For Financial Communicators, It's Not So Much What You Say, It's How You Say It

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There seems to be a quantifiable measurement for everything these days, so why not the effectiveness of financial communicators?

Quantified Impressions, a new communications analytics company, claims to have created the first objective rating system to evaluate the communication skills of financial spokespeople, and the results could surprise you.

Content is not the king here

According to research released today and developed at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management with newly video-analysis technologies and expert feedback from world-class communications coaches and high net worth investors, "listeners were influenced far more by non-verbal cues than by verbal ones, with passion and credibility accounting for over 50 percent of presentation effectiveness."

Quantified Impressions analyzed media appearances by 120 top financial communicators. What they determined, said Noah Zandan, president of Quantified Impressions, was that "a speaker’s tone, appearance and demeanor proved nine times more important in making a strong impression on potential investors than the actual content the speaker presented.”

Who's the best financial communicator?

Apparently it's not Jamie Dimon or any of the other CEOs of the largest banks.

In its first annual Quantified Financial Spokesperson Rankings, Quantified Impressions determined that the most effective financial spokesperson is Richard Davis, CEO of U.S. Bancorp. Davis succeeded because he appeared “genuine, emotionally connected to his audience and relaxed in front of the camera,” said Zandan.

The second most effective spokesperson is Michael Maboussin, the Chief Investment Strategist at Legg Mason, who “excelled in his ability to appear approachable, authentic and honest while delivering a personalized message.”

“Effective communication moves high-stakes markets,” Zandan said. “Investors, financial analysts and asset management firms are relying more and more on video and online communications, and we can provide them with the most accurate methodology for measuring the effectiveness of those communications. These new rankings are a unique way to assess what people are actually hearing and seeing from investment management firms, and will potentially revolutionize the industry’s use of video-based communications.”

“Common intuition suggests that content drives communications effectiveness,” said Kellogg Graduate School of Management Professor Harry Kraemer, an executive partner at Private Equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners and former CEO of Baxter International. “It’s interesting to see that the Quantified Financial Spokesperson results are driven by emotions, which implies that leaders need to work hard to establish trust and personalize their content for their audiences.”

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