How to Use PowerPoint Speaker Coach to Improve Your Presentation Skills
Want to improve your body language and speaking when making online presentations? You can use PowerPoint Speaker Coach to gain instant feedback and build confidence.
Microsoft PowerPoint includes a powerful tool called Speaker Coach. It is a rebranded and enhanced version of Presentation Coach, initially added to PowerPoint in 2019.
With remote and hybrid working environments now familiar, presenting successfully to diverse online audiences using only slides, a webcam, and a mic is a more valuable skill than ever. In this article, you will learn about Speaker Coach and how it can help you.
What Is PowerPoint Speaker Coach?
You’ll find Speaker Coach under the Slide Show tab in PowerPoint on Windows, macOS, and on the web as part of your Microsoft 365 subscription. Speaker Coach can offer real-time feedback on your body language (web version only) and speech as you rehearse a presentation while speaking into your mic and camera.
When finished, a Rehearsal Report shows your overall strengths and weaknesses. You can use the information to improve your presentation skills.
The tool offers many advantages over traditional methods of rehearsing a presentation. It helps you practice independently instead of depending on colleagues for feedback.
Speaker Coach also leverages AI to point out mistakes that alienate an audience. These nuances can be missed by people that work closely with you. The tool can also be helpful outside of professional situations. For example, planning on giving a speech at a wedding, commencement, award ceremony, or commemoration? Speaker Coach can also help you rehearse for these events, whether online or in-person.
Microsoft adopts a privacy-focused approach with Speaker Coach and does not save the videos or audio of you rehearsing.
Key Features of PowerPoint Speaker Coach
Powerpoint Speaker Coach can make you a more dynamic presenter.
Improved Body Language
Body language is still a meaningful way to connect with an audience, even if only the top half of you is visible. The web-based version of Speaker Coach can assess your body language by using your webcam and offers tips as you present.
For example, Speaker Coach pops up a warning if you are too far back from the camera or too close. Additionally, notifications appear if you obstruct your face with your hand or don’t make eye contact with the audience.
Speaker Coach includes many more features for improving your verbal presentation skills.
- Pace makes sure that you are not speaking too quickly for the audience to understand your message.
- Pitch helps you adjust your volume: a monotone presentation will simply put people to sleep – not what you want!
- Originality identifies the slides you read too extensively. This sounds unnatural and can make a good presentation go bad.
- Filler words such as “um” and “you know” are identified as these can undermine the audience’s confidence in your information.
Other features include scanning for repetitive language and encouraging variation in word choice with synonyms for overused words. Inclusiveness warns if you are alienating audience members by using culturally insensitive language or profanity.
The web-based version of Speaker Coach can even tell when you may have mispronounced a word. It will display the correct way to pronounce the word and offer you the ability to practice pronouncing it. Microsoft has said Speaker Coach is optimized for General American English and is improving the pronunciation feature based on user feedback, a tacit acknowledgment that accents vary.
PowerPoint Speaker Coach Makes Suggestions for Improvement
The killer feature of Speaker Coach isn’t just that it grades your presentation skills. It also gives specific suggestions for how you can improve.
Feedback from Speaker Coach includes a Learn More link. This Microsoft Support page offers information on the criteria Speaker Coach uses to assess your presentation and recommendations for making a mediocre presentation stellar.
While some of these might be obvious (like, don’t swear) Speaker Coach also points out more subtle mistakes that can shape how your message is received. The support page explains that academic research suggests that audiences best understand presenters who speak at a rate of about 100 to 165 words per minute. Speaker Coach is assessing your performance relative to that metric. However, it also leaves space to adapt to your speaking style over time.
Note: Microsoft has said Speaker Coach will be added to Teams in early 2022 to help you communicate better during meetings.
How to Use PowerPoint Speaker Coach for Body Language Feedback
Non-verbal communication is an art that can make or break your presentation. Use the feedback from PowerPoint Speaker Coach to perfect the nuances.
- Open PowerPoint on the Web and go to Slide Show > Rehearse with Coach > Enable Show Body Language Feedback.
- A window will open at the bottom right. Click Start Rehearsing. Leave show real-time feedback enabled.
- Rehearse your presentation.
How to Use PowerPoint Speaker Coach on Windows and macOS
Speaker Coach works the same on both Windows and macOS, though do note that body language and pronunciation feedback are unavailable:
- Open a PowerPoint Presentation and go to Slide Show > Rehearse with Coach.
- A window will open at the bottom right of your screen. Click Start Rehearsing.
- Rehearse your presentation
Feel Empowered by PowerPoint Speaker Coach
Use Microsoft Speaker Coach for a unique way to improve both your online and in-person speaking and presentation skills. Its AI-based approach frees you up to practice when and where you want to, without need to impose on colleagues. In an increasing remote and hybrid working world, its range of features can make you a more dynamic presenter.
You may come to find Speaker Coach so useful that you begin to find that using PowerPoint to both give presentations and design the accompanying slides becomes fun again.
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