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10/24/2012

Presenting Your Investment Research: Six Elements of an Expert Presentation


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We have covered writing your research report, but what about presenting it orally to an audience? No matter what the occasion, successful analysts know how to persuade a room full of clients and/or colleagues that the insights in the written report are a must-read. Here are the elements of an expert presentation:

  • Remember, when it comes to PowerPoint, less is more. Today's audiences are easily bored. A seemingly endless parade of slide after slide crowded with microscopic type and unreadable graphs and charts is deadly. They are monotonous and make the audience passive. Fewer slides with fewer words—and more images—are more convincing.
  • Maintain eye contact with everyone in your audience. Look around the room. Your goal is to engage everyone, not just one person or a select group. Eye contact will also help you gage whether people in the room are following your line of thinking—or whether you should stop and ask for questions or comments.
  • Refuse to be derailed by nervousness. Great speakers are always at least a bit nervous. It's natural. In fact, it's healthy. It means you care about what you're presenting, and you care about your audience. Chances are, only you know you're nervous. And, really, so what if you "mess up" a bit? Cheerfully apologize. Keep on presenting. You're the expert on the research. Your goal is to educate your audience and help them understand your point of view. What may be obvious to you is not necessarily obvious to your colleagues or clients.
  • Slow down, don't rush. Do not babble—especially when you're making an important point. Slow down. You want to convey confidence, so present your research in a relaxed, conversational style. You are engaging in a conversation with your audience, so avoid the temptation to race to get it over.
  • Know when to stop talking. Sometimes, a strategic pause helps emphasize a key point you want to make. Learn to tolerate silence. Plus, answer audience questions crisply. Do not drone on continously. This is a presentation, not a test of everything you have ever learned. Again, your goal is to present yourself as the expert who is eager to help others understand the research.
  • Leave the furniture alone. Presenters who cling to, or hang on to, the podium while they're speaking, lose the opportunity to connect to the audience. Use a wireless remote to enable you to move about more freely. It will help you convey energy and personality. Then, you become the message, not the slides.

Fear of pubic speaking is real. Successful analysts face that fear: They know that presenting helps colleagues and clients understand how they contribute to bottom-line success.

–Susan Mach

Susan Mach, PhD, is a communication coach, trainer, and strategist. She teaches management communication part time at major NYC-area business schools, and investment research report writing at NYSSA.

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