Going Public: Before You File

IPO

In this three-part conversation, Sharon Merrill President and Partner Maureen Wolff shares insights on the IPO process from an investor communications perspective. In this initial conversation, we discuss preparing for life as a public company before the registration statement has been filed.

The Podium: Why do some companies start preparing for an IPO well in advance? 

MW: Planning for an IPO in advance actually leads to a much smoother process and greater success after the IPO. Because the registration process is so intensive and time-consuming, it’s a really good idea to begin thinking and acting like a public company before filing the S-1, S-11 or other relevant registration statement. When you look at the IPOs that have made smooth transitions to the public markets, they are most often those that began the long-term transformation to being a public company very early on.

The Podium: Can you provide an example of how companies should start thinking like a public entity far in advance?

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Presentation Training: Tips and Tricks

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We’ve called upon our resident body language expert, Sharon Merrill EVP and Partner David Calusdian, to teach us to become better speakers – whether at meetings, investor conferences or in more personal settings. This four-part conversation provides a taste of the good, and bad, habits of executive presenters, with a few tips for improvement along the way. Today’s post is the finale in the series.

The Podium: Well, David. This is the moment we’ve been waiting for, when you share your deepest presentation secrets. What are common mistakes you’ve seen presenters make over the years?

DC: Let’s start with nervous habits. Nervous speakers will fiddle or fidget with anything. The reason is that many people do not know what to do with their hands. Some put their hands in their pockets, making them look stiff. Others fiddle with the keys in their pocket, a pen, a wedding ring or other jewelry.

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Presentation Training: Do You Hear What I Hear?

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We’ve called upon our resident body language expert, Sharon Merrill EVP and Partner David Calusdian, to teach us to become better speakers – whether at meetings, investor conferences or in more personal settings. This four-part conversation provides a taste of the good, and bad, habits of executive presenters, with a few tips for improvement along the way. Today’s post is Part III in the series.

The Podium: As always, thanks again for joining us, David. We’ve had a highly informative series thus far. Today, we’d like to talk about voice. Let’s start from the beginning.

DC: First, I always tell people to speak loudly, clearly and use vocal variety. That may sound obvious, but most speakers aren’t aware that they are being monotone or are not annunciating until they see and hear themselves on video. On a related note, a common voice problem people have is that they drop off their voices at the ends of sentences. They speak loudly for a period, and then suddenly fall off.

The extreme version of the trailing voice is “vocal fry” – a raspy sound you make when you run out of breath, as if you were fighting to get the air to finish each sentence. Either way, your message loses its impact. And without that, there’s really no point.

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Presentation Training: Are You Looking at Me?

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We’ve called upon our resident body language expert, Sharon Merrill EVP & Partner David Calusdian, to teach us to become better speakers – whether at meetings, investor conferences or in more personal settings. This four-part conversation provides a taste of the good, and bad, habits of executive presenters, with a few tips for improvement along the way. Today’s post is Part II in the series.

The Podium: Hello, David. Today we’re going to discuss eye contact and how we can use it effectively during our presentations. Why don’t we start with improving eye contact when using a projection screen, as with a PowerPoint presentation?

DC: Maintaining good eye contact with the audience is a necessity. You should look at a screen only if you need to see the bullet points or graphic on the slide in order to speak to it. Glance very quickly to the screen, then back to your audience — so that you can direct the audience to the screen but maintain their attention.

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Presentation Training: What Do I Do With My Hands?

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We’ve called upon our resident body language expert, Sharon Merrill EVP and Partner David Calusdian, to teach us to become better speakers – whether at meetings, investor conferences or in more personal settings. This four-part conversation provides a taste of the good, and bad, habits of executive presenters, with a few tips for improvement along the way. Today’s post is Part I in the series.

The Podium: Thanks so much for joining us, David. Many readers of The Podium are frequent speakers at conferences or company events, so we’re hoping you can share some of your presentation insights with them.

We thought for today’s conversation we would discuss that most perplexing of body parts for public speakers: the hands.

DC: The hands, and the arms, for that matter, can stump a lot of speakers. Many speakers have no idea what to do with them, and frequently ask me where they should put their hands during a speech or presentation. The answer is that the hands shouldn’t be in one place at all. Speakers are more dynamic when they are free-flowing with their hands. You don’t want them to be too fast and going all over the place, but you also don’t want to look reallystiff and have them constantly by your side.

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What’s In / What’s Out for IR In 2015

By Andrew Blazier, Senior Associate

It’s once again time for our tongue-in-cheek roadmap of what’s in and what’s out in investor relations, and more, for the upcoming year. We hope you enjoy, and have a happy and successful 2015.

In Out
Video earnings calls Audio-only earnings calls
Taking activist shareholders’ calls Hiding under your desk
Instagram and Snapchat Facebook
LinkedIn job postings Everything else
Serial Siri
Open letters Paper
Breakfast meetings Lunch meetings
Financial highlights on earnings calls Reading earnings releases verbatim
More Q&A time on earnings calls Gadfly questions
IPOs Tax inversions
Posting call transcripts Hunting on third-party sites
Crisis communications plans Flying by the seat of your pants
Small caps Salary caps
Social media Social Distortion
Republicans Democrats
Board diversity Grumpy Old Men
Third-string quarterbacks Nick Saban
Grexit Ancient Greek
Shareholder activism Eric Holder
Sequels Sequins
Biometrics The metric system

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Press Conferences in a Crisis: Belichick and Deflate-Gate

By David Calusdian, Executive Vice President & Partner

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New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick held two press conferences to address the “deflate-gate” controversy that has taken over sports headlines since the Patriot’s dismantling of the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game. The Patriots, and Belichick as its head coach, are accused of underinflating game-day footballs against league rules.

After nearly a week of increasing hype and Patriot’s silence, Bill Belichick took the podium on Thursday morning in an attempt to quell the deflate-gate firestorm. His performance was lacking both in content and delivery and, thus, only fanned the sports talk radio flames that had been raging since the crisis broke. Then, in a surprising move, Belichick returned to face the cameras again on Saturday. He performed better in his second press conference and public reaction was more positive. Let’s take a look at some “lessons learned” from both of Belichick’s press conferences during the Patriot’s deflate-gate crisis. 

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