Use an App to Improve Your Public Speaking!
Wish you could get some immediate feedback on your delivery skills? Orai can help! It’s an app that critiques your public speaking in real time. I not only spoke to Paritosh Gupta, one of the co-founders of the app, but I also tested it out myself. Here’s what I discovered….
• It provides support in four main areas:
word clarity - Let’s you know if are easily understood. This is especially helpful if you are a non-native speaker of English.
pace - Indicates whether your speed is too fast, slow, or just right. Even points out specific spots in your recording that are problematic.
energy - Gives you feedback on the variation in your tone. A monotone becomes boring, but strategically using volume can make your delivery more interesting.
filler words - Counts your use of words like “um” “uh” . An occasionally filler word is fine, but a lot of them can be very distracting.
• It’s affordable.
Orai provides 10 minutes of free feedback per month, as well as basic lessons. This is definitely enough to let you know if you could use more help. The Pro Plan, at $9.99 per month, offers unlimited recording time in addition to the basic lessons. This feels like an incredible deal to me - unlimited feedback on demand for just $10 bucks.
• It supports non-American English accents.
And that’s on all plans. I consider this feature a huge benefit, because it means that Orai will work for you whether you speak English with a Nigerian accent, a British accent, an Indian accent, an American accent, etc.
• It works!
Recently I was preparing to be a guest on a podcast, so I rehearsed some of what I wanted to say using the Orai app. Knowing that it was going to be counting my filler words helped me to be more conscious of pausing and choosing my words carefully in order to avoid those “um’s” and “uh’s.” After several recordings I was using zero filler words - a great success!
And although I had generally good ratings in the other areas, it was interesting to see the graphs showing my variation in energy and pace over time.
• It can’t replace personalized coaching.
Using Orai to address those four aspects of your delivery can go a long way toward helping you improve, especially if you struggle in these areas. However, you’ll still need to craft your speech, which includes creating an attention-getting introduction, compelling stories and support, a clear and strategic organization, etc. And there are other matters of delivery such as eye contact, movement and posture which Orai is unable to address.
• Some features are rather subjective.
For example, in a few instances I got rated as being “a little too energetic.” I had to laugh because I’m definitely very expressive. From my perspective, a high “energy” rating can mean you’re interesting to listen to because you vary your pitch a lot, or, as per Orai, it can make you seem nervous or inauthentic. It also occasionally rated me as speaking too fast, but I’m quite intentional about my speed and know that in some instances, faster is better. Finally, my word clarity never got about 90%. Considering I’m a native speaker and have excellent enunciation (pretty necessary in my line of work, lol), I’m not sure why it wasn’t higher.
In any case, Orai draws your attention to potentially troublesome aspects so that you can then consider and evaluate this feedback and/ or get other “human” feedback.
The bottom line?
I will definitely be recommending Orai to my clients. (And in the spirit of full disclosure, I receive nothing for these recommendations.) You can go orai.com to download the app and get started. Or go here to listen to the full interview.