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In the era of remote work and digital communication, conveying emotions through text has become more critical than ever. It’s a skill that can help you craft a marketing article, write a work email or share updates in a tweet.
Mastering the art of conveying feelings in writing can make your message resonate with readers. For an entrepreneur, this can create a significant difference in business success.
Related: Conversational AI Is a Revolution That’s Just Getting Started. Here’s How It Can Boost Your Business.
The role of AI in text communication
Artificial intelligence (AI) has steadily worked its way into our daily lives. For many — myself included — AI tools have become an integral part of our communication toolkit. From the autocorrect on your phone to sophisticated chatbots fielding customer inquiries, AI is here to assist. But can it help in expressing emotions effectively?
In my experience, the answer is a resonating yes. While AIs like ChatGPT often make it a point to say they don’t have emotions, this shouldn’t deter you from utilizing them as tools to improve your own emotional expression in text.
In fact, the trigger for writing this article was ChatGPT’s kneejerk reaction that came up when we were discussing its abilities to help business people. The chatbot mentioned, and I quote:
“While AI can analyze data and generate suggestions, it doesn’t have the emotional intelligence to gauge team morale, customer satisfaction or other human factors.”
I told ChatGPT that I see things differently. Based on my experience and that of others, once provided with the correct input, AI tools like ChatGPT are fantastic tools for gauging team morale, customer satisfaction and much more.
Does that mean AI tools and models have emotional intelligence? No. But it does mean they can provide output that relies on an understanding of human emotions. AI tools like ChatGPT may not be able to feel, but their algorithms can help convey emotions through text. It’s important to differentiate between “having” emotions and “expressing” emulated emotions effectively.
After all, text has always been a vehicle for emotion — from the handwritten love letters of yesteryears to the emoji-laden texts of today. Having been trained on a vast amount of texts, AI tools have evolved to simulate these expressions convincingly, making them helpful tools for enhancing our text-based communication.
In fact, ChatGPT is even very good at choosing the right emojis to express emotions. I sometimes ask it to add emojis throughout our conversation, and it does an excellent job of choosing the right one to reflect the emotional tone of the message.
Related: How To Use ChatGPT as a Creative Writing Partner
Using AI for emotionally sensitive texts — prompt examples
I’ve personally turned to OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Anthropic’s Claude when I needed to tackle sensitive topics in emails or messages. I craft the initial message and then brainstorm the fine-tuning with the AI.
Here’s an example of such a prompt:
“I am writing an email to a colleague suggesting cooperation on a project. This is a person I communicate with often, but we’ve never met. We have a good relationship, and you could say we are friends. Here is my current version:
[Email version here]
Help me improve the email style to reflect more enthusiasm and my hope that my colleague will cooperate with me on this project.”
In other cases, I first brainstormed with the AI to see what kind of emotional tone was right for defusing a loaded situation. If you’re faced with a similar situation, here’s an example of an initial prompt:
“A client on my Slack channel for clients is threatening to leave because he’s not happy with our service. This is her latest message:
[Client message here]
Other clients can see the exchange there. With that in mind, what would be a message that will help defuse the situation and offer to take the discussion to a private channel?”
In both cases, using AI can help refine a message, making it more empathetic and, therefore, more effective.
To get the most out of using ChatGPT to enhance emotional intelligence in your writing, here are some tips:
1. Be open about the context when asking for suggestions: The more context you provide, the more accurate the output is likely to be. Explain the situation, who the recipient is and what kind of tone you’d like to take.
2. Use the AI as a first draft, not a final copy: Never copy and paste an AI’s output without carefully considering it. AI tools can and do make mistakes, and at the end of the day, you’re the one the message is coming from.
3. Fact-check any factual claims made by the AI: An AI may come up with what seems like a fact because it seems “proper” within that text. Don’t assume that this is factual information and reference any claims made.
4. Use the AI as a sounding board for brainstorming emotional expressions: Suggest your own perspective, and ask about options. If you’re not sure, ask for the pros and cons of each option. The key is for you to lead a brainstorming process.
5. Try reading the AI’s suggestion as if you were the recipient: This “role reversal” may help you catch nuances you had originally missed.
Related: 5 Mistakes I Learned to Avoid When Working With ChatGPT
While AI can be an excellent tool for fine-tuning your message, don’t use it as a substitute for your own authentic voice. Don’t resort to automatic AI content, at least not without acknowledging AI-generated text for what it is. Remain honest and transparent. AI-generated text should be a starting point, not an alternative for genuine human interaction.
Keeping the limitations in mind, leveraging AI to enhance emotional expression can provide a competitive edge. As AI technologies advance, their ability to simulate emotional nuances will only improve, making now the perfect time to start incorporating these tools into your communication strategy.