Office 365 AI & You

PowerPoint Presenter Coach

Office 365 AI & You: Improve Your Presentation Skills With the Presenter Coach

A new Artificial Intelligence (AI) feature in PowerPoint helps users to improve their presentation skills. The Presenter Coach draws on AI to provide feedback, thus taking the role of the first virtual listener, as it were!

How to Avoid ‘Death by PowerPoint’

You are giving a presentation and glance up at your audience: Half of them are sleeping with their eyes open, the other half are better at hiding their boredom.

Don’t worry: It’s not your fault. PowerPoint is to blame.

‘Death by PowerPoint’ anesthetizes your audience when the otherwise so powerful tool is used incorrectly. Too much information crammed onto the page, not enough artwork – it is always the same.

That’s Where the New Presenter Coach Steps in

One of the leading corporations in the world of AI, Microsoft is consistently expanding its software portfolio. This time it is PowerPoint’s turn. As always, the purpose is to provide users with better support, in this case when practicing a presentation. It is a prime example of how the assistance we receive from Artificial Intelligence is gradually permeating everyday life. The positive knock-on effect: Microsoft is underlining its position as leader of the pack in the AI world.

AI Teaches Professional Presentation Skills

Naturally you need to practice your presentation beforehand. But it’s hard to notice the mistakes when you’re alone – you need feedback. So far you have tested the patience of your colleagues, friends or partners.

Those days are now over.

Take a look at the official introductory video by Microsoft:

What the PowerPoint Presenter Coach Offers

The procedure is very simple. Just open Office 365 PowerPoint and start the presentation – the Presenter Coach will already be listening, although it is only available in English at present.

It now provides truly helpful feedback – in real time, analyzing what you say, how you say it, and comparing your talk with the content of the slides. By doing so it is frequently able to identify weaknesses and provide tips for improvements. The tool also recognizes individual speech patterns. I find it absolutely incredible:

It recognizes if you are only reciting the text from the slide.

It tells you if you use fillers like ‘ummm’ or ‘ahhhh’.

It sounds an alarm if you speak too quickly or start to stutter.

The tool raises a cautionary finger if you use discriminatory, politically incorrect expressions or expletives.

The recommendations are based on scientific studies that Microsoft commissioned specifically for this purpose.

Presentation Summary in the Dashboard

Once you are done, you will see a summary in the neatly arranged dashboard. The tool adds valuable tricks along with your strengths, weaknesses and more general data.

This feedback lets you see at a glance which aspects of your presentation still have room for improvement.

Microsoft PowerPoint Presenter Coach Dashboard
Source: Microsoft PowerPoint Presenter Coach Dashboard

To the Point - Tips

At present, Microsoft only offers the PowerPoint Presentation Coach Feature for Office 365 PowerPoint Online. It is currently unknown whether and when this feature might be included in a local PC version of PowerPoint.

The PowerPoint Presenter Coach only supports the English language at the moment.

In order to run, it needs an English-language user interface for Office 365.

If you are currently unable to use this feature in your PowerPoint Online, it is not yet rolled out on your Office 365 Tenant. My tip: Wait a few days and then give your IT department a nudge.

My Summary

The preparation for lectures is a nerve-wracking process and requires a long preparation. The PowerPoint Presentation Coach helps you not to expose yourself to colleagues or family with a presentation that is not fully developed. This feature analyzes your performance from a neutral perspective. Thus, you work in peace on your own weaknesses in order to become a better speaker.

I myself will integrate this coach into my preparation routine for English-language presentations. In the first tests I have been given really good tips. My decision: I will use the Presentation Coach for a last TryRun, for example in the hotel room the day before I will have my next presentation.

I hope that this new feature will also help you to prepare more efficient for your upcoming presentations.

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Erik Moll

Go-To-Market Manager Central Europe

Digital Transformation & Future Workplace

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