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ChatGPT: Revolutionizing or Destabilizing Business Communication?

By Jody Bruner

July 11, 2023

Writing Skills

ChatGPT: Revolutionizing or Destabilizing Business Communication? - Chat-GPT
ChatGPT: Revolutionizing or Destabilizing Business Communication? - wave-lime-green-1260x540-1
ChatGPT: Revolutionizing or Destabilizing Business Communication? - wave-lime-green-1260x540-1

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about artificial intelligence (AI) and its somewhat controversial language model, ChatGPT. Whether you think it’s the greatest software ever created or an existential threat to humanity, it’s clearly a major disruptor to business communication. Regardless of which side you’re on, business professionals need to carefully weigh the benefits and risks of using it at work.

This blog discusses how ChatGP can impact your organization’s internal and external communications to help you make informed decisions about its safe use. 

AI works well when…

Whether you know it or not, AI is already part of our daily lives.  If you’ve ever used a virtual assistant, chances are the ‘person’ communicating with you was not a person. AI shines around chatbots and virtual assistants. They are great for efficiently answering customer inquiries, providing product information and resolving basic problems. AI offers 24/7 service; as well, its scalability eliminates human resource shortages and time zones are irrelevant. Also, AI can effectively automate routine processes such as managing workflow and scheduling meetings.

What about using ChatGPT to write your emails, reports and presentations? When creating targeted, customized communication, it’s best to approach with caution.

And works not so well when…

ChatGPT admits its own limitations and pitfalls. The software sometimes generates incorrect or fake content. It’s been known to suggest harmful instructions or biased/discriminatory information. As well, ChatGPT cannot be held responsible for harm it could cause. So, if ChatGPT proposes something illegal to your client, you’re liable, not the software. This is a red flag for all of us, and potentially catastrophic for those who work in fields such as finance/banking, law and healthcare.

AI and written communication skills

Given the inherent risks associated with ChatGPT, organizations need to think long and hard about benefits vs. drawbacks. As a tool to support writers, it does have its strengths, one of which is speed. We asked ChatGPT created a blog about ChatGPT, and it did so in under 15 seconds. It can create a powerpoint presentation just as quickly. But at what cost? Let’s have a look at some of the pitfalls when it comes to email, reports and presentations.

ChatGPT’s email etiquette

Our Email Etiquette course emphasizes the importance of appropriate tone and offers strategies to help writers achieve it. ChatGPT can produce a standard, bland email: probably not rude but certainly lacking the personal, human touch only the writer can infuse, based on their knowledge of, and relationship to, the reader. ChatGPT users should be prepared to edit and refine emails to ensure an appropriate and genuine tone.

ChatGPT’s report writing skills

Report writers need to know what constitutes a good report in order to evaluate what ChatGPT produces. Our report writing courses focus on careful planning and audience analysis, developing content from the audience’s perspective, creating a logical and scannable structure, and using a clear, concise style. While ChatGPT does some of this adequately, there are notable drawbacks. For starters, the software has limited knowledge after 2021. So, a ChatGPT report might not have the most up-to-date data.

As well, any information you feed into ChatGPT can immediately be accessed publicly. As such, documents that contain sensitive or proprietary information are not good candidates for this software. And, since ChatGPT has been known to give false or incorrect information, writers must double-check all sources, technical data, and mathematical or scientific formulas.

ChatGPT and executive presentations

It can be challenging for the most experienced presenter to capture and retain an executive’s attention. In Executive-Ready Presentations, we discuss techniques to engage listeners, such as sharing stories, personal experiences or anecdotes. To do this effectively, the presenter needs to carefully consider their purpose and audience and then match that up with a story or experience; this demands a human touch. Presenters who use ChatGPT to save time should still take the time to create their own distinctive opening.

So, is ChatGPT revolutionizing or destabilizing business communication? Maybe a bit of both. Sam Altman, founder of OpenAI, recently went before the US Congress and warned that AI could cause ‘significant harm to the world.’ He asked the US government to establish guardrails, so the technology doesn’t run amok. Guardrails are likely coming to every country. Until then, approach with caution.

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