Communication skills are critical for leaders and the organizations they lead. According to a study of large corporations by David Grossman, companies that have highly effective communicators as leaders had 47% higher total returns to shareholders over five years compared with firms that have leaders who are the least effective communicators. The total estimated cost per company due to employee misunderstanding was $62.4 million per year.
Anyone who aspires to leadership positions should develop good communication skills. Yet many people have poor communication habits that hold them back, and they do not receive enough good training in effective communication. Communication skills remain the #1 skill gap among American employees overall.
If communication skills are so important, why is this skill gap such a persistent problem? It results from the way communication skills are commonly taught. Elearning and ebooks do not provide a way to practice communication skills and develop better communication habits. Classroom instruction offers only limited opportunities to practice without fear of embarrassment. One-on-one coaching is costly, so relatively few workers can take advantage of it.
Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) make possible new technology-based methods for improving communication skills. Drawing on research in business communication, linguistics, and natural language processing, it is now possible to create AI-based learning tools that evaluate oral communication in realistic situations and give immediate feedback and personalized instruction. This provides the benefits of individual coaching at low cost, whenever people need it.
In a newly developed program, Enskill EPC (Effective & Persuasive Communication), learners practice conversations with AI avatars representing managers and co-workers in simulated work settings. Learners practice presenting structured arguments. For example, they present their vision, explain their strategy, and then propose next steps. Enskill EPC automatically detects elements of an argument and makes sure they come together in a well-structured way. Enskill EPC also evaluates the persuasiveness of the language that the learner uses, to encourage clear, effective communication.
At the conclusion of each exercise, learners get feedback on their use of structured arguments and persuasive language, and are scored on their progress toward mastery. They also receive personalized instruction in the areas where they need to improve. Learners make rapid progress toward mastery and develop self-confidence in applying new communication skills. This helps to inculcate good communication habits and promote behavior change.
Enskill EPC was created by Alelo, which started developing AI simulations to help military members quickly learn foreign languages and cultures before deploying overseas. The communications skills learned have helped reduce conflicts and even save lives. Now Alelo AI-driven learning is available to everyone, to address the communication problems that they face in the workplace every day.
Attend our upcoming free webinar on February 27 to learn more about how AI-based learning tools can promote better leadership skills. We’ll share a recording of the webinar with everyone who registers, and webinar participants will also receive free registration for the Enskill EPC course. Or, for an immediate demonstration see this YouTube video.