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I just discovered the PowerPoint Presenter Coach, and my life has changed.
OK, that may be a bit overdramatic, but I’m honestly fired up about this new Microsoft tool. I’ve likely coached hundreds of speakers over the years, and the primary issues speakers grapple with relate to a relatively short list of items:
Few speakers can truly master those 5 elements, and the interesting thing I’ve found is, the speakers who have know there is always room for improvement.
If you’re like me, suddenly you’re presenting virtually a lot more as well. I’ve discovered quickly that presenting a webinar or conference session online is much more difficult than in-person. Some may be relieved to not have a roomful of people looking at them, but for me, in addition to all the other elements that are normally challenging, the need for extra inflection, energy, focus, etc. is demanding. Extra preparation and proficiency are needed, and quickly.
Ready for some help? In the great but slightly altered words of Underdog, there’s no need to fear, PowerPoint Presenter Coach is here! Microsoft released this tool late last fall, and it’s only available with PowerPoint Online (presumably due to its Azure AI integration). I’m not an expert on licensing but if you have Office 365 (now Microsoft 365) at your company then you should be able to access it. You’ll need to open a slide deck online to use the tool – my slide decks are on OneDrive, so when I first open PowerPoint Online my decks are already there. If yours aren’t you may want to check with your IT team (and bring them some doughnuts, they deserve it).
With your slide deck open, under the Slide Show menu you’ll see “Rehearse with Coach”, as in the screenshot below:
Select the option, follow the prompts, and start presenting. You’ll only need a couple minutes for the coach to figure out how you’re doing, or feel free to practice your whole presentation. Instantly you’ll be scored on a number of the key elements listed previously and provided some recommendations on how to address. Here are the results from my first attempt with the tool:
You can see that my pace is right in the middle, and I have good variation with it. My pitch also has nice variability but could be raised a bit at times. Coach identified I used “umm” and “uhh” as filler words, which is true, and a constant struggle for me. I also did not read the slides (ooh that drives me nuts), and I did not use any sensitive phrases, which Microsoft defines as “…culturally sensitive phrases in these areas: disability, age, gender, race, sexual orientation, mental health, sensitive geopolitical topics, and profanity.” I want to reiterate that sometimes I think tools like these are a bunch of flash, but I was immediately impressed with its simplicity and value-added feedback. There is truly no reason not to use this tool on a regular basis.
Interested in learning more? I have some links for you:
I hope you enjoy using the PowerPoint Presenter Coach as much as I do, and soon.
To read my last blog: Overcoming the Resistance Hump: It’s Time to Embrace Business Transformation please click here.