By Vanessa Denha Garmo // Founder, Epiphany Communications: Coaching & Consulting
There is a lot of buzz about Artificial Intelligence (AI). Webinars and workshops on AI are being promoted on social media. Several media outlets and industries are tackling the issue trying to gauge what it means to the public and their audiences.
AI is beginning with one utilized across all sectors, including academia, advertising and the legal profession, to name just a few. As a trained journalist, I am used to doing research. I not only interview people but I read a lot about what has been written about any given topic that I am addressing, including this topic of AI.
In this issue of Bottom Line, we offer a variety of articles on the AI topic. As a writer, I wonder what AI means for the future of the service I currently provide clients as a Communications Coach and Consultant. What I do know is that when it comes to communications, whether spoken or in writing, authenticity is essential.
People can quickly figure out when you are not being authentic. In fact, I had a client, a COO of a company, wanting to focus his coaching session on how to address his team members using ChatGPT to send emails; he thought the approach made the senders of the email seem insincere and robotic. He knew right away that they used AI to craft the email message and he did not like it.
Everyone has a unique voice; I would argue just as unique as their DNA. We all have our own nuances of how we communicate and receive information. Although AI could provide you some background or usable information, it can’t replicate YOU.
ChatGPT is a large language model-based chatbot developed by OpenAI and launched on November 30, 2022, notable for enabling users to refine and steer a conversation towards a desired length, format, style, level of detail, and language used.
There are advantages to AI, just like there are with social media and technology in general. However, there are downsides to the tool, and we have to be aware of it. In the effort to sound intelligent and articulate, you risk losing authenticity. I recently co-authored a book titled Freedom Behind Bars about a man’s testimony. He served more than 15 years in prison and wrote about his conversion story. As I was writing his account, which he shared with me in hours of interviews, he read chapter by chapter proofreading what I wrote. He called me one day and said, “Vanessa, I love the book, but I sound like such a thug in it.” I responded, “that’s because you were a thug. Did you expect sound like a Harvard scholar?”
I was trying to write his story in his voice, a man who tried four times to blow up his competitor’s store, usually with homemade bombs.
Speaking of authors, CNN recently reported that an author is raising alarms after she found new books being sold on Amazon under her name — only she didn’t write them; they appear to have been generated by AI. The books had titles like the subjects she typically writes about, but the text read as if someone had used a generative AI model to imitate her style. This shows the dangers of AI.
When using AI, don’t lose yourself in the process, use your own voice, your brand, and your business’s own image – be true to yourself and your business. As you write content for various platforms such as your website, newsletters, blogs, social media, ad campaigns, etc., here are some tips to consider:
Be Authentic: Use AI for ideas and research but don’t just copy and paste.
Use Different Sources: Use AI and other sources to do research. Don’t just type in a topic into ChatGPT and expect to use the content verbatim.
Compare the Content: Look at all your information and start making notes of what you like and what you don’t and what can be tailored to your audience.
Tailor the Message to Your Audience: Topics can be broad, but you have a specific audience. A grocery store customer may not be exactly the same customer as a convenience store customer, so your messages on social media and other platforms need to be targeted.
Check for Accuracy: AI is not foolproof or 100% accurate. You need to do your research and ensure what ChatGPT spits out is, in fact, true. One of our Ask The Member respondents (see page 30) talked about an attorney using AI to write a brief and was reprimanded by the judge because he cited a case that never existed.