The Networker #23: Will AI Be The Death of Networking
Will AI be the death of networking?
My opinion is – the opposite will happen.
Let’s dive in.
In recent years, the use of AI has significantly increased.
And this year it seems AI technology has started to really hit the mainstream.
If you haven’t heard of tools like ChatGPT by now, which rock have you been living under?
Now many businesses, solopreneurs and employees are taking advantage of AI in some way to
improve their operations, creativity, and even boost their bottom line.
And whilst I’m a fan of AI and many tools I use are implementing AI technology, my view is this:
- It’s only going to increase the value of networking and human relationships.
- AI can be used in many ways to create new and strengthen existing relationships.
Here’s why I think so.
Increasing The Value of Networking
Firstly, AI can’t replace the human touch.
You can’t shake AI’s hand.
You can’t enjoy a cup of coffee with it.
You can’t crack a joke with it or share stories.
And based on my experience with tools like ChatGPT – how dull would the conversation be?!
Networking and building relationships starts from a foundation of trust.
Trust is built from empathy and emotional intelligence.
Both of which AI lacks.
AI cannot replace the human interaction that does that.
Which is where the power of networking and physically interacting with others will become more valuable.
I’m sure if you really wanted to, you could spend your whole day behind a screen. Letting AI start conversations, write content, and effectively run your business.
But if yours relies on relationships, referrals, and partners, AI cannot help with this.
You cannot outsource networking.
And I believe people will start to recognise this.
In a similar way I noticed this post COVID lockdowns.
When online networking became the only way to network, I noticed when physical events returned, people started to place more value on getting face to face interaction.
Realising that those they were meeting could’ve been anywhere (virtually), but they chose to be there.
And as a result, people seemed to more present.
As AI increases, and we rely on it more and more to make ourselves more efficient, creative, or whatever we choose to use it for, I see a similar thing playing out.
Humans crave connection. And I don’t believe AI will replace this.
Using AI To Enhance Relationships
But there are pros to AI enhancing relationships.
When most hear AI, they think ChatGPT.
But only because it’s a famous (and mindblowingly impressive I must add) tool that has brought AI into the mainstream.
There are thousands of other tools using AI to improve systems and process within businesses.
Many doing so without you even really knowing it.
For example, AI algorithms can analyse consumer behaviour and tailor marketing messages to specific customers.
Or AI bots can be placed on your website to answer questions and queries in real time, potentially resulting in an enquiry or new lead.
This personalisation helps start to build a relationship and trust between the customer and the business, albeit digitally and as a first touch point.
These are just two small examples. There are hundreds (I’m keen to hear from you on this – more on that below).
And leveraging use cases like these examples could even give you more time to focus on building personal relationships in person.
AI comes in different forms, with many different use cases, and we’re only scratching the surface.
It’s clear it can help with your thinking. But it needs you to do the doing.
And you must continue to build trust and rapport with your network.
The Wrap Up
The increase in AI will undoubtedly bring significant changes to business.
And I remain open-minded with what the possibilities of it are.
One thing is for sure, it is here to stay. And only going to get more impressive.
Depending on how you view it.
But my opinion is to embrace it. Otherwise fear or avoid it at risk of falling behind.
My true fear lies in the future generation of networkers. And how relying on AI may lead to communication and networking skills becoming ones that get left behind.
It’s frightening how AI has evolved in the last 6-12 months.
Robots are not going to take everyone’s jobs.
Particularly if relationships are a big part of your work.
The goal of The Networker is to help you network smarter.
And that’s what AI has the ability to do.
I expect to write about this topic again in the near future as the rapidly evolving landscaping changes.
Who knows what is around the corner. It is still so early.
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