Common sense prevails: Using AI for your communications

- April 2024
human head made of colourful lines

Earlier this year, the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) published Guiding Principles for the Use of Artificial Intelligence.

All our Parbery communication professionals are members of IABC and abide by their code of ethics, so the article prompted a few conversations about how we use AI as communicators – the good and the bad.

So what can we use it for in our work and where are the boundaries?

Hey ChatGPT, can you keep this between us?

Short answer: no.

I recently watched the movie ‘Knives Out: Glass Onion’. In it, the main character questions a politician over an un-replied email. The politician answers, ‘I don’t email anything I don’t want on the front cover of the Times’.

It’s a decent rule for AI too – never put anything into an AI generator you wouldn’t want shared publicly.

  • Do not feed sensitive information into your prompts.
  • Do not paste draft copy with sensitive information and ask for feedback.

At Parbery we never break the trust of our clients and we never put client information or anything confidential into an AI program.

Hey ChatGPT, can we chat for a sec?

Like any good brief meeting, you’ll need to consult with the person – or program – creating for you.

Have a conversation with your chosen AI tool. Don’t expect to input one prompt and get exactly what you want.

Like our human counterparts, AI isn’t a mind-reader (yet?).

  • ‘I want you to act as a social media expert, tell me the things I need to consider in creating an Instagram story.’
  • ‘That copy was good, please make it less formal, more click-baity and fun.’
  • ‘What are the next steps?’
  • ‘Explain that concept to me again, but like I am a ten-year-old.’
  • ‘What other information do you need to make this better?’

Hey ChatGPT, make it sound more genuine.

Authenticity is unique to each person – or business – and it’s something AI cannot produce on its own.

For communications, you can load your brand guidelines into an AI platform and use it to shape responses*.

This can go part of the way, but AI can’t replace a creative or communicator who understands the emotion behind your brand voice.

To keep the genuine, authentic feeling in your communication products, you’ll need a person who knows what they’re doing to review and shape the results.

*Refer to the above section about whether you should do this.

Hey ChatGPT, that doesn’t make sense?

A bit like calculators for the maths-challenged, ChatGPT is for the writing-challenged.

It’s great for a (very) rough draft and getting you past the paralysis of a blank page.

I’d encourage any person writing communications to experiment with an AI generator like ChatGPT.

You’ll see how it spits out plausible but sometimes nonsensical sentences because these programs don’t actually know what they’re saying.

They’re like a toddler repeating a swear word because they’ve heard an adult say that word in a similar situation. They’re putting together words without understanding context.

Ultimately, if you’re reviewing anyone’s products, you should be able to spot unedited AI-generated text.

You should also know how to use it to your advantage.

Hey ChatGPT, what else can you help with?

While I always abide to the rule of not inputting anything you wouldn’t want published, there are some prompts of mine it would be embarrassing to share.

They’re all to do with Excel.

Think outside the box – what else can you ask?

  • ‘How many business days are there in February, March and April 2024 in Australia?’
  • ‘How do I explain NPS to an audience who has never heard of it?’
  • ‘How do I hide columns in Excel once a date has passed?’
  • ‘What should be in an agenda for the final meeting of a project?’
  • ‘I’m hosting a networking event at a bar; how do I make it more accessible?’

In your personal life, use it to create meal plans, plan holidays and brainstorm new Instagram handles.

Hey ChatGPT, thank you.

Lastly, I use my manners when requesting things from our digital assistants.

Is this a hangover from consuming too much science fiction as a child?

Perhaps I’m hedging my bets in case these assistants become our overlords one day.

It also feels right, as a generative AI program spits out 3 hours’ worth of research in 20 seconds, one feels a sense of gratitude.

I believe that warrants a thank you.

AI-driven recommendations from the Parbery team:

  1. Hemingway Editor – for grammar, active voice and assessing reading level
  2. – for recording and summarizing meetings
  3. – for summarizing text
  4. – for marketers

By Emma Davis, Senior Manager