Presentation Coaching and Growing a Business: Interview with Tania Sulan

Talk Boutique has the privilege of coaching Tania Sulan, Chief Investment Officer of Bentham IMF’s Canadian operations. Bentham IMF Capital Limited is the Canadian arm of IMF Bentham Ltd., one of the oldest and most experienced commercial litigation funders in the world, and Tania is at the forefront of introducing litigation funding to the Canadian market. Tania has nearly a decade of experience in third-party litigation funding and 11 years’ experience as a commercial litigator. We recently asked her a few questions about her experience working with Talk Boutique.

What did your coaching focus on?

As part of my speaker and presentation coaching experience with Talk Boutique, I worked on a number of projects. Talk Boutique helped me refine a critical business overview presentation about Bentham’s business model, what we do and why we do it. We have also worked together on a number of other presentations as well as facilitation coaching. For each of the projects, we worked together on both the content and the delivery. My coach, Andrea Sampson, attended some of our presentations, and feedback sessions helped the team and me take our presentations to the next level. We developed facilitation skills and role-played for a roundtable we hosted, which meant we were able to draw out honest and constructive feedback from a group of highly-accomplished litigation lawyers.

Who do you think would benefit most from this type of coaching?

Really anyone that has a message they want to deliver. At the time I started working with Andrea, Bentham had just entered the Canadian market and a key imperative was to educate people about our industry. It was vital for us to tell a compelling story, dispel misconceptions, and share the history and mission of our industry. Our goal is to educate the legal market about our business and to facilitate new ways for law firms and their clients to work together. Talk Boutique taught us how to do that through a well-structured presentation of our offerings and effective storytelling.

Andrea brought structure and rigour to the way I think about not only formal presentations but how any conversation or dialogue unfolds – how to get important messages across in any setting. I learned how to repeat key concepts, how to structure a talk that educates and keep people engaged. Bringing what we do to life through storytelling makes the message so much more compelling.

Was your coaching package with Talk Boutique what you expected initially?

Going in, I thought the sessions would be more focused on presentation skills. What I found was that Andrea was very helpful in developing the actual content, and putting it in context. It’s easy to get lost in the minutiae of things, and talking through questions like ‘what is the purpose of doing this presentation?’, ‘what is the reason for having this conversation?’ clarified my thinking. We often have so much information we want to get across – paring it back to reveal our key messages is so important and makes the difference between an adequate presentation and a great one.

The Talk Canvas structure Andrea provided is a tool I use on an ongoing basis – it’s not a one-time thing. You work through it for any presentation, and keep it in the back of your mind when you’re actually presenting.

Did your coaching experience change the way you do things in your business?

Yes, now we really try to incorporate using stories, examples, and anecdotes when we explain what we do – it has become integral. The presentation we give to law firms about what we do has been refined, thanks to my coaching work with Talk Boutique.

We often present in teams. Andrea’s thoughtful feedback about the way we interact when presenting is something we are now very mindful of. It’s not something we would have thought about if it weren’t for those observations. Andrea also pointed out aspects of our presenting styles that we weren’t mindful of – the pace and tone of our speech, and our interactions. We got valuable feedback on what it felt like to watch us present – the opportunity to hear what it’s like to be our audience.

Bentham had been listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in Australia 17 years ago when we decided to expand geographically to Canada. We knew it would be important to hire local people here. Aussies and Canadians are fairly similar, but there are nuanced cultural differences. Andrea and I have had lots of great conversations that I found illuminating from a business perspective. Talk Boutique really tries to understand your business, where you are coming from and the company’s business and objectives. I would absolutely recommend this service to other companies.

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