In the Age of AI, Soft Skills Matter More Than Ever
October 25, 2023
If you are like me, in the last year or so, your inbox, podcast recommendations, and conference speaker line-ups have been filled with various perspectives on how AI will take over our work and personal lives. Spending time thinking about the worst-case scenario (that AI will kill us) isn’t good for my sanity so I’ve chosen to focus on what I have control over – helping people further develop skills that are uniquely human.
As Stephen Hau recently wrote in Forbes, “In the face of AI’s expanding presence, our ability to empathize and connect with one another on an emotional level is a powerful differentiator.”
Here are a few of those so-called “soft skills” that will become increasingly important in the age of AI:
- Nonverbal communication skills: Humans communicate beyond just our words. Nonverbal communication like your tone of voice (even in emails), facial expressions, and eye contact are all things that help build connection with other people.
- Emotional intelligence: Humans are able to perceive, understand, and manage our emotions and relationships. The professional services industry – including law firms – is a people industry. We often have the privilege and stress of helping them solve the most complex issue they may have in their lives. Therefore, navigating emotions (both the client’s and yours) in intense situations is critical.
- Creativity: Humans can think about a problem in new or different ways. Our imagination is essential in improving processes or exploring new ways to approach a problem.
- Critical thinking: Humans are able to be mindful, aware, fully considerate, and strategic about the choices we make. Our clients will need us to sift through the work AI produces to ensure it best fits the individual needs and goals of the client.
While AI will certainly help us solve those problems more efficiently, that efficiency will eventually become standard, like the introduction of email. Humans are the competitive edge. If AI becomes the standard that everyone uses, much like email, what we can add becomes what sets you apart.
At LP, we prioritize human skills through The LP Way™ and our commitment to providing an unparalleled client experience. We strive to hone these skills through programs like the LEAD Program, a custom-built leadership development program, and our “F2 = Feedback + Future” approach to feedback and growth conversations. And we continue to explore additional ways to foster “human” skills to create an optimal client experience.
The rapid proliferation of AI can feel unsettling, but ultimately it means that “soft skills” are human skills – and they are more important than ever. Developing these skills will continue to set you apart, no matter where AI brings us.