During our monthly webinar, the WeInvest community was once again enriched through the teachings of an incredible speaker, great content, and thought provoking exchanges. As an introduction to the webinar our Board Member, Natalia Gonzalez Vela, authored a blog post where she shared how she learned to not only speak in public, but also enjoy the experience of public speaking.
For our September webinar, we had the privilege of having Rania Anderson as our headliner speaker. Rania is a serial author, international executive business coach, and angel investor that possesses deep knowledge on the way women work, lead, and move forward.
I have had the distinct privilege of having Rania as my personal mentor during the first edition of WeXchange. I was a finalist in the Startups Pitch Competition, and Rania coached me through the experience. Her advice, generosity, the peace she transmits, and her people skills, have accompanied me since that moment throughout all my professional public speaking endeavours.
During this webinar, Rania shared with us tools to improve our public speaking skills across several common scenarios within the Venture Capital investment industry. Her tips were concrete, practical, and extremely helpful.
Rania utilized the webinar itself as an opportunity to demonstrate presentation and public speaking skills. To kick things off, Rania started with an incredible anecdote featuring Manar Al Moneef — CEO of GE Renewable Energy, Middle East. Manar was invited to give a lecture; however, she was instructed to do so from behind a screen because there were men in the audience who felt uncomfortable seeing a woman present. Manar solved the situation creatively by asking the men who felt offended by her presence to instead turn their chairs around — no man did. With this example, Rania not only captured the attention of our webinar audience, but also highlighted the tenacity and resourcefulness of a woman who faced escalated adversity in a public speaking endeavour and overcame the challenge. Furthermore, Rania put her preaching into practicing by showcasing the effectiveness of storytelling within presentations.
In an effort to summarize Rania’s key teachings, I highlight below her four major strategies regarding successful speaking:
- Identify one person in the audience: focus on addressing one person without thinking about the other hundred(s) of people in the room.
- Less is more: great presentations are concrete and actionable, so you have to be specific, which implies cutting back and carefully choosing what’s important to say.
- Emotional resonance: people will forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
- Audience first: bear in mind that the message you want to convey is not for yourself, but for the audience.
Rania’s principal secret to effective public speaking is to connect on 3 levels — mind, emotion and action. Ask yourself, can you engage with your audience on both an intellectual and emotional level and then translate that engagement into action? That is the test of a truly successful presentation / public speaking endeavour.
Within this webinar, the audience was composed of members of the WeInvest LatAm community, so Rania gave our group some investor specific tips for the type of public speaking scenarios investors often encounter.
- When fundraising, the message should focus on the opportunity.
- With Limited Partners, communication must highlight progress.
- In investment committees, focus on building trust and making decisions together.
- Speaking with entrepreneurs, the core of the conversation should seek to generate trust, build on our experience and networks, and set mutual expectations to strengthen our business partnership.
- Boards should focus on building as a team, while providing new ideas.
- For podcasts, split the talk into segments assuming people will most likely only listen to part of the podcast and not all. In this way, the listener grasps digestible points easier.
- On panels, if moderating, avoid talking about yourself. The richest panels are dialogues between speakers filled with organic commentary and distinct perspectives.
- For virtual events, whether it be on Zoom or other platforms, the energy of the speaker is even more critical than in live events — so bring the energy!
In summary, Rania suggests focusing on what message is most important to the audience and then preparing, producing, and presenting in alignment with that message. Make your public speaking interaction simple, memorable, and authentic, and you are more likely to leave a lasting impact that calls people into action.
Rania left us with a message that not only applies to public speaking, but also to our daily lives as investors, “we need to focus on discovering the best version of ourselves”. That quote resonates strongly with WeInvest’s mission, and Rania without a doubt contributed towards that mission by teaching us all to be better public speakers. Thank you, Rania!
Check Rania’s Webinar here https://youtu.be/Z2AZwa-D6CE and subscribe to our channel.