For instance, you have the automated speech writer that will endeavor to give you good material to work with.
Or you have the augmented reality glasses that aim to give you live feedback on everything from your pitch to your cadence as you speak.
They hope to allow speakers to practice their delivery and get the kind of feedback required to succeed on stage. Of course, one thing that the glasses don’t replicate is the nerves you feel when stood in front of an audience.
This is where a new virtual reality platform comes in. British start-up Virtual Speech offers speakers the opportunity to perform in front of a ‘live’ audience.
The technology, which is powered by Google Cardboard, allows users to upload any slides or notes they have to the app. They then select a suitable training scenario, whether that’s presenting to the board or to a prestigious conference.
They then put on their Cardboard headset and are immersed into a realistic 3D environment. The use can then go through their delivery in front of the animated audience. To further test themselves, they can even adjust various factors, whether that’s upping the level of visual distractions or the various other things that can put you off your stride.
The app is currently available on Android, with an iOS version coming soon. The team also plan on increasing their range of scenarios to include giving a wedding speech or presenting to a team in an office.
Whilst the technology is undoubtedly nice, a recent study provided a reminder that our gut instinct is actually pretty good when we try and judge a crowd.
“When we look at a crowd of faces, what we see is not a bunch of individual faces, but rather an average of the entire crowd,” the authors say. “However, how do we know whether this average is reliable? If half the faces are happy and the other faces are angry, it would not be advantageous to see the ‘neutral’ average.”
Whether we get a similar aggregation from virtual audiences is something that is far from clear. Maybe that’s something for a future study.
Anyway, have a look at the video below to learn a bit more about Virtual Speech.