With no definitive end of the COVID-19 impact in sight, and postponing no longer being an option in most cases, IROs need to find an alternative to physical events to stay connected with investors and stakeholders. Webcasts and virtual events are replacing in-person gatherings as a means of engaging the investor community. While most IROs have experience presenting their earnings via webcast, not many have experienced a fully virtual event, as online events are typically streamed physical events.
Losing the opportunity to solidify the relationship in-person may hurt, but it doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Virtual events and webcasts enable quick and effective communication with shareholders while providing the opportunity to reach potential investors who may not have been previously accessible. However, engaging an audience in a virtual environment and delivering a successful event is different from in-person.
To help you catch and keep the attention of investors during a virtual event, we connected with the Q4 Events Team. They provided us with their best practices for a successful virtual event:
Understand the technical requirements:
Calvin Yeung: The requirements for a virtual event can vary, just like a traditional in-person event, but it really comes down to the desired scope and available technology. A virtual event could be audio-only with slides or include live video and screen sharing. These latter options would, of course, be limited by the company’s equipment and AV knowledge, as the set up is slightly more complex than a standard audio-only webcast.
At a bare minimum, the company would need to consider their internet bandwidth, as the lack of adequate bandwidth can impact delivery and quality and each speaker would have to have access to a laptop, a phone, and a good quality headset.
Create a presentation that is engaging in a virtual environment:
Dianna Hill: You need to be deliberate about how you design your slides to keep them engaged. Additionally, unlike a traditional meeting, we recommend having a lot of slides so you can move to the next one quickly to keep your audience’s attention in the virtual world.
Break apart your slides where possible, so there is only a snippet or two of information on each. Use powerful visuals to take the place of too much text. And don’t fall into a rut with every slide looking the same. Stay on brand while introducing variety by using a full-screen image or a solid-color slide with a few key messages rather than repurposing the same old text template, slide after slide.
Conduct presentation training for speakers:
Lucas Archer: Engaging with an audience that can’t be seen is a skill that requires practice. Instead of using gestures, instruct your presenters to use vocal variety to capture audience attention. If your presenter will be on video, be sure the area behind them is clear of any distractions. In terms of delivery, make sure your presenter practices and doesn’t wait till the last minute to review the material. Conveying confidence and delivering a clear message is essential to building trust with your audience. Remember, they’re not just investing in your company, they’re investing in your leadership team – so help them put their best foot forward. And if your presenter will be controlling the slides, be sure to do a test run to ensure they are comfortable with the technology to avoid any mishaps during the live presentation.
Use the tools available to engage your audience:
Victoria Wicks: There are many ways to maintain engagement during a virtual event. The webcasting platform has several engagement tools that can be leveraged to create a more interactive environment, including Q&A, group chat, and polling, along with video or slide presentations. Related content can also be shared directly through the platform by attaching documents to the console to be easily downloaded.
Webcasts that utilize the speaker’s webcam allows for a more engaging experience vs. audio-only. Participants are able to interact through the Q&A widget, with questions going directly to the speakers, and those dialed into the conference call can ask questions over the phone.
Additionally, by utilizing our webcast’s multi-registration and Call-to-Action features, you can create a virtual experience that guides the audience from one event to multiple breakout sessions.
Follow-up on any questions not answered during the Q&A portion:
Lucas Archer: If there are any questions that were submitted but weren’t answered during the call, they can be answered and shared after (ideally, posted in the same place as the recording of your virtual event). And to maintain compliance with Reg-FD, the question and answer document would include any of the information used by the attendee at the time they registered, along with the question they’ve asked and response from the company’s representative.
Effectively connecting and engaging your investors is essential to communicating your unique corporate value and strengthening relationships. Leveraging these best practices in your next virtual event will help you build confidence with stakeholders by delivering an impactful experience. To learn how Q4 partners with clients to plan and execute a virtual event that resonates, visit our website.