A few months ago, Microsoft announced that PowerPoint would soon get an AI-powered presentation coach that could help you prepare for that important next presentation by giving you immediate feedback. Today, the company is launching this new tool, starting with the web version of PowerPoint.
Public speaking is a skill that takes lots of practice, but few people ever rehearse their presentations. Some don’t because they maybe think they are already great (but aren’t) and others because even the rehearsal makes them nervous. There’s no doubt, though, that practicing a presentation helps.
The new PowerPoint Presentation Coach aims to take the hassle out of practicing. In its current version, the tool looks at three things: pace, slide reading and word choice. Pace is pretty self-explanatory and looks at how fast or slow somebody is speaking. The “slide reading” feature detects when you are simply reading the words from your slides word for word. Nobody wants to sit through that kind of presentation. The “word choice” tool doesn’t just detect how often you say “um,” “ah,” “actually” or “basically,” it also gives you feedback when you are using culturally insensitive phrases like “you guys” or “best man for the job.”
In addition to the new presentation coach, Office 365 is getting a few other new features today. These include better inking support in PowerPoint, including the ability to replay what you drew on a slide so that you can essentially create animations that way (this is now available on Windows and Mac, with more inking support for Office on the web coming soon). Microsoft is also updating the Microsoft Whiteboard with new templates, and teachers with an Office 365 subscription can now make use of 10 new lesson plans that include 23 custom 3D models to bring those lessons to life.