The Automated Conversation coacH (nicknamed MACH) might be able to help. Developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the robot functions as a career coach, giving mock interviews while monitoring facial expressions and prosody (speech pattern and intonation) to see where participants need to improve. Such feedback might include the number of times an interviewer paused or turned to crutch phrases like "you know."
Shortly after MACH was designed, researchers tested it on 90 students. After lumping them in three groups--one that watched a taped interview, another that used MACH and watched a taped interview, and a third that received feedback from MACH, the video, and an interview coach--they found the latter group made the most strides.
Soon small business owners will be able to reap the same benefits via desktop--all they'll need is a camera and microphone. MACH's software will arrive on mobile platforms shortly.
Beyond pinpointing areas in need of improvement, MACH can help entrepreneurs gain an edge over the competition. It'll do so by gauging reactions to interviewers of the opposite sex and see how they fare when asked certain questions. Eventually MACH will analyze sentiment and how well a respondent explained a topic.