When it comes to inspiring fear, public speaking is up there with spiders, heights and getting stuck in the lift with John Banks. But a Kiwi app development company called Sush Mobile hopes it can reduce the number of sweaty palms, dull thuds in the chest and embarrassing stutters with a new iPhone app called Speak Like a Pro. And it's proving popular, with the app sitting at No. 1 in the iTunes entertainment app charts and, within 48 hours of its launch, No. 9 in the iTunes business app charts.
Almost like a digital version of Toastmasters, the $1.29 app works by recording users reading a speech and then using sophisticated voice analysis to score their performance and offer advice on how to improve. It claims it "can turn even the most phobic public speaker into a pro", with a suite of tools that shows the user what an ideal voice sounds like and how to mimic it, how to make speech clearer and more audible, and how to increase projection. Sadly, it can't tell you what to talk about. So if you're boring, well, too bad.
"There's a huge emphasis these days on technology that helps us communicate, but almost nothing that helps with our most basic communication tool: speech," says Sush Mobile's managing director Sulabh Sharma. "These days public speaking is very much a part of most work environments in some way, yet so many people are terrified of public speaking or they know they just can't seem to engage their audience, and we wanted this app to address this issue. We think one of the reasons Speak Like A Pro has gained in popularity so quickly is that it's really useful for people who need to make presentations and speeches as part of their jobs, but it's also a fun app that's highly entertaining."
Sush Mobile and 3CIPS worked closely with two of the world's top voice and speech experts Gabrielle Rogers and Gerry Sont to make sure the coaching offered by Speak Like a Pro is professional, practical, and most importantly, effective. And Sharma says its immediate success is proof there is demand in the marketplace for mobile apps that offer intelligent, practical solutions to everyday problems.
"It's no longer enough for mobile apps to be gimmicky or just reproductions of websites. Users are demanding apps that improve their lives and businesses. At Sush Mobile we specialise in apps that add value to businesses and which are both practical and entertaining for users. With use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets skyrocketing, we think the future of mobile apps is wide open—and hugely exciting."
If only George Dubya knew about this.