Business presentation is a key component of business success - you must be able to clearly and effectively communicate the goals and value of your business to potential investors, clients, and many others. With this in mind, Sara Norris and Rhonda Tamulonis, together with Rob Norris, founded When You Leave the Room LLC. Their training sessions focus on tailoring attention for the individual, videoing your performance to pinpoint strengths and areas in need of improvement, and following up to ensure lasting improvement. These three principals have more than 100 years of experience between them and can provide invaluable help for every type of presentation situation, with almost any audience.
More about When You Leave the Room:
1. What is the mission of When You Leave the Room?
If you are in business, you make presentations. You may find yourself speaking to potential investors or clients, with your internal team or your board, at a networking event or with the business media. Many people dread public speaking, and often think it is an in-born talent. The facts are, good presentation skills are good for business and can be learned. We founded When You Leave The Room to help business people speak more persuasively, effectively and memorably.
2. How did you come up with the company name?
It was suggested during an early branding brainstorming session. “When You Leave The Room” is a little off-the-wall, but it has certainly proved memorable. We liked it because it’s the litmus test of our success. We enable our clients to be assured that, when they leave the room, they will have gotten their message across and achieved their business objectives.
3. What makes you qualified to coach people on public speaking and presentations?
The three principals—Rhonda Tamulonis, Sara Norris, and Rob Norris—met in high school. Back then, we each participated in competitive speech and debate, not fully appreciating how that experience would foster an avocation for skillful public speaking. We each spent more than 30 years in different corporate careers and gave thousands of presentations incidental to our respective work in advertising and marketing (Sara), corporate communications (Rob), and organizational change management and training (Rhonda). We gained our expertise from meeting communication challenges in industries as diverse as public utilities, manufacturing, government agencies, commercial real estate management, health and human services, accounting, and information technology.
4. What kinds of clients do you serve and how?
We provide coaching for individuals and business development teams, we deliver in-house training programs, and we speak at industry conferences and events. We instruct on content development and messaging, visuals aids design, and delivery techniques. Our clients range from Fortune 500 companies to individuals who may have only one minute in front of a roomful of potential investors. Our coaching features video recording to show our clients their before-and-after results. We teach techniques on presenting up to top management, across to staff, and out to clients or prospects.
5. What is the biggest challenge of your business?
There are two challenges, actually. One is the perception that presentation skill is an innate talent, rather than a learned capability. Not everyone can speak with the skill of a Winston Churchill, but any businesswoman (or man) can become a good presenter with focused training and practice.
The other challenge is the perception that presentation training will be painful and protracted. Surveys suggest that people are more afraid of public speaking than death. Persuading people to confront their discomfort and admit their inadequacy is not easy. This is understandable but unfortunate – given how rapidly and easily our clients improve.
6. What is the biggest challenge for your clients?
Many of our clients think their biggest challenge in making an effective presentation is like packing for a vacation: they try to fit too much “stuff” into too little space. It may seem counterintuitive, but listeners want less, not more. Listeners are not persuaded by lots of points and cluttered slides. Good business speakers organize their presentation around a few key points, use simple slides, and allow plenty of time for questions.
7. What is a client outcome that you are most proud of?
We intensely monitor client evaluations. We ask clients to rate whether our training is informative, useful, and enjoyable. More than 93 percent of our trainees agree that what we taught them will make them better presenters. Our average evaluation by group participants is more than 4.7 on a 5.0-point scale.
8. How are you planning to grow your business?
We have just celebrated our third anniversary. We have two initiatives planned for 2017. First, we intend to make a more extensive and more focused use of social media to reach our prospects and support of existing clients. Second, we will be leveraging research from Job Outlook 2016, published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. This survey of 201 NACE employers asked that each skill on a list of 10 skills be given a value between 1 and 5. Verbal communication skills edged out every other category. Knowing how to communicate verbally, inside and outside the organization, ranked ahead of technical knowledge, the ability to plan, the ability to work on a team, the ability to analyze quantitative data—even above the ability to solve problems. We are working on strategies to bring more awareness about our services and expertise to area employers seeking to improve the verbal communication skills of their personnel at all levels.
9. You've coached the pitch finalists at the Indiana Conference for Women for the last two years and will be doing that again this October. What advice would you give to the 2017 finalists?
We love to help women entrepreneurs sharpen their pitch skills. Our advice? Simply and clearly define the problem you are going to solve and your solution. Simply and clearly explain the passion and skills you have to develop and grow your idea. Simply and clearly describe the size of the market and how an investor will make money. Practice word for word, out loud, over and over again.
10. How have The Startup Ladies helped you grow?
Great advice. Great support. Great camaraderie. The Study Halls consistently provide quality advise on all aspects of developing a scalable business. The social events have provided introduction to venues, resources, and friends.
Connect: LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sara-norris-6bb8a516