Our corporate CEO practicing a presentation to a full conference room.

Corporate Public Speaking Training with VR

What impression do your employees make when public speaking?

When employees or owners represent the company, their public speaking skills become part of the message and corporate image. Instilling confidence in your company is difficult if the speaker is visibly or audibly dealing with fear. A speaker who’s speech isn’t polished or is downright boring isn’t helping your image either.

Corporate entities typically address this important part of their public image in up to three ways. The most visible is providing training opportunities to build expertise in public speaking. Another is preparing speeches and presentations; this is often reserved for only the most important speeches.  The last, and possibly the most neglected, is assessing skills of potential hires and potential future management.

public speaking training

Courses run by external trainers are probably the most common method of training public speaking in the corporate environment. They might be half day up to a couple of days. Such courses are often a part of programs for training future management; though it is almost a footnote in many programs.

What has been the feedback from those sessions, particularly months afterwards?

Courses generally provide knowledge about public speaking and have very limited opportunity for practice and feedback. Trainers do the best they can, but generally the format doesn’t allow them to provide what is needed, frequent repeated practice. Public speaking is a craft, not a simple formula. It requires training just like a sport, something that has traditionally been difficult to provide inside the corporate structure.

VR Enhanced Training

VR applications, like Virtual Orator, can enhance traditional training. While traditional public speaking education focuses on introducing skills and providing tips, VR provides the speaking opportunities required to internalize speaking skills. It is through realistic, repeated practice that your employees transfer the ideas they’ve learned into the public image you want.

VR provides a flexible experience of presenting to groups of people at a finger press. Virtual audiences are always prepared and don’t require down time for other workers to be a practice audience. Employees can train in virtually any venue, all from your offices. Most importantly, employees don’t have to fear peer rejection during practice.

Training of skills is enhanced, because they can be supported directly. The venue and situation are selected to match the skill set being trained. You train in a setting that matches the eventual venue, e.g.  you can train in a conference center styled room with a full audience. The audience behavior is adjusted to fit training needs.

Preparing Speeches and Presentations

Good speeches and presentations require practice. Practice helps us internalize the content, enabling us to present more confidently. It helps us identify issues with the content and its organization. It helps us perfect our delivery, so we can emphasize the right points.

While practice is advisable for all presentations, often only the most important speeches and presentations get formal practice, or practice at all. In the case of critical speeches from top management, we might hire a PR firm to perfect the speech and performance of our employees. For lower rung employees, internal processes might be enacted for practice.

VR Enhanced Preparation

For important speeches and presentations, VR provides the opportunity for repeated, realistic practice in front of an audience. Practice is more effective, since it is more like the real situation. By speaking in a similar setting as where the speech will be delivered, employees ‘own’ the venue when they step into the spotlight.

Moreover, practicing speeches and presentations no longer needs to be reserved top management and important occasions. With VR, only the HMD, PC and a simple room are required. Realistic practice is available for all your employees.

Finally, public speaking situations aren’t always simple and friendly. Make sure your employees are prepared to react gracefully. There might be distractions, like phones or noisy ventilation systems. The audience might be unfriendly, or even downright rude. With experience of those types of situations, we learn how to react more gracefully. Simulating these situations in reality is hard, but just a setting in VR.

Assessing Skills

Public speaking skills impact greatly the impression individuals make; by extension employee skills also impact the impression people have of the corporation for which they work. This is true not only of the PR personnel and C-level management, but of anyone presenting in the outside world. How do you access this important skill in candidates, who will reasonably have to speak in public at some point?

VR skill assessment

VR provides new possibilities to evaluate public speaking skills. Check how candidates perform when presenting to a full audience, not just to a couple of people during an interview. VR provides that possibility.

Evaluating candidates that have to gracefully handle difficult situations? With Virtual Orator you can see how they’ll handle hard questions during a sales pitch, or how they’ll handle distracting and stressful situations. Hard to replicate situations, like heckling, are also possible in VR.

VR for Corporate Speaking Excellence

Public speaking is an important channel through which individuals, and by extension corporations, present themselves to the world. Its impact comes down to the skill of the individual speaking. Whether that employee is a PR professional, the CEO, or someone from RD talking at a conference. It is up to their personal skills and the corporate culture on speaker preparation.

VR-based tools can enhance public speaking in your corporation. They enhance existing training, so that skills and tips get internalized. Skills are kept sharp as speaking opportunities are a click away. They provide novel ways to access the existing skills of potential hires and management candidates.

Do your employees have the public speaking skills they need?

Founder/CEO at Virtual Orator

Dr. Blom is a long time researcher in the VR field. He is the founder of Virtual Human Technologies, which applies VR and avatar technologies to human problems and helping better understand people. Virtual Orator exists largely because Dr. Blom wishes he had had such a tool instead of the ‘trail by fire’ he went through learning to speak in public.


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