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How to keep communication skills relevant in the age of AI

Wednesday 22nd November 2023 - GMT

In the age of AI, the importance of verbal communication can not be overstated.

Artificial intelligence is no longer the stuff of science fiction. It’s here, and it’s revolutionising every industry.

From medicine to banking, journalism to education, the use of AI in business is growing at an unprecedented rate.

When it comes to communication, AI is already being used to create content, develop arguments and write speeches. In May 2023, the Danish Prime Minister delivered a parliamentary speech which was partly written by ChatGPT. Last week, The Beatles topped the UK singles chart with their song ‘Now and Then,’ the audio for which was made possible through machine learning. Machines can write for us, think for us and speak for us.

So if AI can not only be used to write but to speak on our behalf, what will set you apart from the pack?

In this blog, we’ll consider the importance of verbal communication and how to stay relevant in the age of AI.

1. AI can help you write a great speech – but can’t make you connect with your audience

Many people are already turning to AI platforms to help them write content, speeches and presentations.

On the face of it, it can seem like AI can save us time and effort in writing presentations. However, although it can compile information, AI lacks human and emotional connection. That’s where your power lies.

AI works well with facts and figures, but lacks the personal experience that only humans can create. Memorable speeches are ones which connect with us on a personal level, using stories and anecdotes which engage us emotionally. AI can sound like a convincing voice, but only really offers a superficial attempt at human connection that doesn’t have the depth of a real person’s experience.

To ensure you land a presentation that connects with your audience, you need to use a combination of targeted information, personal stories and a compelling structure that meets your audience’s specific needs.

2. AI can’t make you a great speaker (but coaching can!)

If you want your communication skills to stay relevant in the age of AI, then you need to focus on the importance of verbal communication. Engaging speakers are those whose communication is considered and congruent; that is, their body language, voice and words are all telling the same emotional story.

Developing your body language and vocal skills can ensure that you deliver an impactful and engaging presentation. Working with a communciation coach can help you to do this. They can offer feedback on your delivery style, as well as tips and exercises to help you grow in confidence and impact.

A presentation is most effective when you have written it yourself, as AI can’t fully replicate your own voice or experience. If you write your script yourself, you can make conscious choices about your body language to ensure that you engage your audience, giving your message the maximum impact.

Communication coaching can also help you to develop skills at speaking in a live environment, for example, having to adjust your tone or content if the audience is disengaged, or dealing with interruptions or objections.

3. AI can help you rehearse

Nothing beats having a real-life communication coach working with you to understand your challenges and goals when delivering a presentation. Working with a coach who understands the importance of verbal communicaiton can not only prepare you for a specific event, but can also equip you with skills that you can use throughout your life and career. It’s personalised, empathetic and human coaching that delivers the best results.

That said, there are some AI features that can help you to rehearse in your own time. For example, Microsoft PowerPoint has a ‘Rehearse with Coach‘ feature that will listen to you deliver a presentation, then give you feedback on pace, pitch, use of filler words, euphemisms and culturally sensitive terms. Features like this can give you some instant feedback on where you might need to improve (though unlike a ‘live’ coach, it may not be able to show you how to improve).

4.AI might help you write your CV, but your communication skills land the job

There are plenty of AI programs out there that can help you to write an impressive CV.

The problem is, the person with the best CV doesn’t always get hired. If they did we could cancel all job interviews. Employers could simply say, “This one looks best. Hire that person.” But, they don’t. Interviews are arranged. It’s your communication skills that determine what happens once you get in the door.

Employers don’t want to see that you simply know information. It’s your ability to talk through ideas in an intelligent, engaging way that will ensure your success.In this same way in an interview, the knowledge or ideas that you have suddenly become worthless if you’re not able to communicate them.

This is another example of the importance of verbal communication in the age of AI. Technology may help you to prepare, but learning how to communicate well can help you deal with the pressure, risk, and challenging conversations that form part of interviews. Working with a communication coach can help you to become more confident in selling yourself and helping people understand you on a deeper level.

5. AI can’t connect with other people on our behalf

Strong communication skills allow us to build healthy relationships.

If we feel trapped by self-consciousness or fear of rejection then we live a very limited life. We feel more alive, more fulfilled and confident when we’re able to express ourselves and feel accepted by others.

This type of congruent communication is critical in daily life. Many people lose it under the corporate armour of ‘behaving professionally’. This can lead to a life of feeling disconnected and lonely even in a room full of people.

AI lacks this type of connection that we can only get through other people. AI can help us come up with content to share with others, but it can’t connect with them on our behalf. That’s something only you can do, and it takes good communication skills to be able to do it.

Improving your communication skills is a continual process

As AI continues to develop and infiltrate our professional lives, it’s essential to carry on developing your own interpersonal and communication skills. It’s easy to rely on algorithms to do the heavy lifting of your communication when picking up a phone might take more time and energy, but you can gain so much more by investing in that human-level of engagement.

We’re living in a time when we have so much opportunity to broadcast our ideas digitally — through computers, through social media, through email. It’s important more now than ever to remember to connect with people in person. In an age where we spend more hours facing a screen than a human, developing your people skills will become a more valuable and rare asset than ever.

To learn more about how we can help you to improve your communication skills, please contact our Body Talk.

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How to keep communication skills relevant in the age of AI

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