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Three Ways ChatGPT Can Help GovCons Win

The Heart of Connection

Three Ways ChatGPT Can Help GovCons Win

The best communicators stand out because their message resonates with us. The way to the head is through the heart.
Most of us are not natural geniuses at written communication. We struggle to find words, to create clarity, to organize ideas. More than anything we just want to connect with the person we want to reach: to get their attention, to inspire a response.
I’ve been thinking about ChatGPT – what it might mean for me, for us in GovCon, and the impact it’s having already, in the daily battle for our fragmented attention spans. Machines can play chess, do surgery…can they be better at generating human connection than we are?

What is ChatGPT, and what is a “Generative Pre-Trained Transformer”? Read more

The Big Fear

Our greatest fear, in the face of digital transformation, is of becoming irrelevant. I loved Brene Brown’s podcast conversation with Paul Leonardi and Tsedal Neely about just that. Do listen! Read more

One of my dearest friends – a gifted writer who majored in journalism – confided in me that ChatGPT left her in overwhelming despair. At first, she felt on the verge of irrelevance: that her gifts would no longer be valued. Then, she felt sent into a frenzy of copywriting, trying to beat the machine in creating a torrent of words that she was sure a human reader could tell came from another human heart.

Used wisely, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tools are just that: tools. Can I tell whether a message that captures my attention, gives me hope, or even inspires me to pick up the phone and call someone I’ve never met, was generated by a machine?

And…what if it was?

If it was done well, then the human who wanted to reach me still had to go through a lot of effort to figure out what was going to work, and probably tried more than a few times that didn’t work.

Ever receive a greeting card that touched your heart…even though the person who sent it didn’t write it? They picked it, and signed it. How is that different?

They’re not going to replace the art of deep, authentic, connection. That will always be the province of humans. We, as receivers of the message, get to decide whether or not the message speaks to us

Learn to Speak Their Language

Want to figure out what messages might get through to your Federal buyer? Start with our complimentary GovCon Personas Guide.

How can CHATGPT help GovCons? 


AI/ML can save some of the effort – though not necessarily the time – we spend churning out cycles of draft copy that’s not quite right before the right stuff rises out of the pile of discarded words. Tatum Hunter, technology columnist, says it’s better “for exploration [than for] instant productivity.” Read more

You could run a similar experiment with creating – or refreshing – chunks of re-usable text for your proposal library.

It can be fun to play. My friend Chelsea Meggit shared the result when she asked ChatGPT to write a Valentine note from a Contractor to a Contracting Officer. (Was it better, or worse, than you might have done on your own?)

Critical Thinking

ChatGPT can give us the opportunity to sharpen our critical thinking. One of my longtime friends, now a university professor, issued a ChatGPT challenge to her students:

“Generate a ChatGPT essay using the essay prompt of your choice. Annotate with citations from primary and secondary sources, showing where and how the ChatGPT essay is accurate/inaccurate, and provide a commentary on the merits or otherwise of the ChatGPT essay. In your conclusion, comment on the strengths and weaknesses of the ChatGPT essay, based on your experience.  Include a bibliography of all works cited or consulted. 100% of the grade is based on the notes and commentary.”

Could you tell the difference between a proposal written by ChatGPT and the work of a professional proposal team?

Is there a unique way that your team uses language that gets the attention and engagement of your buyer in ways that a perfectly compliant, machine-written, proposal does not?

Reflection On Connection

ChatGPT is one more tool that makes us think. My husband tried an experiment: he asked ChatGPT to write a letter of recommendation for employment for him. Reading the result, he reflected, “The fascinating thing to me is how this illustrates how generic many recommendation letters generated by humans are. The question may not be whether we can tell a robot from a person, but a person from a robot… or if someone who writes like a robot is someone we wish to get a recommendation from.”

The question is not just what are we writing…but what are we doing? How are we engaging with each other? What has a lasting impact?

People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.
~ Maya Angelou

It’s whether the person who’s writing (or leaving voicemail, or sending greeting cards) has taken the time to get to know us well enough to make the nuances, the small interactions or communications personal.

They know we’re not fond of puppy pictures, but could look at cats all day long. Or that we miss that family cabin in Montana, but only in the summertime. Or that we loved our stint with the Coast Guard in Elizabeth City. And that if the project we’re working on goes well, we’d love to get the promotion to get reassigned there.

That stuff doesn’t make it into proposals. But it is the stuff that means that when your proposal lands on my desk, I know that the team of real humans who are behind it really have my back.

Machines don’t pick the winners. They might recommend a short list. But at the end of the day, there’s no such thing as doing business with “the government.” There’s only doing business together as humans…humans who have everything on the line when they choose us.

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