Speaking to the Masses

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public speaking“I think public speaking translates into how much you can sell, right?” said Dylan Brodeur, Blockchain & Digital Assets Analyst at Marcum LLP. “And your work is how much you can back it up. Those two things together are a good recipe for any business going forward and lasting a long time.”

An oft-overlooked skill in the field of finance is public speaking. Some may wonder… ‘public speaking? What exactly does that have to do with the alternative finance industry?’ But it is just as effective as closing a deal. Whether it’s participating in a panel, communicating with clients daily, or simply networking with other professionals, capturing the audience’s attention is crucial. So, what’s the strategy?

Brodeur preps for different circumstances. Sometimes the opportunity is short and one has to work with what they’ve got. In one example of prep, he said he asked himself, “‘Okay, if I had to say one line, let’s say my whole thing was 10 seconds, what do I want people to know in 10 seconds?’”

In preparation for Broker Fair 2023, Brodeur has been working on an approach for the Transacting Deals in 2030 panel. He mentioned considering his audience, what they know, and meeting them where they are, as opposed to speaking over them. In doing so, he hopes what he says does not get lost in translation. Knowing the audience and the overall message he’s trying to convey will bridge that gap, he said.

“You introduce yourself, you introduce your product or service, and then you want to say how can that benefit the audience that you’re pertaining to,” said Juan Caban, Managing Partner at Financial Lynx. “So, if you stick to those three things, you should come up with a nice engaging presentation.”

This step-by-step process was not second nature to Caban when he attended his first networking event a ways back, which he had no clue he would be speaking at. In a “BNI-like” networking group of about 40 people, he realized, “I have to perfect a 30-second elevator pitch about who I am and what I do.” Now, Caban’s game plan goes as follows: putting himself in the audience’s shoes, figuring out what would engage them, writing it down, and then reciting it aloud.

“I’m still not naturally good at speaking,” said Marci Slagle, President at Bank Financial Equipment Finance. “I’m very good at what I know, but I’m not comfortable when I’m up in front of 100 people. I’m very comfortable when I’m in a small group of 5 to 10 people. So it’s something that every time that I do [much larger groups] I overcome my reticence to public speaking.”

Being knowledgeable and prepared on the topic one is discussing makes it much easier than trying to “fly by the seat of your pants,” Slagle explains. Preparation for her involves being well-versed in the questions being asked and the subject matter being discussed. Slagle also advises bringing someone else onto a panel to delegate areas of weakness in expertise that the person might not have.

According to Caban there’s a popular saying, “If you don’t plan then you’re planning to fail.” Practice makes perfect especially in an industry of perfectionists. Fortunately, there are numerous approaches to choose from, so it’s important to experiment and find the one that works best.

“…Plan, prepare, memorize, recite; even if you just memorize a paragraph, and just recite the paragraph verbatim in your first few just to get those out,” said Caban. “…the more you do it, the more you’re going to get comfortable.”

“I would say attend the events,” said Slagle. “Make sure you say hi to 10 or 15 new people at every event and volunteer for the panels because that’s an easy way to kind of slowly put you into a public speaking position where you can just talk to your strengths. And you have other people to talk to, to fill in where you don’t have those strengths.”

Last modified: May 2, 2023
Anaya VanceAnaya Vance is a reporter for deBanked. Connect with me on LinkedIn.

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