PowerPoint has been on a tear the last few years, using Microsoft’s AI technology to improve slide design (Designer), presentation content (QuickStarter), and accessibility (Live Subtitling). And with the recently released Presenter Coach feature, PowerPoint is now looking to make its users better speakers.
Designed to provide real-time “coaching” and post-rehearsal analysis, Presenter Coach is an in-app assistant that evaluates a number of typical problem areas for speakers and offers gentle guidance for improvement.
The feature is currently available only for the online (web browser) version of PowerPoint, but it should be making its way to desktop versions shortly. If you have an Office 365 subscription, you have access to PowerPoint online including file storage on OneDrive.
To launch Presenter Coach, simply select it from the Slideshow tab and begin rehearsing your presentation.
PowerPoint starts listening and will give you live feedback on the following through a chime and popup notification in the bottom right of your screen.
Are you guilty of using too many “Ums” or “Ers”? Every time you do, Presenter Coach is going to give you a real-time alert.
If you are prone to speeding through your content, Presenter Coach is going to let you know that you are speaking too fast and that you should slow down.
Culturally Insensitive Language
If you use a racial slur or a sexist term, you’re going to get chided with an admonition that you might want to reconsider. Some language alerts are obvious and to be expected, but the feature will also advise you to use terms like “People with Disabilities” if it hears “Disabled People,” and will suggest that referring to your audience as “Guys,” might not be gender inclusive. Obviously, the rules Microsoft has set up for language can be argued over and will, no doubt, evolve as society does. Remember, this is a coach, not an umpire.
Use Only in Rehearsal
For now, you’ll want to use Presenter Coach only in rehearsal because currently there is no way to disable the automatic pop-ups and alert chimes. Even if you are by yourself, many find the constant intrusions distracting, so the hope is that there will be an option in the future to suppress these live alerts.