Teams Speaker Coach – what’s your score?

Recently a client brought the Speaker Coach feature to my attention, so I thought I would have a play…

I realised that when we see a feature in Teams called something along the lines of “speaker coach” you immediately think the target audience will be people who speak or like to speak for a living. Yet, in this new remote/hybrid world that isn’t who we are now. If your work day is anything like mine or the many team members from all levels of professional roles I’ve talked to then you are likely spending anything up to 50% of your day “speaking” in Microsoft Teams.

How we communicate in small meetings, large ones, and in one-to-many speaking engagements such as presentations is really important. The Speaker Coach feature (once you find it) is crazy useful to help you with all of these scenarios.

It’s also, as my title suggests, a nice icebreaker with your team where you can compare the notes you get back from your own coach.

The basics…

1 – Only you can see that you have your coach turned on and therefore only you see the results

2 – You will find it can vary slightly – it’s here for me – which is slightly different from some images I’ve seen on social / blogs

3 – You can choose to turn the feature on per meeting or always on, take your pick

4 – Post meeting you receive a small report looking something like this…

Clicking on the suggestions gets you more details on any improvements you can make and what parts you are getting right.

You can also get prompts in the meeting, I think my most common suggestion is that I talk too fast, which if you know me and how passionate I can get about topics, is spot on!

It is very important to note that none of this is a criticism and that fragile mental health stemming from remote working may not be helped by these reports, but if you look closely at the results and work with the tool, the outcome, from those I’ve spoken to who have used it for much longer than me, have found shorter and more productive meetings, fewer monologues and have even replaced meetings with chat.

We often choose to create a meeting for ease, when a simple “ask” in chat or a thread that all can contribute to when they can would be a much better fit.

As a CEO, my diary is always full of meetings, with team members, clients, and community folks. Any tool that helps me be more efficient in those meetings improves my communication and makes them shorter or fewer has to be a good thing 🙂

So, for this feature I would;

  • Only turn it on when you want to see the results (do not beat yourself up, mental health is a priority in a remote role)
  • Use it as a gamification tool with peers, work on helping each other by sharing – have fun with it
  • Not take it too seriously, but if you are a speaker, it can give you some feedback that will really help improve your technique, make your presentations clearer (and maybe slower) and give you some positive feedback as you progress.

I love that Microsoft Teams continues to improve and is not just about video stream quality, or platform improvements but is aware of how and why people are using the platform.

There’s been a few more features I’ve looked at over the last few months so stay tuned and I’ll update you with my thoughts on them from a productivity, business value, and user experience perspective. For me these perspectives are:

Business Value – included in the license and a good team builder, if not taken too seriously

Productivity – very little negative impact as quick to review, can help if you want to use it to improve meeting quality

User Experience – easy to use, works in the background, tips during the meeting can distract a little but can be ignored

Thanks for listening – don’t forget to leave comments below or get in touch with me directly if you’d like to chat about the content posted here or anything to do with the Power Platform – I’m a Business Applications speaker and evangelist with a clear focus on delivering real business value from technology. I speak at least once a month so please find me at an event and #LetsGetCoffee

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