If the mere thought of speaking in front of a packed conference room makes your heart start pounding, there’s now a virtual reality app designed to help curb your fear. Virtual Speech lets users practice for upcoming speeches by putting them on stage or in the conference room (virtually).
At the moment, the app is available only for Android, but an iOS version is in the works. According to Springwise, users don their Google Cardboard headset and step into a 3D simulation of their choosing—either a 15-person office or a 400-person conference. Each room is full of professional-looking avatars who appear to listen, move around, and even provide realistic distractions during your presentation. Virtual Speech even lets users upload slides and visual materials, enabling them to practice visual presentations within the app.
The idea is to allow users to practice for upcoming presentations, but also to help users build public speaking skills and overcome anxiety in general. According to the company's website, “It is estimated that over 85 percent of people fear public speaking, in a world where clear and assertive communication can be the difference between succeeding or failing in business.” Virtual Speech claims that three to five days of training can improve a user’s “chance of succeeding” tenfold. While that claim may be difficult to substantiate, the app seems useful for anyone whose friends and family are tired of serving as a practice audience for their upcoming presentation.