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Ambient Computing and its application in L&D

You have probably heard the term IOT – internet of things. Ambient computing is taking IOT to the next level. It is the latest and the most phenomenal development in technology.

Keeping an individual at the centre it marries many technologies to create an ambience or environment that is human centric. Think of what you would be able to create if you could effectively marry artificial intelligence with cognitive processing.

Cognitive processing is about thinking, knowing, remembering, judging, and problem-solving. Higher-level brain functions entailing language, imagination, perception, and planning.

Different types of cognitive processes are:

  • Learning: that involves acquiring a new skill, synthesizing information, and integrating it with existing knowledge.
  • Memory: is about absorbing and retaining information.
  • Perception: the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses and the way in which something is regarded, understood or interpreted.
  • Thought: the act or process of thinking
  • Attention is the ability to actively process specific information in the environment while tuning out other details.

Ambient computing is delivering tools that are of day to day use and seamlessly integrate into the environment such that are almost invisible. For example, in a work environment, ambient computing would use sensors, who can send updated information on your skills, captures on the job like oral and written communication. Your manager would get key insights on the coaching she needs to provide you before your next meeting. LMS would get automatically updated to create real time learning paths for you. All the applications and devices in that scenario are fully integrated, creating a seamless flow of communication and information.

Characteristics of Ambient Computing

  • Data: Since the power of ambient computing lies in the fact that is contextual, data centres are at the heart of this model. Without data you cannot get contextual.
  • Embedded: The technology is seamlessly integrated with the environment almost making it invisible.
  • Simple: The Ambient Computing systems need to be simple to use and should drive engagement.
  • Collaboration: Ambient computing tools need to be collaborative and plug and play to be able to integrate other tools and platforms.

Ambient Computing and L&D

As we move towards the hybrid work models and smart office environments ambient computing will play a crucial role in helping us navigate our world. From how we communicate to how we innovate it will help us by always staying a step ahead of us and proactively helping us take better decisions.

In Learning and Development, it will give us a tremendous amount of personalized data at an individual level that will then roll up to creating customized learning paths and specific coaching interventions. The contextual and cognitive processing will help make several soft skills more tangible by capturing on job performance in real scenarios. Over time the data will reveal mind-boggling insights on the organization culture and impact of business outcomes.

Let us look at an example of a tool called kWurd deployed to coach employees on written communication skills.

Deployed across a team of 250 customer service assistants it assessed emails real time.

This is what the data showed:

  • 45% of all the outgoing emails had no empathy
  • The communication style was 55% Assertive, 35% Passive & 10% Aggressive
  • The Email Sentiment was 30% Joyful, 25% sad 20% Fearful 25% calm
  • Segmented by Customer type it showed that Passive and Aggressive emails were mostly being sent to the age group of 18-30 years

Since the above data is available at an individual level as well the system automatically directs the appropriate learning content to the agent. At a team level the above insights helped a) the organization understand the quality of communication b) improve the communication before it is sent c) strategize the learning and development needs for the whole group, base on data.

As L&D professionals it is important to start deploying tools that help assess and coach your employees on the job and give real-time feedback. That is the first step towards setting up an ambient computing environment in your workplace. To know more about such tools, go to and

Learning and Development

Applications of AI in Learning and Development (Training Needs Analysis) Part I

Who should read this blog? You should read this blog If you are a part of the Learning and Development team or an Operations or a Technology Leader wanting to understand the different possible applications of AI across your Learning and Development function.

This blog is going to focus on AI in the first step of the process that is: Training / Learning Needs Analysis.

2020 is the year where L&D is going to have a critical role to play in the Business as they will drive significant Business Outcomes. Why so? Because the digitally transformed world we live in today, has a rapidly changing skill map. The Average skill shelf life has decreased to about 5 years and the need to be agile to have new skills has proportionately increased.

Let us look at the top 10 Soft Skills required in 2020 and compare it with 2015. Significant change, wouldn’t you say? Creativity and critical thinking have moved up, emotional intelligence and Cognitive Flexibility are new skills that have been added. Cognitive Flexibility in many ways is like parallel processing, it is the mental ability to switch between thinking about two different concepts, and to think about multiple concepts simultaneously.

Source: Top 10 Skills in 2015 & 2020 (Source: World Economic Forum, 2016

The top 10 hard skills are:

  1. Cloud Computing
  2. Artificial intelligence
  3. Artificial Reasoning
  4. People Management
  5. UX Design
  6. Mobile Application
  7. Video Production
  8. Sales Leadership
  9. Translation
  10. Audio Production
  11. Natural Language Processing

How many of these would you have recognized back in 2015? Barely any.

The global training spends in 2019 was $370.3 BN an increase of ~40% in a decade. ( To hire and retain good talent organizations will literally have to become learning campuses and ensure they are owning lifetime learnability of their employees.

The first and most significant step in establishing a learning campus is to assess the learning needs. Also called training needs analysis, unfortunately this one step that is the most rushed and usually not completed.

Training needs analysis is conducted at three levels:


However, most organizations manage to complete the 1st 2 levels only. Individual level done manually, is a highly time consuming and intensive process and therefore is usually left incomplete or done in parts.

The data and information needed to assess at an Organizational level is Business Goals, Employee & Skills Inventory, Customer Satisfaction Data and Organization Culture. Usually easily available.


Next you look at the Operational Level which is more detailed but again available with each of the operation & functional HR heads. Data like Job description & specifications, Work performance standards and metrics.

Job Description

The 3rd Level is the Individual level which is most challenging. As you need to get into a lot of data mining across the organization. Performance appraisal of an employee, to skill assessments, Interview questionnaires, work samples all this data needs to be collected, looked, and analyzed together to tell you the complete story.

Data From Any Where

Imagine even for an organization of 100 it is a lot of data and if we are talking of 100,000 it is a mammoth task.

Artificial Intelligence can be of great help here. As its most significant accomplishment is that it can help you process large amounts of data at scale yet personalized at significantly lower costs.

A key component of Learning Needs Assessment is assessing the skill gaps. And that is where one of the oldest applications of AI Adaptive Testing can be of significant help. This technique dates back to 1970s’. Companies like Pearson have created several adaptive tests to be able to provide personalized coaching to students.

The corporate sector is a late adopter however we have platforms like IRIS from Plural Sight which combines adaptive testing theory with machine learning to create statistical models for skill levels. To stay current, Iris adapts and collects data on trending technologies in terms of which are popular, and what is getting obsolete.

Adaptive tests when combined with machine learning can maximize Learning Need Assessment measurement efficiency. The Assessment will be more accurate and precise too. Since Adaptive tests adapt to the test taker’s ability the assessment times are shorter.

Adaptive assessments work by leveraging Item Response Theory (IRT). IRT focuses on the difficulty of each individual item as in question, rather than the overall assessment. As users answer questions, the adaptive assessment infers their likely skill level with increasing probability based on the difficulty of each question answered.

Because you calculate probabilities of the employee’s capability level It becomes unnecessary, then, to serve up all assessment questions, enabling short-form assessments to replace traditional long-form tests. So, in a way based on the questions answered you already know the questions you don’t need to ask. The probability of a correct response is determined by the employee’s ability and the difficulty level of the question.

If you were to plot the probability curve it would look like this. As the ability increases the probability of answering the question goes up. For example, at Ability 5 the probability is .98 and at 0 its .5.


Adaptive learning can be used both for Hard and Soft Skills. We saw an example of hard skills with IRIS where they are using it for assessing the technical skills of their employees. For Soft skills you could create a host of psychometric tests across the following areas and run it on an adaptive learning platform:

  • Personality Tests: Personality tests are a method of assessing human personality constructs. They are based on collecting personal information about people they draw inferences about how an individual think, feels and behaves. That in turn can predict persons performance at work when it comes to interpersonal skills, management style, motivation levels, ability to handle crisis and performance under pressure
  • Cognitive Tests: Cognitive tests are all about measuring competence and intellectual capabilities. They’re able to fairly accurately predict performance at work as they measure a person’s thinking abilities such as perception, reasoning, memory, verbal, and problem-solving ability. They also test for the ability to solve problems when learning new job skills or tackling workplace issues.
  • What about soft skills or acquired skills? can you think of ways we could use adaptive assessments to measure these. Challenging but not impossible. If you could find ways to marry on the job performance data to personality and cognitive traits of an individual, you could get a good measure of progress made on soft and or acquired skills.

What are the Benefits of Adaptive Assessments?

Highly Accurate: Adaptive testing allows you to identify an employees’ true level of ability faster and more accurately than with other types of assessments. By starting with a question of average difficulty, and then asking harder questions when they get it right and easier questions when they get it wrong, each additional question homes in on a narrower and narrower range of ability. Until the test has zeroed in on an employee’s exact level of ability and you get to the specific skill gap that needs to be addressed.

Positive Employee Experience Since each examinee is challenged appropriately during an adaptive test, the overall experience is more positive than a traditional assessment. Low performers are not discouraged or intimidated, while high performers won’t get bored and even enjoy receiving more difficult items. A better test-taking experience encourages employees to try harder than they might with a conventional test. Low performers end up feeling more comfortable and less judged and high performers will feel challenged and more motivated.

Innovative and Leading Edge: Adaptive testing leverages artificial intelligence, as candidate responses to each test question inform the next item that appears in the test.  This dynamic and interactive back and forth between the candidate and the test quickly homes in on the candidate’s true level of ability, more so than any other type of assessment available today. They can use various forms of audio, visual, and video content in their adaptive tests.

Adaptive learning represents a paradigm shift—from the conventional model (an instructor-centric, passive learning experience) to an intelligent one (a learner-centric, interactive, active learning experience). In the adaptive model, each employee is paired with a virtual “coach.” It’s a concept that can be scaled to millions of employees at a fraction of the cost of human coaches.

Do you want to put an adaptive learning platform to work? Do share with us your thoughts in the comment section below.

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How to Increase ROI on Training Spend?

According to a 2017 University of Michigan study, soft skills training boosts productivity and employee retention by 12%, and yields a 256% return on investment.

So, the question is that what can companies do to upgrade the communication skills of their employees? The global spend by fortune 500 companies on communication skills training in 2019 was $3.5 BN USD. Now let’s use the Edgar Dale’s Cone of experience model to calculate the ROI on that spend.

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According to Dale’s research, the least effective method of learning is from information presented through verbal symbols, i.e., listening to spoken words. The most effective methods at the bottom, involves direct, purposeful learning experiences, such as hands-on or on the job experience. The cone charts the average retention rate for various methods of teaching. The further you progress down the cone, the greater the learning and the more information is likely to be retained. “action-learning” techniques result in up to 90% retention.

Most of the communications skills course offerings that we researched lies in the category of watch Videos to watch a demonstration. The average retention in that category is ~30%.

There is a minimum leakage of 70% on your training spend. Now imagine a scenario if you could provide a hand’s on, on the job continual training experience and come right to the bottom of the cone where the retention rates are as high as 90%.

That has a significant impact on return on your training spend (ROI). Today using AI, you can create training solutions which are personalized and on the job. A case in example are 2 products that we at myJen have created. USpeek which is to improve oral communication skills and kWurd to improve, your written communication skills.

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uSpeek is an AI coach that assesses your mock video on 25 parameters in a matter of minutes and give you details feedback on your strengths and development opportunities. It has insightful analytics built which allows you to monitor, your progress over time and see your rate of improvement.

It is customised for a specific speaking event you might be preparing for. An elevator speech, presentation, interview, or a public speech you can select any one of the categories and get customized feedback. It has in built, learning lessons which comprise videos, exercises, games, and quizzes.

uSpeek Report

For your organization it gives you insights which help you baseline the oral communication skill levels of your employees at a location, account, team, and project level. You can track and monitor usage and see the rate of learning of different segments of your employee population.


kWurd is a business writing coach. It is an advanced proof-reading tool which works on all editors on google chrome. Writing a Facebook or a LinkedIn post or filling a form a commenting on a you tube video link. Write anything on your chrome browser and kWurd will give you the standard spelling and grammar errors as well as help you get rid of redundant words, call out passive voice, improve your readability by suggesting better word choices and more.

It is an email writing coach with Gmail and Outlook plug ins. On clicking the analyse button it gives you an overall score for your emails and rates it on 7 parameters. Clarity, Writing Style, Communication Style, Empathy, Sentiment & Emotion, Spelling & Grammar and gives overall Word Statistics including pet and filler words.

Kwurd Report
kwurd Report

It gives areas of improvement along with areas of strengths. kWurd Learning Lessons on youTube comprise 25+ videos each one taking up one concept and discussing it in detail.

Kwurd is an excellent tool for Customer Service teams who want to measure the quality of email responses. Was your email assertive and empathetic? Its advanced dashboards can give you the average and individual scores of the email communication of your organization by key client, product, service, team, geography, location.

When you have tools like this you are giving your employees a great opportunity to learn on the job and providing them personalized coaching tips. This will enable them to pick up the concept extremely fast, improve their skills the result of which you will see translate to business outcomes like more satisfied and engaged customers.

Invest in AI based training solutions today and increase our training ROI exponentially. You can reach us at and check out our websites, and


How to Increase the Power of Your Words?

“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.”  Powerful words by Martin Luther King.

Words can influence. Words can compel. 

Words cannot change reality, but they have the power to influence how people perceive reality. A single word can make the difference between the listener liking or disliking a person.

On the other hand, using the right words such as “We can” can create magic.

While preparing for an influencing opportunity such as an elevator speech, presentation, interview or a public speaking event, script out what you want to say.

kWurd and uSpeek have intelligent analytics which can help you improve your written and spoken word, respectively.

Have you heard a term called text emotion and text sentiment? From your choice of words, your AI robot coach can tell you what feelings your words generate and whether the word sentiment is positive, negative, or neutral.

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USpeek and kWurd give you the predominant emotion and sentiment generated of your spoken and written word. Word sentiment ranges from positive, negative to neutral and emotions range from anger to disgust to fear, to joy, and sadness.


Here is an example of a text.

Example #1 – Original Text

Hi Tom

I’m going to share with you very sad news. Our growth numbers are projecting a decline by 20% as a result will have to let go of 30 people as now this is causing to a lot of demotivation in the team, which is causing low productivity. The bad news is that it has led to some attrition as well. Unfortunately, I don’t see the situation improving over the next two months. And unless we are helped by giving us additional budget. We are only going to go down and under.


How to Increase the Power of Your Words?

kWurd score on Sentiment and Emotion

This text generates a highly negative sentiment of up-to 76%. The emotions are 68% Sadness, 49% Joy and 15% Fear.

Example #1 – Rewritten text – delivering bad news in a positive way t

Hi Tom,

The situation is that our numbers are down by 20%, which means we need to reduce headcount by 30 people. That could impact the team’s morale and productivity. The good news is that the situation can be turned around, when we get an additional budget of $250,000.


How to Increase the Power of Your Words?

kWurd score on Sentiment and Emotion

This text generates a neutral sentiment. The emotions are 56% Joy, 15% Fear and 8% Disgust.

Conveying the same thing in different words can complete change the emotion it generates. This is on a scale of -1 to +1. Where +1 is extremely positive and -1 is extremely negative. Here the sentiment moved from 0.76 negative to a 0.63 positive. The predominant emotion changed from Sadness (0.68) to Joy (0.54).

What has caused this difference?

1. Open with a neutral word 

A neutral word was used such as “The situation is” versus “I’m going to share with you very sad news”.

When giving bad news, you want to start with a sentence like “The situation is that we are currently behind by 1 month”.

This helps you to be unbiased, factual and less emotional.

2. Change or remove negative words

Hi Tom. I’m going to share with you very sad news. Our growth numbers are projecting a decline by 20% as a result will have to let go of 30 people as now this is causing to a lot of demotivation in the team, which is causing low productivity. The bad news is that it has led to some attrition as well. Unfortunately, I don’t see the situation improving over the next two months. And unless we are helped by giving us additional budget. We are only going to go down and under.

The highlighted negative words in yellow were removed or changed to more positive ones.  So, instead of using “sad news” and “bad news”. The speaker offered a way to turn around the situation which is “good news”.

  1. A contraction is a split word such as should not, which becomes shouldn’t. Other examples are can’t, won’t, don’t, and these words make you sound negative and impact the text sentiment and emotion. You want to exchange the word for a positive one.
  2. For example, “the situation can be turned around, when we get an additional budget of $250,000” versus “the situation can be turned around, if we get an additional budget of $250,000…” Notice the difference of “if” versus “when”. If means that there is a possibility of failure. However, “when” is a positive expectation that it will get approved.

3. Avoid extra words – Be more assertive and direct

Hi Tom. I’m going to share with you very sad news . Our growth numbers are projecting a decline by 20% as a result will have to let go of 30 people as now this is causing to a lot of demotivation in the team, which is causing low productivity. The bad news is that it has led to some attrition as well. Unfortunately, I don’t see the situation improving over the next two months. And unless we are helped by giving us additional budget. We are only going to go down and under.

  1. These highlighted words in green are extra words which take away the assertiveness and clarity of the message. The number of words are reduced by 48% leading to a more positive, text sentiment and emotion.
  2. Further, the words highlighted in green are less direct. For instance, “I want to share with you” is passive. You are asking permission to share your view. You just need to share it and not ask for the right to do it.
  3. In addition, the line “unless we are helped by giving us additional budget” gives the listener a choice to say no and again sounds submissive.

Be solution oriented and assertive.  “The good news is that the situation can be turned around, when we get an additional budget of $250,000.” This is what you need to solve the situation.

Overall, think about your choice of words.

Here are examples of negative words or phrases which can be said in a more positive manner.

Negative Words or PhrasesPositive Words or Phrases
2Constructive CriticismGrowth
3NegativeArea for improvement
4Past issueOpportunity
5Made a mistakeNew perspective
7The problem is…Possible options or solutions
8Bad newsThe situation is
9Facing many hurdlesFacing challenges such as
10ResistanceWe need to understand their perspective better.
11Against usThey are playing the devil’s advocate.
12It will never happen.It can happen if we get the right support.

Words are free. It is how you use them that will benefit or cost you.

Go to to assess your word sentiment and emotion. If you get a negative or low positive text sentiment, then review your script. Change words to more positive ones and sound assertive. Practice over and over on until you get a higher score. Use kWurd to assess your written word.

Always remember to generate positive and joyful emotion through your words.

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What is the Communication Style of your Emails?

 “I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – A quote by Maya Angelou.

Have you ever thought about how your reader feels when he or she reads your email?


Your email will demonstrate your communication style and fall into one of four patterns.

A Passive writer. Does not directly come out and say what the writer means. Writer uses a lot of pleases, try, maybe, and too many thank you. The emotion is unsure, tentative and fearful.


An Aggressive writer. Makes statements as facts, overuse of I, threatens, belittles the person, uses sarcasm, etc. Comes across as angry, disgusted and negative.

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An Assertive writer. Is more direct and to the point. Writer states his/her opinion. Cares about the recipient’s thoughts. Ask questions to clarify facts. Is collaborative and looks for a win-win. Emotion is confident, analytical and positive.

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A Passive Aggressive writer. Starts with sugar coating, positive points, lots of appreciation or pleases. Then, comes to strong statements or threats if the work is not done what will be the consequence. Emotion conveyed is confusion and frustration.

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Let’s see how Passive, Aggressive and Assertive people communicate:

Word Choice

· Tactful

· Cautious

· Reserved

· Diplomatic

· Enthusiastic

· Persuasive

· Charming

• Decisive

• Goal-oriented

• Inquisitive

• Sometimes blunt

Sentences beginning with I statementsLess use of I statementsFrequent use of I statementsOveruse of “I” statements and “You” statements.
Repeated words and fillersMany repeated words and fillers (um, ah, you know, etc.)No fillers are used.Very crisp and to the point. No fillers are used.
Duration of talk.LongAppropriate lengthVery short length. Too short.
Data is used.Less and sounds tentative with maybe, approximately, we will try, etc.Several important data points are used which add strength to message.Data points focused on bottom line.
Sentence lengthLongModerateShort
Words often used

·  Think about it

·  Take your time. Think it over.

·  Help you out; help me out

· Logical, step-by-step

·  Trust me

·  Guarantee

·  Promise

· Here are the facts

·  Proven

·  The data shows

·  No risk

·  I need…

· Asks questions to understand your need

· Paraphrase

· Explores both needs

·  Picture this.

· Win

· Results

· Lead the field

· Be the best

· Challenge

· Bottom line

· Benefits

· Fast, Now

· Immediate

· Today

·  New & unique

Ask yourself, is my email communication style Assertive?

Go to to assess the communication style of your emails

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Why every function needs to be trained in AI & Robotics?

1. Why AI?

Today the industry is at the inflection point where it has made the exponential shift from basic analytics to leveraging the power of deep learning, machine learning and AI. Mckinsey collated and analysed Artificial Intelligence Use Cases across industries and functions. They were trying to study what incremental value can application of advanced AI deep neural network techniques provide to the business. The answer was that in more than 2/3rd of the use cases artificial intelligence can improve performance beyond that provided by traditional analytics techniques.

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This has unleashed tremendous potential that can be mined. The incremental value that AI can provide in travel is 128%. Retail 87% and Banking 50%.

Almost 99% of all successful travel portals have AI based recommendation engines. This is very similar to Netflix or Amazon recommendations. These engines recommend to you based on your previous choices or history.


Cyber Bank Robberies or Fraud contributes to $1 Trillion in cybercrime losses. A rule-based method of fraud detection will typically take about 40+ days for a Bank to assess a fraud. That is where Machine learning and AI play a huge role. Fraud detection problems are typically constructed and analyzed as classification problems in machine learning. Based on supervised learning these models become intelligent enough two classify a claim as either an authentic & legitimate claim or a fraudulent one and are super-fast.

By learning from past experience, the algorithms become smart and can start identifying potential fraudulent transactions which have never occurred before. We must remember that hackers and fraudsters excel at find completely novel ways to beat the system every time. The fact that a Machine Learning algorithm can also beat the supervised learning by becoming smarter over time as it starts identifying hidden patterns, is a big win. Another very practical business application of AI is in claim assessments. Insurance companies like Lemonade are using AI and chatbot to give their customers a completely hassle free and personalized claim assessment service which can take as low as 3 min.


If you are filing a claim you can open their app to record a video of you talking about what happened, machine learning will convert speech to text and then match what you said with existing claims in the database to do an authenticity check. If all is green your claim will be approved within minutes, and money transferred to your account.

Like this across every industry you will find use cases for AI & Machine learning. No wonder in 2019, global private AI investment was over $70 billion, with startup investment $37 billion, M&A $34 billion, IPOs $5 billion, and minority stake $2 billion.

2. Why Robotics & Automation?

Ey Automation Will Impact Business Functions Differently.png.rendition.3840.2560

This study was conducted by E&Y in 2018 it concluded that functions like Finance, Administration Customer Service are very high on the automatability scale at around 80%. Human Resources is at 29% and Marketing and R&D at 24% and 22%.

Globally it is estimated by World Economic Forum that automation will displace 75 million jobs but generate 133 million new ones worldwide by 2022. A mammoth change in the skill sets.

3. What is the success rate for organizations adopting AI & Machine Learning?


According to Mckinsey’s Automation Survey, only 55 percent of institutions believe their automation program has been successful to date. And about 50% said that the program has been much harder to implement than they expected.

4. What does it take to run a successful AI & Robotics program in a company?

The biggest driver one should focus on is involving the employees and engaging them upfront. The entire success of your AI & Robotics program can be dependent on this.

33% of the employees fear that they will
lose their job to automation.


There is a lot of un-certainty introduced in the work environment as soon as AI is brought in. Workers feel scared for their employability as well as they are unsure of whether they will be able to adapt to the new digitized high-tech way of working.


As a company, you have to recognise that automation poses more challenges to the workforce because of the need to upgrade skills and thus you have to shift the culture to support continual adjustments to the way people do their work. And how do you this:

Provide employees proper training of what is Automation & AI. What they can expect, and what role they can play. The question that comes up here is that what level of training should be provided, and to whom. A good analogy to draw is the six-sigma program which has 5 levels, each designed to serve a specific business need:

Belt Levels Of Lean Six Sigma

For the Automation and AI program as well, a business should look at how they want to segment their employees across different levels and have a very targeted training objective for each. We recommend the following model:


Executive Sponsors

Provide high level contextual understanding of AI Machine learning with emphasis on the key pitfalls to the success of the program & the role they need to play. They should be taken through a couple of case studies from industry similar to theirs. The importance of solutioning and Data Collection, labelling and mining should be highlighted

The Program Leads


She has transformation and reengineering background along with Project management and a solid understanding of AI & Robotics. She needs to be trained continually on the latest and most upcoming advances in AI machine learning and deep learning algorithms.

Project Managers


Project Managers will need to be trained on AI & Robotics concepts focusing on the solutioning. They need to have an in-depth understanding of the process and business they are supporting. They should be trained on the end to end process as well. Refresher trainings on continuous improvement and reengineering should also be organized.

Project Team Members

Project Team members will be employees from the function and the process. They are process SMEs. They need to be given an overview level training on AI & Robotics. Since they will be participating in data collection, solutioning, data analysis & testing they need to understand the development lifecycle and should be taken through both agile and waterfall methods. They should be grounded on basics of data analytics and statistics.

Process Team Members


These are people who are not directly participating in the project but are getting impacted by it. They should go through a basic level course on AI & Robotics which is more focused around the solution being built for them as a case study. Training on the change that’s about to come and how their roles will transform with what will get eliminated and what will get added should be provided. Wherever reskilling requirements have been identified the training should be conducted. How to work with Robots is also an important subject to be covered. Provide hands-on experience and live demos early in the process, clearly explaining constraints. This will involve them upfront and thus they will be more accepting of the change.

5. Transform a culture of Fear into a culture of Collaboration and Innovation

Treating employees as problem solvers can be culturally very transformational. Delegating authority over the bots to those employees (versus running the bots centrally) can also be a way to ensure continuous improvement and employee participation and instead of fearing a culture of collaboration and innovation will be created.

Amazon is a great example. It announced last year that it will spend $700 million to train about 100,000 workers in the US by 2025, in Robotics and AI.


At Amazon Fulfilment Centres It’s not humans vs. robots, it’s humans + robots. Amazon runs 175 fulfilment centres worldwide. In 26 of them, robots and people work together to pick, sort, transport, and stow packages. Carrying and transporting inventory across building for example is taken over by BOTs and understanding how best to unpack honey or maple syrup is something left to humans. Thus, establishing a good Human and Robot collaboration is the way to go!

Abraham Lincoln said “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. Good preparation means more than half the battle is won. Prepare well, invest big on your biggest assets – your employees and reap the fruits of Automation and AI.

How Email is still very hot and latest trends?

How Email is still very hot and latest trends?

Email is growing at a phenomenal rate!


From 267 Billion emails in 2017 today worldwide we are sending 303 Billion emails every day. That is a growth rate of a whopping 30% taking 2017 as the base year. And guess what the numbers are still growing by 2023 we will be sending 347 Billion emails per day.

And what does it translate to when it comes to number of email users. 4 Billion! Practically half the world’s population! Sizeable is it not? 4 years from now the number is going to grow to 4.5 Billion that is a 12.5% growth.


1. What email clients are people using?


Apple and Google are the top contenders. In 2018, Gmail accounted for 27 percent of e-mail opens, ranking behind the Apple iPhone e-mail client with 29 percent of e-mail opens. Considering Gmail started in 2004 it is an admirable growth in 14 years. It has approximately 1.5 Billion users. The fact that Apple and Gmail are the most prominent email clients also highlights the dominance of mobile app as a medium for exchanging mails. Mobile e-mail accounted for 50 percent of opens as of December 2018, whereas webmail accounted for 39 percent.

Not surprising given how our whole world is slowly getting assembled in a smart phone.

2. What are the New Gmail Features:

Here are the latest features that Gmail has added:

Respond to emails with Smart Reply suggestions. Using AI (artificial intelligence) Gmail can intuitively guess what you want to write and as you start typing out your sentence it completes it for you. While it does not work for every mail given you might want to type out responses in your own words, however for a short swift response it is a good tool. Can help increase your productivity and decrease your email response time.


Confidentially send emails & attachments.

While this feature is not available for G Suite customers for now it is a great thing to use when you want to send confidential data and have control on who can and cannot see your email.

By turning on Confidential mode you can protect sensitive messages and documents by:

  1. Setting an expiration date to your email.
  2. Set the condition where you need a password to open the email.
  3. Prevent forwarding, downloading, copying, and pasting.

Snooze emails until later

This feature helps you in managing the time you spend on your emails. You can prioritize your email box and decide what needs your immediate attention vis-a-vis what can wait for later. The snooze functionality allows you to snooze the mail with a reminder set for a later time when it is convenient for you to work on it.

  • Given what we have seen above that Email has a massive reach and integrates so well with our life line – the smart phones, you would not be surprised to know that Email remains ahead of all other platforms as a marketing channel. It had a median ROI of 122%—more than four times higher than other marketing formats like social media, direct mail etc.

Some interesting facts:


Like in all growth sectors even in email marketing usage of AI and machine learning is growing in a big way. The key area where AI fits perfectly is being able to make micro segmentation cheaper, less manual, and more precise. As you can segment your customer further into narrower categories. It allows you to increase the level of personalization in your marketing messages. That results in faster and higher conversions.

And our Millennials incidentally are very bullish on emails, 72% of them feel it will exist even 10 years from now!


3. What are the top trends in email writing

So, what are the latest trends in email writing. We are discussing the top 3 here:

1. Mobile responsiveness
Given over 50% of emails are opened on a mobile globally, you need to make sure your emails are conducive with mobiles. What does that mean? It means you must keep in mind that your mail will be viewed on a small screen.  You do not want your users’ scroll time to be exceedingly high otherwise they might get frustrated and leave the mail half unread. The key highlights of your message and call to action buttons should be clearly visible.

2. More text, fewer images
Keep your emails light. No one likes their bandwidth being used up in opening heavy emails with lots of visual images or data. If required, you can email it in 2 parts. Even email marketers have observed that image-heavy emails are not being opened at the rates they used to be. Instead, lots of imagery can make your message look like spam.

3. Minimalist email design
It is a myth that bright colourful images or highlighted text in emails attracts attention. On the contrary, keep it simple, easy to ready and authentic. Get the message across. Clear, crisp email with minimalistic design sells.


Every email that leaves your mailbox is an important customer touchpoint. Whether an external customer or an internal stakeholder keeping them all delighted helps!

Happy Emailing! Go to for improving your email writing skills.

What are some of the latest email writing hacks you have discovered? Do share with us in the comments below.


How to express empathy in your emails?

In the absence of in person communication the need for being empathetic over digital channels like email is critical. Being able to write empathetically will help you be more likable and will build strong relationships and bonds both in personal and professional life.

1. Are organizations displaying empathy?

91 percent of CEO’s say their organization is empathetic. Conversely, 92 percent of these employees believe their employer undervalues empathy.

There is a significant gap. Why does the empathy gap exist?


A real-life work example:

Before we answer that question let us look at a real-life work example:

Scene: Customer Service Rep from a Telecom Company sitting at his desk looking concerned and worried. Jenny walks up.


Jenny: Hi Deepak, you look sad, what is going on?

Deepak: Since the morning, I have been getting low customer satisfaction scores on my emails. I am at a total loss of what to do. I am trying my best!

Jenny: Show me a copy of a few emails that we can look at.

Deepak: Here is one email.

This is the Customer’s email

Dear Sir,

I have a prepaid mobile plan on 9811089401. From the last 15 days, rarely am I able to call or are people able to reach me. It takes me many tries to get through and then I get cut off after a short period. This is extremely frustrating!! I have not been able to take important work and personal calls. I need this resolved as soon as possible!!!

Dr. Jain

This is the Customer Service Executive Deepak’s Response

Dear Dr. Jain,

Because of the merger of our company with another, there is a lot of work happening on our infrastructure. Hence, we are sorry you and others like you are experiencing connectivity issues. Please bear with us.

Deepak Bajaj
Customer Service Associate
Telecom Company

Jenny: Deepak, what do you think a typical doctor’s day is like?

Deepak: I know they deal with patient problems and emergencies, so it must be incredibly stressful.

Jenny:  Most doctors receive at least a 100 calls per day of which many are extremely critical. On top of that, given their schedules they have limited and specific timing when they are available. Call dropping can be very frustrating. It is natural to expect that she will be angry and upset with the current quality of service.

2. What is Empathy?


Empathy means that you put yourself in the customer’s shoes, and acknowledge the questions even if you cannot answer all of them. Make the person feel heard and that you care. The opposite of this would be sounding indifferent, frustrated, angry, or parroting standard responses which demonstrate a lack of personal touch.

We know how important connectivity is to a doctor. If you put yourself in his shoes, would you rate this response as high on empathy?

Deepak: No probably not. However, I am not sure how to write it more empathetically.

Let us rewrite a response together for Dr. Jain’s email.

Dear Dr. Jain,

We are very sorry to hear that you have been experiencing significant connectivity issues. Given your profession, we understand the urgency of remaining connected. I studied your area of work and residence. We have five towers getting refurbished after the big merger, which will finish in 10 days.

We hope to make things better for you soon. If you have any other issues, please let us know.

Deepak Thakur
Customer Service Associate
Telecom Company

When empathizing be careful of your tone. For example, in the Customer Service Executive’s first email there is little empathy for the difficulty that the Doctor would have faced or concern for the need for the importance of a Doctor’s accessibility. Instead, the email focusses on blaming the infrastructure and meekly apologizes midway

Empathy means:

  • Understanding. and appreciating how others feel.
  • Avoid hurting the feelings of others.
  • Getting in touch, relating, and being sensitive to other people’s emotions and feelings.
  • Respect other people’s emotions.
  • Care about how others feel.
  • Express the feelings and the facts from the other person’s view.
  • Notice the unsaid – read between the lines of what the customer wrote.

Examples of empathetic words and phrases:

While writing emails you express empathy by your words. Here are examples of words and phrases that are empathetic:

  • I experienced the same.
  • I really want to hear what you have to say.
  • Give yourself some time to process.
  • If I were you, I would feel the same.
  • I wish things were different.
  • I can imagine how that might have felt.
  • I can see this is making you upset.
  • You are frustrated.
  • I know how you feel.
  • That must be hard.
  • I do not know what to say.
  • I cannot imagine what you must be going through.
  • I wish I could make it better.
  • It makes me really sad to hear this happened.
  • Thank you for sharing with me.
  • I am glad you told me.
  • This must be hard to talk about. Thanks for opening up to me.
  • I am here for you.
  • That must have annoyed you.
  • We really appreciate.
  • I have experienced a similar issue.

“Empathy works so well because it does not require a solution. It requires only understanding”. John Medina.


Yet in day to day life both at work and at home it is hard to practice. Data shows, as we saw earlier in the video, the empathy gap at work is huge. Why is it hard then for people to be empathetic?

What empathy is not?

Graph2 Copy

Source: (

For the rest of us it is a skill we learn. Empathy is a combination of both nature and nurture. The reasons why it is not a widely displayed trait at large are:

  • We mistake empathy to mean agreeing with what the other person is saying and or doing. None of that is true. Empathy means listening and understanding that is all. You can be assertive and empathetic at the same time. You do not have to necessarily agree with the other person nor say yes to doing things you do not want to do.
  • Being empathetic is different from being sympathetic. We often end up equating the two, while the two are different. Sympathy is feeling sorrow, compassion and pity for others while empathy is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and feeling what they are feeling, which could be a whole range of feelings, from happy, frustrated, joy, angry, cheated to disgusted.
  • Empathy takes work. In our fast-paced lives, we are not able to take time out. One of the most important things which helps you be empathetic is to listen to the other person. You must be patient and proactively display empathy. This takes effort and you need to invest in people and relationships.

3. A real-life work scenario:

Real Life

Let us look at a workplace scenario where a team leader is having disciplinary issues with one of his teammates. She is coming late to office as well as not working full shift hours. Here is the email that he sends to the employee:

Less empathetic

Hi Michelle,

As we discussed, you have been late to work 8 times in the last one month by 15 to 45 minutes each time. This is because you are not used to having to take your child to daycare before coming to work. We agreed you would talk to your sister about helping you manage this.

I look forward to seeing you here on-time tomorrow.

Lisa Holmes

This mail captures the facts and documents it. It rates high on assertiveness but is low on empathy. It does not build any emotional bond with the employee. Emotional bonding drives loyalty to the company, significantly improves productivity and motivation. Let us see how the same email could be written empathetically:

More empathetic

Re: Lateness


Hi Michelle,

I understand you are going through a difficult time. If I were in your position; I would feel the same way. Your family needs you. We are also counting on you too and need you here every day on-time.

As we reviewed, you have been late to work 8 times in the last one month by 15 to 45 minutes each time. This is because you are not used to having to take your child to daycare before coming to work.  We both agreed you will seek help from your sister to manage the situation better.

I look forward to seeing you here on-time tomorrow and every day this month!

Lisa Holmes


Always remember the famous Maya Angelou quote “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.
To know the empathy score of your emails you can turn to
When was the last time you were truly empathetic towards someone? What did it feel like?

Featured Image

The eight (8) types of nonverbal communication

Nonverbal communication is what we communicate outside of the spoken word. There are 8 types of nonverbal communication. And these are kinesics, haptics, appearance, proxemics, environment, chronemics, paralanguage, and silence.

Let us look at each of the 8 types:

Kinesics: Kinesics comes from the word kinesis which means movement. It is the study of the way in which body movements, gestures & facial expressions serve as a form of non-verbal communication. A great deal of meaning can be interpreted by your facial expressions, eye contact the way you move your hands and legs. For example, if you go to a party and are attracted to someone what type of non-verbal clues do you give the person? On the other hand, if you meet an acquaintance you are not interested in engaging in a conversation with, what type of nonverbals do you demonstrate?

Below are some examples of positive and negative kinesics:


Haptics: is the study of communication through touch. The first form of communication each one of us experienced at the time of birth was a touch. Visualize an old man lying on a hospital bed in pain. His son visits him and holds his hand. How comforting that touch is for him! That is the power of touch.

At the same time touch can be very threatening if used wrongfully to abuse sexually or physically. Children who have suffered the negative touch suffer from the consequences of it throughout their adult lives as they usually are less healthy physically and mentally. We are all told the importance of a firm handshake. A handshake is a very critical method of nonverbal communication.

A week timid handshake demonstrates lack of confidence and puts you on the defensive right at the start of the meeting. There are several types of touch, including functional-professional, social-polite, friendship-warmth, love-intimacy, and sexual-arousal touch. Permissible and non-permissible touch is also very culture specific.

A firm handshake
A firm handshake
A pat on the back
A pat on the back
Handshake In Plane
Holding hands and walking

Appearance: This is about how we dress the clothes; we wear our hair style the accessories we use. Everything about our appearance communicates meaning to others Personal Appearance, Objects, and Artifacts are types of nonverbal communication we use on our bodies and surroundings communicate meaning to others. For example, people with more than 3-4 tattoos are generally considered to be in lower paying jobs & associated with lower self-esteem. Short haired women are considered to be more aggressive as shorter hair implies a more athletic and less feminine girl.

Short hair
Short hair
Corporate Girl
Corporate Girl

Proxemics: is the study of how our use of space influences the ways we relate with others. There are 4 types of personal space zones: Intimate Spaces, Personal Spaces, Social Spaces and Public Spaces.

Zones of personal space
Zones of personal space

Public space: is at a distance of 12 feet and above. Usually the communication that happens in this space is formal and impersonal. This is the least personal of the four zones and would typically be used for a formal speech or a public engagement by a celebrity.

Handshake In Plane
Public Address

 Social space: is at a distance of 4 -12 feet and within this distance the communication that happens it is usually in the professional or a casual setting. When you say keep someone at arm’s length this is what you mean, keep them at a social distance.  This is the most common setting in the business world. When making presentations you will usually be in a social space with your audience which helps build just enough engagement and bonding with them so as to be able to influence.

Handshake In Plane
Colleagues at work

Personal space: is at a distance of 1.5 – 4 feet. This space is where you have your friends, family, and close acquaintances. Most of our personal communication happens in this zone

Handshake In Plane
Mother & Children
Handshake In Plane

Intimate Space: is within 1.5 feet from our body. This space is for people who are extremely close to us and within adults it usually is for romantic partners. This is a powerful means of communication as being close to someone can be very comforting especially when words fail. Some people are comfortable with being in an intimate space with someone publicly, that is called public display of affection while others are not. So, you must be mindful of culture and society norms.

Handshake In Plane

Environment: Our environments include our spaces like are homes, rooms, cars, or offices. The way you keep your space communicates a meaning. For example, if you use bright red colours it communicates joy cheer high energy levels and openness whereas if you use black and greys it communicates isolation a certain level of stiffness and silence.  How you maintain your work desk talks a lot about you. Cluttered messy means chaotic and not organized whereas a nice clean desk indicated organization and planning.

A bright coloured room
A bright coloured room
A black and grey room
A black and grey room
A cluttered work desk
A cluttered work desk
A clean work desk
A clean work desk

Chronemics: is the study of how people use time. Do you always arrive for a meeting ahead of time? Are you always running late for your appointments? Do you end up missing flights? Do you always arrive on time? Depending on yes or no you are making a nonverbal communication about yourself with the rest of the world. On time is perceived as dependable trustworthy and committed whereas late is seen as someone unorganized, chaotic and not dependable.

On time
On time
Getting late
Getting late

Paralanguage: is the non-lexical component of communication by speech, for example intonation, pitch and rate of speech, hesitation noises ummm and ahhhs. These components play a critical role in nonverbal communication. A fast rate of speech indicates anxiety and nervousness. Intonation or modulation in voice keeps the audience interested and engaged whereas a monotonous delivery is boring and puts people to sleep. Speakers having a wide range of pitch are more successful communications that the once who don’t. Similarly using too many umms and ahhs’communicates a lack of proficiency on the subject and disengages the audience.

A Pitch Graph
A Pitch Graph
Rate Of Speech
Rate Of Speech

Silence:  As they say ‘silence speaks when words fail ‘.  Silence is a very powerful mode of communication. It can convey a lot more than words. Silence has several meanings. You might give the silent treatment to someone and not engage in a dialogue. Silence could also mean approval in some cultures. In diplomacy silence is used as a powerful strategy to communicate a variety of things.



Nonverbals play a very important role in communication. Master each of the 8 above and you will see a significant impact on how you are perceived. Communicating well leads to big returns professionally and personally. If you are looking at an affordable personal communication coach you could go to

What out of the 8 types of non-verbal’s, you would consider to be your strengths?

video call

How to look good on a Video Call?

Do you know what the year 2020 will be remembered for the most?

The year 2020 will be remembered for most as the year the world went online.

Zoom the online video company saw a growth of 1900% in just over 2 months . The number of daily meeting participants increased from around 10 MM in Dec 2019 to 200 MM in March 2020.


This trend is here to stay. ~50% of employees have expressed their desire to continue to work from home post the lockdown restrictions and many of fortune 500 companies are forecasting their permanent work from home staff to go up as high as 25%.

Improving your video call presence is important to ensure you continue to get the same results. We are going to focus on three aspects of your video call:

  • Body Language
  • Vocal Tone
  • Word Power

1. How to have a good Body Language on a video call?

Body language has the biggest impact on how you are perceived. Even if you do not utter a single word, your presence on the video call talks. Some simple rules to ensure your Body Language comes across as strong, positive, confident, and empathetic.

Smile  – Have a smile on your face. It is magnetic. Remember video diminishes your body expressions by 1/3 rd. Hence online you need to smile a lot more that you would have done in person.

Smiling Faces
Smiling Faces
Not Smiling
Not Smiling

Eye Contact – look directly at the person you are talking to or listening to. Maintaining a good eye contact builds a strong connection. It makes you look trustworthy and dependable. On the video call you will need to look directly at the camera. When you do that it will appear to the other person that you are looking directly at him.

Looking Directly At The Camera
Looking Directly At The Camera
Looking Away From The Camera
Looking Away From The Camera

Head movement – head movement while talking is very engaging. When you move your head meaningfully on the video call it makes your audience feel you are listening. A nod of acknowledgment a shake of approval are powerful expressions.

Moving Your Head In An Engaging Manner1
Moving Your Head In An Engaging Manner1
Moving Your Head In An Engaging Manner
Moving Your Head In An Engaging Manner2

Micro-expressions are facial expressions which last split of a second but leave a lasting impression on your audience. The flicker of anger, fear or disgust if seen cannot be undone even with a thousand smiles. AI allows us to split your video to 1/30th frame on a one second timeline. Giving you an accurate cumulative percentage of your micro expressions. Be conscious of the facial emotions you display on the video call.

Looking Fearful
Looking Fearful
Looking Angry
Looking Angry

uSpeek a powerful AI based world’s 1st Video assessment app can analyze your mock video and give you scores on all the above and more.

Body Lang 700x569

2. How to have a good Vocal Tone on a video call?

  • Rate of Speech measured in words per minute is a metric to see whether you are speaking fast, slow or at the right pace. It is also important to vary your rate of speech on the video call when you talk to keep the listener engaged.
  • Modulation- this is a measure of how effectively you are modulating your voice. You do not want to speak in a single monotonous tone, that put your audience to sleep. Modulation adds expression and feeling to your voice and keeps your listeners interested on the video call.
  • Volume- speak too softly people will not hear you and will find you passive, speak too loudly and you are seen as aggressive and shouting on the video call. Keep the decibel levels exactly right.
  • Articulate your words well by opening your mouth widely when you speak. That will improve your diction.

USpeek gives a decibel graph of your volume, a pitch graph, your rate of speech as well your modulation graph. Use it to baseline where you stand on your vocal tone.

Vocal 700x569

3. How to have a good Word Power on a video call?

Last but not the least word power. Words can create magic if used right. What you do not want in your spoken words is too many pet & filler words, long rambling sentences, and negative emotion. What you do want is to use a good percentage of unique words, I statements’, positive emotion and use some data where applicable.

Unique words spoken on the video call demonstrate a good vocabulary and keep the listener interested. On the other hand, repeating the same words again and again bores the listener and he is likely to switch off. I statements make you sound assertive and confident. If you use too little, I statements it makes you come across as not so confident and unsure. Too many I statements will make you sound aggressive and narcissistic.

Using data when you express your point of view is very impactful. Data speaks more than a thousand words. Wherever applicable and possible do enunciate your point with relevant data points. It makes a significant impact in engaging your audience over a video call.

Want to get your words to sound right. The good news is that uSpeek measures all the above plus gives you a transcript of your spoken word. Record your speech. Get feedback. Use the transcript to improve your word power. Record again, get feedback and the script, improve it, and do that again till you get it perfect.


Log on to to access the Web Application and try it for free!

4. How to ensure you are well prepared to take a video call?

  • Make sure the area you are sitting in is well light on a video call. Most importantly you should have light fall on your face and body. If there is less light the participants on your call will not be able to see you well and your video will look dark and gloomy.
  • Always look straight into the camera and talk on a video call. Do not try look at the video of the participants on your screen and talk to their video picture. Instead focus on the camera spot and look directly into it.
  • Sit upright in your seat. Do not slouch back and slip into the chair. That will impact the energy in your voice and also only part of your face will appear on video and that looks very unprofessional and casual.
  • Have minimum one-and-a-half-foot gap between the camera and your face. Do not speak right into your camera. Otherwise, it will accentuate your face, and is distracting and unpleasing.
  • Make sure you are sitting in a quiet area. If you are expecting noise on the call let people know upfront.
  • While moving your hands on the call make sure they are not in front of your face. Keep your hands away from the camera on a video call.


Getting your body language, vocal tone and word power right is critical to look good on a video call. Even if you follow 50% of the tips above you will find a dramatic improvement in how you look in your video calls. What do you find the easiest to work on? Your body Language, vocal tone, or word power? Do share your experiences in the comment section below and all the best. We hope you look your best self in your next call.

You can find a detailed slide deck covering all the aspects of: How to look good on a video call? Here: