If you’re afraid of public speaking, you’re not alone. In fact, most people in the world are. But new app Orai can help assuage your fears and prepare you to speak confidently in front of a crowd. Orai is based on the belief that training to be a good public speaker is like training for a marathon; progress builds over daily practice.
The app is simple and intuitive to use. To begin, users can choose from a list of pre-generated questions to answer or speak on a topic of their own choice. Once the speech is recorded, Orai provides feedback in four different areas: speech clarity, use of filler words (such as um and like), pace, and energy. It then gives users target ranges for each of these categories.
Orai generates a transcript of each speech recorded, which allows the app to pinpoint specific areas that need work. The app color-codes filler words, sentences spoken too slowly or quickly, and those spoken energetically or monotonously. You can view this feedback while listening to the recording, making it easy to hear the mistake and work to correct it in future attempts. In addition, the app tracks how often you practice throughout the week and encourages you to establish a consistent routine.
Unfortunately, Orai’s voice recognition software didn’t always get it right. In fact, many of the words in my transcripts were incorrect or replaced with an underscore, symbolizing that the software did not understand. Perhaps this is a sign that my normal speech habits are not clear, but after receiving similar results despite my best efforts again and again, I don’t think my speech pattern is entirely to blame. This seemed to skew other areas of feedback as well, such as counting the number of filler words used.
In addition, the app would give users more incentive to use it if it provided cumulative feedback over time. For instance, if it kept track of the number of filler words a speaker used over the course of several months, their pace, or energy levels, users would be able to track their long-term progress in specific areas.
Orai encourages you to practice public speaking on a regular basis, and its pre-generated list of topics to speak on can easily fit into a couple of spare minutes a day. An aspiring public speaker could certainly gain self-awareness by listening to their practice recordings while simultaneously viewing feedback on the transcript. Although this app currently causes some frustrations, if it improves in future releases, it has great promise to be a tool anyone could use to build confidence and skill before stepping in front of a crowd.Image: by Tim Napier via Unsplash