Communication isn't just a mere soft skill — it’s also a cornerstone of success. Learning to improve your communication skills in the workplace is non-negotiable whether you're collaborating on projects, seeking support from colleagues, or aligning expectations. 

How to Improve Communication Skills and Embrace Innovation 

Artificial intelligence (AI) has transformed communication into a technical skill, requiring individuals to adapt and harness its capabilities. In the Microsoft WorkLab podcast, Charles Duhigg, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, author and productivity expert, talks improving skills in the workplace, emphasising the need to integrate AI to enhance conversational skills. 

Clearly articulating what you want and why you need it determines the quality of responses from other people and AI. Charles Duhigg shares his advice on becoming a “super communicator,” incorporating emotional intelligence and self-awareness to exceed average interactions. Let’s take a look at some of them:

Tip#1: Communication is now a technical skill  

In the age of AI, forward-looking leaders are already prioritising communication skills when they hire. Duhigg says: 

"We’re already seeing more and more emphasis on communication ability as something that employers are looking for. The ability to show during an interview that you can communicate and connect well with others is going to tell that interviewer something about how you also interact with technology, and that’s going to be powerful." 

Duhigg's observation is not just anecdotal, as current data shows: 

81% of recruiters identify interpersonal skills (including communication) as important—more than any other kind of skills, according to MBA.com

MarketSplash found that enhanced communication technology and training can boost team productivity by as much as 30%.  

Tip#2: Get more from AI when you get more conversational

Effective communication goes beyond the transfer of information, as it also conveys tone and intent. With AI becoming increasingly conversational, the ability to communicate emotions to both humans and AI is paramount. Write your prompts like how you and your customers and stakeholders speak to each other. By mastering this aspect, you can foster deeper connections and clarity in their interactions.

According to Duhigg: 

“The future of tech is going to be more and more like having a conversation and less like using a calculator,” Duhigg says. If you ask AI questions about how it got to an answer, or what other questions it thinks you should ask, it’ll reveal interesting and useful things, and open new avenues of inquiry.” 

Tip#3: Communicate emotion to people and AI

Gone are the days when business-to-business communication meant sending information to institutions. There are people within these groups making business decisions who also have feelings, such as frustration, excitement and curiosity. 

With AI, emotion further boosts effective communication. While AI can parse and generate data, emotional prompts can train it to focus on areas or spot biases. Writing a prompt for a cyber security role description can read something like:   

Please write me a job description for a cyber security specialist. Include details on the technical qualifications along with the ethical and values based. We are determined to attract and welcome trustworthy people to the team. 

If you’re looking to improve your communication skills, you must understand how offering context helps engage others -- whether it’s a person or an AI assistant. Emotional instructions combined with existing records can help generate new ideas, new content, and FAQs beyond the ordinary. Your content can be more relevant to your team and compelling to your target audience. 

Tip#4: Explain what you need to understand what you need

Determining your goal with any communication you put out is critical. How do you map out what happened so far? What do you want people to do after receiving your message? What are your expectations?  

Clear communication hinges on articulating needs succinctly and understanding requirements thoroughly. Whether interacting with colleagues or AI, the ability to explain what you need facilitates smoother collaboration and problem-solving. 

Duhigg expounds on this further:

“One of the reasons why conversation is so useful is because not only does it help us understand another person, but it also helps us understand ourselves. Sometimes we learn things just in what we say to AI, and then sometimes we learn things from what the machine responds with. And then there are times when I don’t even understand what question I want to ask AI, and it ends up helping me understand what I’m trying to get at.”  

You can use Microsoft Copilot to summarise or extract essential information from Word documents, Excel tables and PowerPoint presentations. You can do this with chats and meetings, too. Once you've gathered the necessary information, you can use Copilot to draft agendas, to-do lists and project plans. 

Tip #5: Use AI to improve communication skills in other contexts

Using AI as a sounding board, you can learn to improve your communication skills in the workplace. Explore different scenarios, anticipate possible questions and objections, or prepare for difficult conversations. This allows you to navigate various professional scenarios with confidence and finesse. 

According to Duhigg, researchers teaching negotiation skills recommend that their students practice with AI and pay attention to what surprises them. What objections do they raise? How do they come back that catches you off guard? 

Suppose you have an important email to write to a senior stakeholder and you want to feel confident that it effectively conveys your intended message. You can use email coaching with Copilot in Outlook to get suggestions on adjusting the tone, clarity and reader sentiment before you hit Send. You can also use it to draft new emails and compose replies. 

Want to expand your AI proficiency?

Nexacu can further enrich your AI knowledge (particularly in Microsoft Copilot) journey through our wide range of training courses. We offer the following:

Copilot for Microsoft 365 - Introduction Course: This course will help you use Microsoft Copilot to automate tasks, generate content, and gain insights to improve efficiency in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, and Outlook. 

Microsoft AI: Learn to use Microsoft Copilot applications and apply AI solutions to various business challenges.   

By embracing Microsoft Copilot training and leveraging innovative solutions, you can foster a culture of effective communication and collaboration.

Make the first step towards becoming an AI professional. Enquire with us today.

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