Can AI Really Help You Be a Better Public Speaker?

Roaming the halls of Eureka Park, the start-up gallery at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES17) in January, I came across an interesting company, touting a “cloud-based public speaking practice tool.”  Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help coach you to become a better public speaker. The prospect intrigued me immediately. Fortunately, Debra Cancro, the company’s founder, was there to introduce me to the product and answer my questions.  I think many of us feel that communication is an important skill in influencing others. What is leadership if not the ability to influence others? So an AI public speaking tool makes sense to me.

Display of a dashboard on you public speaking traits
The VoiceVibes Analysis Dashboard. AI Review of Your Public Speaking.

AI Public Speaker tool…

Some college professors already use an enterprise license of VoiceVibes in their courses and students become more effective public speakers. Since January, individuals interested in self-improvement may now purchase a subscription. Considering I don’t tend to impress easily, I signed up for CES17 special offer to get a VoiceVibes trial for myself.  I’ve leveraged it to assess some videos that I have done as a college guest lecturer and for some content available on YouTube as well as on this site.  It has been helpful to discover areas where I can improve as well as areas needing less attention.

Two trend lines across five talks
Typical trends across talks.

It has been pretty simple to leverage the VoiceVibes app to upload a half-dozen talks that I’m done and to see where I’m improving and where I’m not.  The trick is to not try to fix everything at once.  I still have some work to do on the strength of my openings. I seem to be doing better in speaking with clarity. I really like that it counts my “ums” and “ahs”. They seem to minimize when I am most prepared on the topic and not distracted by environmental interruptions and ill-prepared points. I like the fact that I can record a talk either passively on my smartphone/tablet unobtrusively or merely upload a recording that I’ve already done.

The National Science Foundation funded some initial research for the product through a grant and the State of Maryland supports VoiceVibes through a technology grant.

Affordable Self-Improvement

I really think the product is underpriced at this point since it is the equivalent of having a personal “public-speaking” coach for a $189 year’s subscription. Although you will realize value if you are really willing to record your speaking events and presentations and then make the conscious effort to learn and improve.  I am excited to see where I will be by the end of my subscription.

For more about VoiceVibes and a special Health IT Accelerator $30-discount offer, click here.

We would love to hear from anyone who has leveraged the product for self-improvement or has completed a college course featuring the product. We hope that Debra is able to do some future modeling for patient education for healthcare.  Hopefully someone reading this will get on board and offer a pilot site for VoiceVibes to develop algorithms for improving clinician-patient communication during critical transitions of care, such as hospital discharge.  With high rates of healthcare illiteracy, it would be great if clinicians could avoid condescending tones and speak clearly and concisely during patient education.

About the Founder:

Portrait photoof Debra Cancro
Debra Bond Cancro, founder of VoiceVibes

Debra Bond Cancro founded VoiceVibes to empower individuals to become better oral communicators.  She started as an engineer out of college with AT&T Bell Laboratories. She eventually ended up  at the Broadcom Corporation doing product marketing management for their Bluetooth and HDMI product lines.  She has worked with multiple high-tech start-ups – the last  acquired for $242.5 million. Debra holds a patent on a method for detecting condescending speech.

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