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A woman presenting to her laptopWant to become a better public speaker? It’s a common professional development goal. Who doesn’t want to be confident, knowledgeable and engaging?

Luckily, Microsoft has developed some built-in tools that eases your path to becoming a stronger public speaker. These tools — Speaker Coach and Teleprompter — can help you polish your presentations while you practice and give you live tips as you present.

Microsoft Speaker Coach

Whether it’s reducing your, um, filler words or making more eye contact, there are a lot of little pieces that go into strengthening your presentations. 

Microsoft’s Speaker Coach, available for PowerPoint and Teams, gives feedback on your pace, pitch, filler words, grammar and more. It also provides body language feedback, like making eye contact and staying in view of the camera.  

While it’s the same tool in both programs, Speaker Coach fills different roles in PowerPoint and Microsoft Teams. 

Speaker Coach in PowerPoint

In PowerPoint, Speaker Coach helps you prepare for your presentation. As you practice a few slides or your entire slide show, Speaker Coach shares on-screen guidance. Once you’ve completed your practice, Speaker Coach shows a detailed rehearsal report.  

The report shares areas where you can strengthen your presentation and helps you know where to focus your efforts for the most impact.  

A speaker coach rehearsal report, flagging areas where the speaker can improve. In this case, the speaker needs to work on body language, like staying in view of the camera.
The Speaker Coach report provides contextual feedback. Image courtesy of Microsoft

Speaker Coach gives a variety of feedback, and you’ll notice that the feedback it gives you is contextual. If you’re reading the text straight from a slide, Speaker Coach will flag which slides you should work on summarizing. If you need to vary your pitch, you’ll see specific times in your presentation to work on. Speaker Coach will even tag words you may need to practice pronouncing.

To enable Speaker Coach, select Rehearse with Coach from the Slide Show tab, then select Get Started. Speaker Coach is available on the web, Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android. For more details on Speaker Coach in PowerPoint, visit Rehearse your slide show with Speaker Coach.

Speaker Coach in Microsoft Teams

In Teams, Speaker Coach analyzes your virtual meeting contributions.

When you’re presenting in Teams, turn on Speaker Coach for real-time and post-meeting insights. With Speaker Coach turned on during your presentation, you’ll get the same type of real-time and post-presentation feedback as practicing in PowerPoint, just simplified a little.

You can use Speaker Coach in Teams while sharing your screen or when presenting with PowerPoint Live. If you haven’t used PowerPoint Live, think of it as presenter mode but optimized for meetings. You have all the content you need, including Teams chat and audience view, at your fingertips while being confident you’re only sharing what you mean to share. PowerPoint Live also makes it easy to seamlessly co-present and hand over slide control.

Speaker Coach insights from Microsoft Teams, showing an analysis of how many times filler words were used in a meeting
Speaker Coach in Teams can analyze all your meetings, not just your presentations. Screenshot courtesy of Microsoft

But Speaker Coach in Teams isn’t just for presentations. You can enable Speaker Coach in any or all your Teams meetings, even when you’re not a presenter. No matter how you contribute to a meeting, Speaker Coach will share insights into how you can become a better public speaker.

You can choose to enable Speaker Coach in select meetings, or you can choose to turn it on by default. Enabling Speaker Coach for all your Teams meetings is a great way to get more feedback and see how you’re improving over time.

No matter how you’re using Speaker Coach, feedback is private and not shared with others in the meeting. For more details on how to turn on Speaker Coach in Teams, visit Microsoft Support.

PowerPoint Teleprompter

In mid-June, Microsoft announced enhancements to another PowerPoint tool — Teleprompter. While Speaker Coach helps while you’re presenting, Teleprompter assists with recording. Together, the two tools help you become a better public speaker at every step of your presentation.

A close up look at Microsoft PowerPoint Teleprompter, with a scrolling speaker notes view above a preview of the slide
Teleprompter scrolls your speaker notes close to your camera, making it easier to make eye contact. Image courtesy of Microsoft

Just like the teleprompters you’re familiar with from watching the news, PowerPoint’s Teleprompter scrolls your speaker notes while you’re recording. The enhanced view is part PowerPoint Recording Studio.

Once you’re ready to record, choose your view — Slide View, Presenter View or the new Teleprompter.

Teleprompter puts your speaker notes at the top of your screen. This is close to your camera, which helps you maintain eye contact.

You can enable the auto-scroll feature and adjust the scroll speed to what feels comfortable for you. You can also choose to make your entire view the teleprompter instead of looking at your slides. When you’re ready, just press record and start speaking.

Currently, Teleprompter is available only for PowerPoint on Windows. Expect it to roll out to Mac and PowerPoint on the web soon. Read more about Teleprompter from the Microsoft 365 blog.

Dig deeper with LinkedIn Learning

Want to dig deeper into becoming a public speaking pro? ITS has another tool that can help — LinkedIn Learning. Log in for free using your Onyen and search for “public speaking” to find the right course for you. Options range from quick tips to master classes.

If becoming a better public speaker is one of your professional development goals, track your learning through Carolina Talent. After you activate LinkedIn Learning, just start your course through Carolina Talent and it will appear in your transcript. Your transcript will be visible to your manager. This makes it easy to track and share progress on your professional development goals. For more details, visit Learning in Carolina Talent.

And LinkedIn Learning has even more ways to make it easy to learn — from “nano” courses to an app to audio-only lessons. Read more about how LinkedIn Learning can help you make learning a healthy habit.

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