The ability to express yourself in a group setting is a fundamental skill that has gained importance in today’s world. The act of logging in to an online classroom and contributing to a conversation is a form of “presenting” that may cause stress and anxiety for both students and teachers. Beyond the modern hybrid classroom, employers rank the ability to communicate clearly and confidently alongside problem solving and collaboration as essential skills often missing from their current employees.

Most people can relate to some level of “presentation anxiety,” even if they generally enjoy public speaking. It takes practice to feel confident sharing information with a group. When you add the potential complexities of navigating a slide deck, speaking at a comfortable pace, and finding ways to inform and engage an audience, it can get overwhelming—especially for students who are new to presenting.

The latest whitepaper in the series of Accelerate Learning kits created by Clarity Innovations, Inc., and sponsored by Microsoft, “Empowering Students to be Agents of Their Own Learning,” explores software that provides helpful feedback as users practice their presentation and speaking skills. This is a valuable tool for people of all experience levels, from young students just learning to express themselves to seasoned presenters.

In the whitepaper, evaluators reviewed automated skills coaches powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that can help presenters of all skill levels become better speakers, build confidence, and reduce presentation anxiety. The applications evaluated were Speaker Coach, built directly into Microsoft PowerPoint, and Yoodli, a third-party plugin used with Chromebook Screencast and Google Slides. Both applications provide feedback in key areas of effective presentation skills, but only Speaker Coach is easy to access and activate directly from the software. Additionally, it’s the only application reviewed that provides live feedback while the presenter is speaking.

Speaker coach required fewer clicks and tools to configure and activate.

The importance of live feedback

One of the factors that makes Speaker Coach so effective is that it provides the opportunity for speakers to practice on their own, in a comfortable environment, and offers constructive feedback in a non-judgmental way. There’s even an option to get live feedback, so presenters can adjust their style while they’re presenting.

Live Feedback gives you tips while you’re speaking. 

When activated, Speaker Coach listens to a presentation and gives the presenter live feedback on how to improve in several areas:

  • Pacing
  • Use of filler words
  • Pitch
  • Inclusive language

It can be an invaluable tool for young people learning to express themselves, for language learners who might need support with articulation, and even for teachers who need to refine their practice of designing and delivering content during a lesson or outside of the classroom.

“When I would present, I had some presentation tics that I was not aware of and by using the Speaker Coach it made me aware of them. Speaker Coach helped me overcome my tics and now my presentations are much smoother. I have also trained several teachers on using Speaker Coach and they gave me a huge thank you because it made their students better presenters.” - Mike Thomas, Sr. Digital Learning Analyst, Springfield Public Schools

Students can see their progress while they practice

After each practice session, Speaker Coach shares a Rehearsal Report with a variety of statistics and tips covering everything from vocal pitch and emphasis, using repetitive words, and reading directly from slides.

The Rehearsal Report shares presentation information and tips to improve delivery.

The speaker can implement the feedback immediately, rehearse their presentation again, and see how it improves their flow. As with many things, the more practice, the better! For presenters of all abilities, repeated practice with Speaker Coach can develop their presentation skills, improve confidence, and minimize stress and anxiety.

To learn more about Speaker Coach, read the whitepaper “Empowering Students to be Agents of Their Own Learning.” To download other Accelerate Learning kits, visit the Learning Next page to read previous whitepapers including: