Would you really expect an easy presentation from easyJet? Well maybe. Certainly when we watched their half year results presentation yesterday we did expect an easy presentation. But it wasn't to be.
The challenge for any financial results presentation is two-fold. Firstly the presenters must appear engaging. And secondly, their presentation material has to be useful and informative. But it's an unfortunate fact that your typical results presentation is often simply too informative. There's just too much information presented in the slide format for any audience to digest. Not too easy, perhaps.
And that's certainly what we spotted with this easyJet plc presentation by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Johan Lundgren and the Chief Financial Officer, Andrew Findlay.
It's certainly fair to say that the senior presentation team at easyJet was not intimidated by the size of their audience. Because it was small. Albeit there was a larger webcast audience elsewhere.
The first thing that we noticed was the lack of eye contact. So precious little eye contact with the audience members in the meeting room and certainly none with the camera audience. And that's not going to help your audience feel particularly engaged. Because you need some serious PowerPoint eye contact. Even for a financial presentation to shareholders.
Both presenters appeared quite comfortable reading their presentation scripts at the lectern that they shared. But was it possible to read those scripts any faster? Because they went at quite a pace, often without pauses. Perhaps they were renting the room by the hour?
But we did hear more than the occasional stumble. No doubt that was the result of reading their text too fast. Because it does happen. Of course, you can make it easier with practice. But when you speak slower you can expect fewer stumbles.
And the slides? Well, they were very orange. So they left us in no doubt at all about their corporate branding. Not very dissimilar to the AO Results Presentation. But their design impact was spoiled by the lack of imagery. Where were the travel pictures? The happy customers? Busy and effective members of staff serving holidaymakers? Surely there's a people dimension to this easy presentation of the half year results?
The slides were very busy. They really do have far too much content on them. Once again, we have the sense that the CFO wants to put every single available fact onto his slides. But he doesn't need to. Since he can explain everything without having to write it down with text on the slides. Because PowerPoint text overload just gets in the way of an audience's easy understanding. Even that of stockbrokers and market analysts.
We reckon that Andrew Findlay knew his charts were problematic. Why? Well, because he did make some effort to explain his slide content. For example on slide 8, the costs, he said:
starting with the left hand side
and later on, he helped his audience with:
the first green column...
These are good examples of how the presenter can interact with the audience. But, note that they are really essential when your slides are as busy as these. However, we did hear some alarming phrases, such as on the fuel hedging slide:
This slide summarises...
This slide shows
These are filler phrases that we don't really need. Since your slides should support your words and be pretty obvious to a market analyst audience. But, again we sense we heard these phrases simply because the slides had too much content. This wasn't an easy presentation to follow.
You can't describe this as a corporate horror presentation. We really have come across earlier examples of death by PowerPoint.
But some simple improvements would make this half year results presentation an easy presentation to follow.
So, all in all, as an easy presentation format this is certainly work in progress. But some simple improvements could make the next financial presentation that much more engaging.
You can always discover more presentation tips with our regular series of effective presentation tips, podcasts and videos. Plus, when you really want to boost your presentation skills that bit further, then why not consider some training? Because a well-timed training session should be just the ticket for your next big event. So, when the time is right, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
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