I talk about presentations having 3 components: content, design, and delivery. I probably spend the least time talking about delivery, but it’s important! You can be engaging, lively, and informal. You can also appear wooden, dull, and formal.
One of the best techniques to improve your delivery is to practice, but how do you get feedback on how well you did? You can videotape or record yourself and use your own judgment. You can hire a speaking coach.
Or you can use Presenter Coach, a PowerPoint tool that lets you practice your delivery and then gives you feedback. It has actually been around for a few months in the web version of PowerPoint, but is now available in the desktop version.
Delivery skill examples
Some examples of specific skills that you can practice to improve your delivery are:
- Avoiding filler words, such as uh, um, you know, so, and many more
- Speaking too fast or in a monotone
- Reading slides
- Using words that might offend people in the audience
- Not looking at the audience (facing the slides to read them, staring over their heads, etc.)
Presenter Coach does most of these and is coming out with additional types of evaluation, so watch for updates!
Steps for using Presenter Coach
To start, open your presentation and choose Slide Show, Rehearse with Coach.
Your presentation goes into Slide Show view and you see a Welcome screen, inviting you to start rehearsing. You have the option — actually, it’s the default — to show real-time feedback. Real-time feedback makes a notification sound and shows a suggestion in that box while you’re presenting.
Try it both ways. I find the real-time feedback distracting because I tend to stop practicing to read the suggestion. Whichever option you choose, you’ll get a report at the end.
Go through your presentation. Don’t try to be perfect and don’t start over if you make a mistake. That’s not the point. Presenter Coach is looking at general delivery skills, not whether you paused, misspoke, or repeated something.
When you finish your presentation, click again to exit Slide Show view and you’ll see your “report.” Here’s an example of the one I got.
After the summary, there are sections on:
- Fillers: These are filler words and you can see that I said “you know.”
- Sensitive Phrases: These are words or phrases that some people might find offensive or non-inclusive.
- Pace: This is the speed at which you spoke
- Originality: If you read your slides, you’ll see a suggestion to be more original
Expect more sections to appear as Microsoft expands this feature.
You can also click Rehearse Again to repeat the process.
Note that you can click Learn More after each section to see an explanation and get further suggestions for improving your delivery.
Will this help you?
Try out Presenter Coach and let me know what you think of it. Is it useful? Please leave a comment. And please use the Share buttons below to share this post with your presentation colleagues!