Giving a presentation in person or online over a video call can be stressful. For some people, it seems to come naturally, but most of the time a great presentation is simply because the person practiced a lot or had a good coach.
Getting input on how you could improve your presentation delivery is a great way to polish your skills and come off like a pro. But not everyone can afford a professional coach or has a colleague that has the time to listen to them give their presentation several times to give feedback.
What if you had an AI-powered coach that would listen to your presentation whenever you wanted and give you data-based advice?
That’s exactly what Microsoft has built into Presenter Coach for PowerPoint in Microsoft 365.
What is Presenter Coach?
We’ve discussed some of the powerful features of Microsoft 365 in past blog posts, such as Excel’s data types. This is another of the platform’s unique features that you won’t find anywhere else.
Presenter Coach is designed to use voice and visual cues to help you improve your presentation skills. It listens for all types of data points as you narrate through your PPT presentation and lets you know along the way how you’re doing and what you can do to improve.
Microsoft has been adding artificial intelligence to its platform for a while now to power more intuitive and helpful features. Presenter Coach is an example of how AI provides a virtual expert that can help you overcome presentation anxiety and hone a stellar delivery.
How Do You Use Presenter Coach?
You access Presenter Coach inside PowerPoint. You’ll open your PPT presentation and then go to the Slide Show tab. Click the Rehearse with Coach option.
A new feature allows you to check “Show body language feedback,” which will activate your camera and give you additional guidance.
Next, you want to decide whether you want feedback during and after your presentation or if you want to wait and get it all after you’re finished.
Some speakers may prefer not to be interrupted by the feedback prompts, in which case just uncheck the option.
Once you click “Start Rehearsing,” your PPT will go into full-screen mode, just like when you view a slideshow in the app. Wait until you see a prompt that says “Listening,” and then you can begin speaking.
If you’ve chosen to get real-time feedback, you’ll see tips in the dialogue box as you go through your presentation. For example, Presenter Coach might tell you to stop saying “umm” so much.
Once you’ve finished your presentation, you’ll get a full readout with multiple tips on things like pacing, body language, redundant use of the same terms, and much more.
Tips You Get in the Rehearsal Report
The report you get at the end of your presentation is called the Rehearsal Report. It’s designed to be comprehensive and give you constructive feedback to polish your presentation delivery.
Image courtesy of Microsoft
Here are some of the helpful feedback items you’ll receive.
Pacing of Presentation
You’ll get a readout of your words per minute and whether it was too many or too few. This translates into: Are you going too fast for people to take in your presentation? Or going so slow that your audience is getting bored?
A new feature recently added to Presenter Coach is the ability for the tool to use your video camera and give you feedback on body language. Body language has a lot to do with a good presentation.
You’ll get feedback on eye contact with the audience, the distance between your face and the camera, and whether you’re too far or too close from an audience perspective.
“Awesome,” “I think,” “That’s a winner,” can all be phrases that are fine when used a few times in a presentation. But if Presenter Coach finds you using the same terms too often, it will let you know that you may want to find another term.
The use of repetitive language can make your presentation seem less wonderful than it could be because the audience is bound to notice.
No one wants to be known as the corporate trainer that mispronounced a common country name. Word pronunciation is another area that Presenter Coach is listening for and will provide guidance if it finds you’ve gotten anything a bit off.
Use of Filler Words
We often use terms like “you know” and “umm” when speaking and don’t even realize it. These filler words can make your presentation come off weak and make you seem unpolished as a speaker.
Presenter Coach will let you know when you’re using fillers and exactly what those words are so you can be aware and avoid them when giving your presentation.
If all you do is read the text from each PPT slide, then your presentation is going to get a low originality score. Good presenters use the slide text as a guide but put things into their own words to engage the audience.
You’ll get feedback from Presenter Coach on how original your presentation sounds as compared to the slide text.
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