Quarterly results presentations are in the public domain, designed for an external audience. Below is the presentation that Google used to communicate the results for the first quarter.
These types of presentations are usually prepared under great time pressure, as there is very little time between the moment the accountants are producing the figures and the communication to the analyst community. Unfortunately, this impacts the quality of the presentation (form, not content).
I will use this presentation to provide some suggestions on how to improve corporate presentation design. Not that I am picking on Google (Skype was an earlier victim), this presentation is just a typical example of most analyst presentations I see.
Analyst presentations are slideocuments: they need to be packed with a lot of financial information and the audience (equity analysts), usually know the company and its financials very well and are keen to see this quarter's update of last quarter's figures that are already sitting in their spreadsheets. So, adding large images with huge font text is not really appropriate here. Also, I will forgive the use of bullet points in these documents. Still, the quality of the slideocument can be improved.
Let's look at the opening page. The one thing I like is the minimalist template that Google uses: a tiny logo at the bottom right of the page. Great.
Some improvement suggestions:
  • Break it in two pages, one addressing the financials, one the operating highlights
  • Use horizontal bar charts to highlight the growth rates year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter
  • On the second slide, do not use bullets if you just need to make 1 point
  • Try to make the sentences shorter
The way the operational headlines are written is fairly generic, and analysts might not pay attention to them as they are still internalizing the numbers that are written before. The key point that Google was trying to make (I think) is that despite the difficult climate growth is business as usual at Google. At would make that point in some big arrow to the left of the text.
More feedback to come in future posts.

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