We’ve Moved!

July 9, 2008 by

Well, our blog at least. You can now find your favorite blog located at http://www.surespeak.com/blog/

Be sure to update your RSS feeds.


How Do I invite a Coach?

June 24, 2008 by

Pronunciation: \ˈkōch\
Function: noun
Usage: often attributive
Etymology: Middle English coche, from Middle French, from German Kutsche, from Hungarian kocsi (szekér), literally, wagon from Kocs, Hungary
Date: 1556
Definition:A person you invite to your SureSpeak account to give feedback. This can be a friend, a relative, a teacher, a therapist, a child or anyone from whom you are looking for feedback.

So, this isn’t exactly how Miriam Webster would define a coach. Nonetheless, this is the definition of a coach at SureSpeak. But how do you invite a coach? Well, I’m glad you asked. Here’s the answer.

1. Log into your SureSpeak Account

2. Click on the “Coaching” tab


 3. Then click the “Connections” tab



4. Under the “Connections” tab, you will see a “Send an Invite” button. Click it.


5. Fill out the information on the “My Profile” page, and click “Send Invite”.

My Profile Page


6. You’re Done!


ASTD Convention Wrap-Up

June 17, 2008 by

Last week, Lou and I attended the ASTD International Convention in San Diego. ASTD, which stands for American Society for Training and Development, is the leading organization for training and coaching professionals throughout the world. The convention hosted about 8,000 attendees and was a great source of a knowledge for those who attended.
We participated in the expo, which was the first large-scale trade show we have attended since the re-launch of SureSpeak. The feedback we received was phenomenal! I heard countless people say things like “We’ve GOT to get this”, “This is awesome” and many “wow’s”. The reaction we received made me excited and proud. Attendees were most impressed by how it simply yet completely addresses a need that no one else has yet to address in the training world.
This need is exactly the reason I created SureSpeak in the first place. As a corporate trainer, I recognized the value of role-play, yet had no complete way to incorporate it into training. I couldn’t personally role-play with all trainees during training sessions, so I created this platform to allow trainees to practice and record themselves. I was then able to evaluate each person as if I were there with them. And so SureSpeak was born. While, at ASTD, we saw other products with similar thought processes behind their development—such as games or virtual sales contacts, but nothing was as complete as SureSpeak. I am so proud of the product and its evolution, and the team that has helped get it there. But the team is incomplete without great partnerships. If you’re a coach or trainer, individual or potential corporate client, please contact me about setting up a time to demo SureSpeak. I would love to find out more about you and/or your company and how we might be a great fit for each other.

ASTD 2008 SureSpeak Booth

SureSpeak: Giving Back to Youth

June 11, 2008 by


Darren has been chosen to represent SureSpeak on a business leadership panel at the 2008 HOBY North Illinios Leadership Seminar.  He will be speaking and answering questions among a group of other prominent Chicago business people. The event will be Friday, June 13th at Robert Morris College in Downtown Chicago.
HOBY’s local leadership seminar is designed for high school sophomores to recognize their leadership talents and apply them in becoming effective, ethical leaders in their home, schools, workplace and community. The high level of energy, encouragement and motivation as well as the interaction with peers, panelists and volunteers are important elements in nurturing the students’ future leadership roles. We wish these students the best in the future! If you are a high school or college student, and you’re looking for business advice, feel free to email Darren.


June 5, 2008 by

We now have a mirroring feature available when you are recording in SureSpeak. While I touched on this in a previous post involving updates, I wanted to give specific instructions on how to enable this feature. I know it’s something our SLP/Autism users have been asking for, so here it is! For the time being, only recording is available with the mirroring feature–meaning, when you play back the recording, it will not be mirrored. That will happen in the future, however.
1) When in the recording screen, click on “Menu”

Menu Button

2) Click “Flip”

Flip Button

That’s it! Keep the suggestions coming!

Updates! Updates!

June 2, 2008 by

Hey SureSpeakers,

We wanted to let you know of a few changes to the site.

Q & Aa new way to communicate

You can now ask questions back and forth using our Q&A feature, which we’re super excited about. You can launch this when you record a video, by clicking the “A question or challenge to send” box. Feel free to use this feature to launch your east-to-west coast battle rap competition.


MySpeak pagea better way to view your videos

There’s also a redesigned “My Speak” page where you can view recent activity on your SureSpeak.


Awesome Video PlayerSureSpeak is cutting-edge

There is also a fancy new video player that allows you to choose a “mirroring” option when recording. This feature was added specifically for our SLP/Autism users. You can find this when you’re recording, by clicking on “Menu”.


Connectionsmanage your “people”

Finally, we’ve added a new connections page that allows you to see who your coaches are, who you are coaching (“SureSpeakers”) as well as who you’ve chosen to view a video once (OnDemand Coach).


As part of the ongoing site redesign, there is a new path to courses. If you’re looking for courses, choose “My Courses” below your avatar from your MySpeak page. Choose the course category you want to view, and from there the lesson you want. Or, Freestyle away! If you have an idea, suggestion or a comment, send us an email. Enjoy your SureSpeak experience. Remember, practice makes perfect!


–The SureSpeak Team


New Article in Medill Reports

May 28, 2008 by

Online platform overcomes speech barriersby Stuart Tiffen

SureSpeak CEO Darren Schwartz

Darren Schwartz – Photo by Stuart Tiffen/Medill

published May 21, 2008 in Medill Reports. Here’s an exerpt:

SureSpeak software lets users view video lessons and then record their own speeches via webcam.

Finally, there’s a solution other than picturing the audience in their underwear for people who struggle with public speaking.  Highland Park resident Darren Schwartz, founder and CEO of SureSpeak LLC, has spent the last eight years developing an online training platform to help business people communicate effectively.

“We were definitely able to get people ramped up quickly,” said a client, Brian Macias, former vice president of banker training at Quicken Loans Inc., in Detroit. “The ability to rehearse on webcam and watch it played back was very telling,” Macias said, adding that the process helped build mental muscle memory.

Over six years Schwartz trained 5,000 Quicken call center sales representatives and saw a 25 percent increase in the company’s revenue which he attributed to his training. For his work he booked a tidy $1.5 million.

Dr. Sheryl Rosin, a speech-language pathologist and director of the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders in Birmingham, Mich., said she is using the platform as a pilot program with eight-to ten-year olds with high functioning autism and Asperger’s syndrome. 

“The kids are having a great response … they naturally like using computers,” Rosin said in an interview, “They would almost rather interact with the computer versus people.”

The next step for SureSpeak is growth.  Schwartz is confident SureSpeak will continue to expand as it maintains its cutting edge technology and reaches out to new customers, corporate, institutional and individual, who can benefit from a digital mirror on the wall. “

Read Full Article




Press Release: SureSpeak to Exhibit at ASTD 2008

May 19, 2008 by

CHICAGO, May 18, 2008 – SureSpeak (www.surespeak.com) today announced that it will be exhibiting and demonstrating enhancements to its webcam-based coaching, training and role-playing platform at the ASTD 2008 International Conference & Exposition (http://www.astd2008.org/index.html). American Society for Training & Development is the largest gathering of workplace learning and performance professionals and will be held June 1 – 4 in San Diego (Booth 1116).

Expertus and TrainingIndustry.com, titled “Training Efficiency: Optimizing Costs,” reported that more than 90 percent of survey participants faced some degree of pressure to reduce employee training costs. For corporate training departments facing these pressures, SureSpeak represents a cost-effective, highly productive solution.

Leveraging inexpensive webcams and existing computers, employers can use SureSpeak to easily create and manage video-based training programs and then view, score and provide written or video feedback for each employee’s recording.

Darren Schwarz, founder and CEO of SureSpeak, said, “Companies are always looking for new ways to better train their workforce, but without stretching their already thin budgets. With SureSpeak, they get a powerful but low cost one-to-many training platform.”

SureSpeak is a provider of webcam-based speech and communication training and technology for individuals and corporations. Through its website, www.SureSpeak.com, the company empowers users to better their lives through improved communication.

Got a job interview?

May 8, 2008 by

We have a new SureSpeak lesson under Talk Like a Pro-Interviewing. This is a great lesson on “Personal Inventory”, created  by Rob Sullivan. Rob has been coaching people for ten years on how to improve their performance in interviews. Rob is a SureSpeak contributing coach. Want to become a contributing coach and share your expertise? Email us at info@surespeak.com.

Is your video taking time to upload?

May 5, 2008 by

If you are a current SureSpeak subscriber and have noticed delays in uploading videos, there are a few things you can do to speed this up.

1) What kind of internet connection do you have? If it’s not very fast (or you’re on a weak wireless signal…) your recording may take time to upload. Not sure if you can do anything about that– but just know that connection speed will make a difference in upload time.

2) If you don’t need high quality videos (which you probably won’t), go to the menu button on the recording screen. Then choose “Low” under the drop down for video quality.

This should help. If you need more help, email us at help@surespeak.com.