I spent time with two tools embedded into Microsoft products that use AI to see if I could improve my delivery and presentation skills. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to use the tools and wanted to share my reflections.
Microsoft Teams: Speaker Coach
How it works: When you turn on Speaker Coach, it provides real time feedback and a summary analysis of your speech. When you are in a Teams Meeting, you can turn on Speaker Coach by going to “More Actions > Language & Speech.” During your meeting you may see messages pop up based on your pace. When the meeting concludes, you’ll see a Speaker Coach report in your Teams Feed.
What I like: Speaker Coach helped me to realize my bad habit of saying ‘you know.’. For the first few weeks I used the tool, I couldn’t even hear myself saying it, but now I can hear it. Apologies to my team who has had to endure this annoying habit, but thanks to Speaker Coach, I am actively working on it! I left Speaker Coach on which means I’m continuously getting reports, and what I like is that I get feedback in the flow of work. I don’t always have time to check reports, but when I have time, it allows for a quick reflection in the moment.
What could be improved: The feedback report is very limited and focuses on filler words. It’s a start, and my guess is that the tool will become more sophisticated.
Learn more about Speaker Coach here.
Microsoft PowerPoint: Rehearse with a Coach
How it works: You open your presentation and act as if you are presenting to an audience. As you speak, the tool captures your audio and analyzes it. You’ll see some on screen guidance as you speak (you can turn it off if distracting), and when you finish, you get a report with feedback on your pace, fluency, and overall speaking quality. To turn it on go to the Slide Show tab > Rehearse with a Coach and click Start Presenting.
What I like: Sometimes I rehearse a presentation to verify the timing of my content. Using this feature in PowerPoint allows you to not only get the timing right, but also work on your pace, language, and pitch. The tool has helped me to focus on getting the right tonal variety when I speak.
What could be improved: After you close a report, it disappears so you can’t see if you are improving from one practice session the next unless you take a screen shot. This is likely due to privacy concerns, so I get it.
Learn more about Rehearse with a Coach here.
While neither of these tools can replace working with a real coach, they are both great tools to help refine your delivery style and improve vocal quality. Plus they are simple to use and provide instant gratification.
Have you tried either tool? What did you learn? I’m curious to know/if how the tools work for non-native English speakers.