Startup News

Scared of public speaking? Use VR

Picture of Charlie Gunningham
Charlie Gunningham
// // A local public speaking coach - who still has a stutter - is using VR to help people get over their fear of public speaking.

I think we’ve all been there. Nervously up front on stage, speech ready, hands (and script) shaking. Nervously facing the audience, your mouth goes dry, hands start to get sweaty and your heart pounds in your chest. You open your mouth and nothing comes out. A squeak maybe. You clear your throat. An awkward cough is heard from the back of the room. Silence. Somewhere, a baby cries.

Shil Shanghavi is a stutterer who’s always had a crippling fear of public speaking.

His stutter contributed to mental health and confidence issues, which then resulted in poor performance throughout his professional career.

Shil experiences speaking challenges in daily communication, so it’s quite remarkable that he is now a public speaking specialist and runs Chatterbox Public Speaking.

Talk about standing up to your fears head on.

His challenges compelled him to look for solutions where people – like him – could practice speaking in public without having to physically be in front of an audience.

“I’ve always felt really nervous speaking to groups of people. Aside from practising in front of friends, family and colleagues, or visiting public speaking clubs – there was nothing else.”

Shil Shanghavi, Chatterbox VR

He wanted to offer people an alternative approach for building their public speaking skills and in 2019, he started experimenting with Virtual Reality. Launching the idea at his own Gamechanger event in June 2020, he refined the offering and built his own platform, Chatterbox Virtual Reality.

Chatterbox VR client session
Shil (left) with a client, using ChatterboxVR, last month. Image Supplied.

Currently, Chatterbox Virtual Reality offers 3 avatar environments:

  • a conference stage,
  • a boardroom, and
  • a networking environment

And there are more in the pipeline.

In addition, Shil is adding pre-recorded environments with real audiences in 360 videos, and analytics to measure speaking performance.

The ultimate product would be one where a user could hit a button and – boom – an audience appears in the room in front of them, and then they could practice their talk.

“Chatterbox Virtual Reality has different audiences to [help you] face your fear of public speaking and practice your presentation skills.”

“I think we know what we want to say. The problem is that people are scared of that shock of being in front of an audience, this is another way to adjust to that feeling. It’s another way for people to get comfortable, being uncomfortable.”

Shil Shanghavi, Chatterbox VR


For more, visit Chatterbox VR and watch the video below…

Get more advice and actionable insights to help you grow your startup.

Share this post :

Picture of Charlie Gunningham

Charlie Gunningham

Former co-founder, GM, CEO Business News and Accelerating Commercialisation adviser. Charlie has spent 20+ years in Perth's startup scene, as founder, mentor, adviser, writer and investor. There's nothing he likes more than helping early stage tech startups ... and drinking coffee, shiraz or playing in a blues band. Email Charlie here.
Latest News

Become a Startup Insider

Get the latest startup news, tips, and inspiration in your inbox each week.