Rear view of man gesturing with hand while standing against defocused group of people sitting in front of him

Coaching executives to improve communication skills

A newly promoted CFO, who had initially dismissed the idea of an executive coaching session as “only for beginners,” sought SMA’s presentation training after he received low marks from the Street on his first quarterly earnings call. Following SMA’s coaching, the CFO was more confident on subsequent earnings calls and received high praise from investors.

Client Challenge

Show a key executive how to communicate more confidently
The executive boasted a track record of financial success in his previous position at a privately held company. And although he had no prior experience communicating with the investment community, he thought his business acumen alone would be enough to navigate his inaugural earnings call as CFO.

Unfortunately, the executive’s vocal delivery projected poorly on the call, and analysts later said he sounded “unprepared” and “defensive” during the Q&A session. Acknowledging that his communication skills needed improvement, he turned to SMA for training.

businessman during a presentation to work colleagues in a boardroom
business women meeting in the work lobby

The Sharon Merrill Advantage

Immersion training in communicating with investors

The SMA coach took the executive through a day-long series of true-to-life communications exercises that mirrored the company’s actual business issues. The exercises included presentation delivery training; “Capital Markets Readiness” coaching, inclusive of how to work effectively with sell-side analysts and what you can and can’t say to investors/analysts; Q&A training; and communicating the company’s investment narrative. The training included the use of video feedback loops so that the CFO was able to quickly incorporate advice to continuously improve throughout the session.


A surge in investor requests for meetings with management

The training concluded just prior to the company’s next investor conference call. Those listening to the call found the CFO more enthusiastic, polished and professional in delivering his prepared remarks, and more focused and dynamic in responding to questions. For his part, the CFO was more confident and composed during the call and came away from the experience more comfortable about his performance than after the first call a quarter earlier. Longer term, he became more effective in communicating with investors and the business media.