How to be more human in a year of the unexpected
I think it’s fair to say that 2023 has been a year of the unexpected.
In the wake of the pandemic, as we headed to the end of 2022, I had thought 2023 might be the year when things go back to some sort of normality.
But with the war in Ukraine showing no signs of ceasing, energy prices skyrocketing, mortgage rates going through the roof, and then unrest in the Middle East, it’s fair to say that life never quite happens as we would expect it.
And let’s not forget the way AI burst onto the scene this year.
AI – a revolution in the workplace
ChatGPT has certainly begun a revolution of the working world. And in tandem with Google Bard and AI image generation like Midjourney, Adobe Firefly etc., the list of AI products and solutions seems almost endless.
I was at University when I first joined Facebook, having been on Bebo, MSN Messenger and Myspace. And in a similar way to how Facebook and social media have changed our lives, at work and personally, it looks like AI is bringing a similar revolution to the way we live and work.
In a world of constant flux we need to prepare for constant learning
As with the advent of social media in the noughties, PR and communication professionals need to be willing to take the bull by the horns and get to grips with these new technological and digital advancements.
We all need to be ready to explore the ethical repercussions of AI and understand how the data we share could be used. But we also need to be using AI as yes, a tool in our toolbox, but not as THE end goal.
The skills and expertise of humans are essential to using AI appropriately – as an aid to writer’s block, to create an unusual image you could not find elsewhere, or to improve an overcomplicated sentence. It’s easy to spot when someone has used AI to draft a blog without sufficient editing or when a person in an image clearly has six fingers on their hand instead of five.
For me then, a key learning from 2023 is that the world as we know it is in a constant state of flux. And technological advancements will always be at the centre of how our world develops, how humanity develops, and how the workplace develops.
People do business with people – but starting on social
Another key change in the world of B2B PR and marketing over 2023, is that LinkedIn has re-enforced itself as the network of record for anyone involved in business. The line ‘people do business with people’ has never been more prescient.
In the cloak of AI and social media, people are searching for the person behind the screen.
The critical role of the CEO on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is no longer simply a recruitment tool. As our indomitable Managing Director, Lorraine Emmett, says – it’s like a virtual conference where you go to network, engage with people, and to learn.
The role of the CEO and senior leadership team in creating a network on LinkedIn, sharing their knowledge and insights, engaging with prospects, customers and industry leaders, is ever more critical.
CEOs need to spearhead efforts to raise brand awareness.
It’s no longer a nice to have for businesses, it’s a necessity.
“Forget ‘nice to have’”, says Lorraine Emmett, Managing Director of EC-PR.
“People expect to hear from business leaders on LinkedIn. Their insights and expertise build gravitas, not just for themselves, but for the entire company.”
And the gravitas that is created when a senior leader shares their knowledge builds the reputation of the company they work for.
The search for real humans in 2024
On LinkedIn, it’s notable that video and natural non-AI generated photography and writing, which help provide a glimpse to the character of a person off-screen, are becoming ever more critical. And my prediction is that this is likely to be ever more important in 2024.
People are looking for genuine, real humans to do business with.
They want to know you are not a robot.
They want to learn from your openness about your failures, so they don’t make the same mistakes.
They want to hear your personal experiences at work and how you got to where you are today.
But they also want to know that you are human.
They want to hear about your family.
And what you like to do outside of work.
They want to know about your passions, your quirks and your dislikes.
Because if you were at a networking event, isn’t that what you would connect over.
In real life, the first thing you talk about is unlikely to be the big report you are working on.
But more likely, how many children you have, where your last holiday was, or what you like to do at the weekend.
So, in a world of AI, social media, and where we can spend so much of our time staring at a screen, as we hurtle towards 2024, let’s be more human.
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