On this episode, I speak with Varun Puri, Co-Founder of Yoodli.ai.  I’m a big fan of Yoodli and have been using it basically since the day it became available. Many of my students in the MBA program are using it to practice for job interviews and other presentations. Full disclosure, I’m on the Yoodli Speech Coaches Advisory Board. I receive no compensation for this. I do it because I believe in the product and the power of public speaking skills to improve people’s career opportunities.

Born and raised in India, Varun moved to the US for college and later joined Google. At Google, he wore many hats, from running special projects for Sergey Brin to being a product manager at Google X. Despite his fulfilling career at Google, Varun’s passion for his innovative idea led him to take a leap of faith and start Yoodli.ai.

Yoodli.ai is an AI-powered speech coach that provides real-time feedback on speaking skills. It focuses on three key areas: delivery, content, and peer collaboration. As Varun demonstrated during our podcast interview, Yoodli.ai can alert users in real-time to adjust their speaking pace.

The platform has received an overwhelming response, with users worldwide comparing it to Grammarly and Duolingo for speech coaching. This comparison underscores Yoodli.ai’s effectiveness in enhancing speaking skills.

Yoodli.ai has developed an everyday communication coach feature. This feature, available as an app, can be installed on a computer and used during calls. It provides real-time feedback on speaking habits, such as speaking too quickly or for too long. This feature allows users to improve their communication skills without having to set aside dedicated practice time.

Varun draws inspiration from fitness apps like Apple Health, which encourage progress in everyday activities, and aims to do the same for speaking.

Making Public Speaking Fun and Engaging

Yoodli.ai also incorporates games to make the learning experience fun and engaging. The goal is to demystify public speaking and make it enjoyable, much like improv games.

Varun and I discussed the importance of practice in feeling comfortable and confident when it comes to public speaking and storytelling. Yoodli.ai provides “exposure therapy” and low-risk practice opportunities for individuals to improve their communication skills.

Varun emphasized that mid-career professionals, particularly those seeking promotions or leadership roles, can benefit greatly from the platform. He shared examples of users who have found success with Yoodli, including a non-native English speaker looking to improve their confidence in meetings.

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