Love it or hate it, Microsoft’s PowerPoint is a difficult tool to ignore in business today. Many of us are competent users of this software but even the best designed presentation will fail to have the right impact if your public speaking skills are not up to scratch.

So, to help ensure your presentation packs the right punch, Microsoft has announced a new AI tool that provides feedback as you practice your address in front of your computer.

Introducing Microsoft Presenter Coach

Presenter Coach offers on-screen guidance about pacing, inclusive language, use of swear words, filler words and culturally insensitive phrases. It will even let presenters know when they are just reading off the slide instead of engaging with the audience.

At the end of each rehearsal session, a detailed report with metrics for additional practice is provided.

Shawn Villaron, PowerPoint Partner Group Program Manager, said: “From classrooms to boardrooms, our belief is that everyone can improve how they present. Training and feedback help people gain confidence and empower them to achieve their personal and professional goals. Over the past few years, we’ve received feedback from educators, students and customers that people want an easy way to practice their presentations to improve their public speaking abilities.

“Today, we’re announcing the upcoming availability of Presenter Coach in PowerPoint. Presenting in front of a live audience is a vital life skill. Based on academic research and field studies, we’ve integrated presentation best practices into Presenter Coach to help people give more effective presentations.”

New AI feature to provide design suggestions

Presenter Coach is one of a raft of new features Microsoft has introduced into PowerPoint, which uses an AI-powered feature called Designer to automatically provide layout suggestions when users add an image to a slide.

Designer now works with a company’s branded templates, choosing the most suitable layouts for the content, intelligently cropping images and automatically recommending relevant icons and pictures. This ensures that companies can create presentations that meet their corporate branding and visual identity guidelines.

“In today’s fast-paced work environments, people are pressed for time, and AI-powered features like Designer help people create visually engaging and immersive presentations with only a few clicks,” Villaron added. “Now users can get this streamlined experience while working with their organisations’ templates, using branded layouts instead of needing to improvise.”

Finally, Designer will recognise when a user types a large number onto a slide and add context. For example, entering “Commercial planes fly at 30,000 feet” onto a slide will bring up images of planes and a word box containing the fact that 30,000 feet is “about the height of Mount Everest.