Virtual reality simulations as a new tool for practicing presentations and refining public-speaking skills

Oliver Niebuhr, Jan Michalsky


Presentations are typically practiced alone while talking to oneself in a silent room. It is not only questionable whether such a rehearsal setting is a proper preparation for a real public-speaking situation. Giving the same talk repeatedly to oneself also bears the risk that speaking ""erodes"" from the communicative act of conveying a message to listeners into a mere mechanical exercise that is neither content- nor audience-oriented. Against this background, it is tested from a digital-humanities perspective whether a VR public-speaking simulation, in which a speaker can rehearse his/her talk in a virtual conference room and in front of a virtual audience, is a suitable alternative to practicing a presentation on one's own. Prosodic measures of speaking style are analyzed and compared between two groups of 12 speakers, a control group and a VR test group, each of which performed several rounds of practicing. Results suggest that test-group speakers take the VR environment seriously and show, unlike control group speakers, an audience-oriented, more charismatic speaking style, with reduced signs of prosodic erosion due to repeated rehearsal. These findings are discussed in the light of digital-humanities applications of VR technology.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-63

Cite as: Niebuhr, O., Michalsky, J. (2018) Virtual reality simulations as a new tool for practicing presentations and refining public-speaking skills. Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018, 309-313, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-63.


@inproceedings{Niebuhr2018,
  author={Oliver Niebuhr and Jan Michalsky},
  title={Virtual reality simulations as a new tool for practicing presentations and refining public-speaking skills},
  year=2018,
  booktitle={Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018},
  pages={309--313},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-63},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-63}
}