen to those who tell them.” So tell them…and live happily ever after.

http://www.fastcompany.com/3015140/leadership-now/once-upon-a-time-at-the-office-10-storytelling-tips-to-help-you-be-more-persu

It’s all in the Story….

You can get over both information and experience in a more compelling way if you turn it into a story.Watching skilled speakers will show you how that works on you as a listener.

Here are the basic tips to get you started.

1. Don’t report information. Rather turn it into a story.

Here’s an example.

A report would tell us that Alan Smith is the CEO of an internet security startup, while a story might say with “Alan was sitting in a college seminar one day when he saw the gap in the market that his startup was going to fill.”
If you feel you need to stay with a report format a possible solution is to combine it.
This may be made up of both a factual report and story elements :
• Narrative start – an introductory story
• Factual details – the report
• Narrative End – go back to the story .

2. Collect telling details.

Give the details of the scene. Imagine you are describing the first few shots of a movie. Say wht you saw, heard, felt.

“I had just arrived in the office on Friday morning on a boiling day in August at the end of a very difficult week when I first saw the email that we were to go through another reorganization. I was feeling …..”

3. Pick out the human angle or an interesting facet.

“I was talking to a client last week who told us that this solution means he has more time to volunteer for the community project the company is doing.”

4. Generate suspense with a question or a dilemma.

Which is more compelling?

We were wondering when to introduce localized versions of the product.
OR
Within months IT people from around the world were getting in touch with us to ask us when it would be available in Indian, Chinese, so the question is how do we approach those markets….”

5. Give your story a human voice.

Try and make the language you use sound like they came from a real person.
Quote them directly (the actual words they said) rather than indirectly.
Compare:
Jane told us that the program was good.
OR
I bumped into Jane on the way to lunch last week and she said “Great work. The program is exactly what we want.”

6. Use rich and vibrant language

Enjoy putting together your stories and express yourself in the most interesting and textured way possible.

Here is a good example of that which uses an interesting combination of lyrical and everyday language.

Bono: Introduction The Book of Psalms ( Pocket Canons)
At the age of 12, I was a fan of David. He felt familiar, like a pop star could feel familiar. The words of the psalms were as poetic as they were religious, and he was a star. Before David could fulfil the prophecy and become the king of Israel, he had to take quite a beating. He was forced into exile and ended up in a cave in some no-name border town facing the collapse of his ego and abandonment by God. But this is where the soap opera got interesting. This is where David was said to have composed his first psalm — a blues. That’s what a lot of the psalms feel like to me, the blues. Man shouting at God.

Presentation Design: The Latest Word

Has the world got it yet? Have we all got it that when it comes to presentations – and particularly PowerPoint – that less is more?

Less presentations

Less slides

Less text

Less stuff on the slides

BUT

More thought

More creativity

More images.

Here are the links to the sites of two of the design gurus who are spreading the word.

Nancy Duarte

http://blog.duarte.com/

Garr Reynolds

http://www.presentationzen.com/