/ #Soft Skills 

Rehearse Your Presentations with Presenter Coach in PowerPoint

When it comes to presenting to an audience (either in person or remotely), there are 3 categories of people:

  • People who naturally excel in this exercise
  • People who need to train
  • People who don’t care about how they deliver the information

I belong to the second category, and as such, I had to improve my soft skills. Nonetheless, training happens at a given time, and it’s easy to not apply everything you learned after a few years. Also, the feedback you can get from yourself is biased (oh really, thank you Captain Obvious).

Earlier this week, I was surprised to discover this article from Microsoft: Improve your presenting skills with additional platforms and new features for PowerPoint Presenter Coach. Apparently, Presenter Coach has been available on the web version of PowerPoint for a while now, but this was the first time I heard about it.

Presenter Coach evaluates your pacing, pitch, your use of filler words, informal speech, euphemisms, and culturally sensitive terms, and it detects when you’re being overly wordy or are simply reading the text on a slide.

In a nutshell, Presenter Coach leverages AI (Artificial Intelligence) to help anyone who wants to practice a speech/presentation.

The feature is not yet available for PowerPoint on macOS (although it should come soon), so I tested it in the web version. On the Slide Show tab, select Rehearse with Coach (see screenshot below); the presentation opens in a full-screen view (similar to Slide Show). Hit Get Started at the lower right to begin rehearsing.

As you speak, Coach gives on-screen guidance (in the lower-right corner of the window) about pacing, inclusive language, use of profanity, filler words, and whether you’re reading the slide text. After each rehearsal, you get a report that includes statistics and suggestions for improvements.

The report includes generic data such as a summary (time spent and number of slides), but also recommendations in a variety of topics:

  • Pace
  • Fillers words usage
  • Sensitive phrases
  • Speech refinements
  • Voice pitch
  • Body language
  • Repetitive language
  • Originality (detects if you are reading your slides)

Resources

Author

Romain

Staff Technical Product Manager, technologist with 16+ years of Networking and Security experience in Data Center, Public Cloud & Virtualization (VMs and Containers). He is a double VCDX (DCV and NV, #120), VCDX panelist, frequent VMUG/VMworld speaker and contributor to the community via this blog or social media (follow him on Twitter @woueb).