How to ask your AI assistant to schedule a meeting for you
When email first became popular twenty-some odd years ago, the conventions for writing email didn’t exist. Were these short letters? More like half of a phone conversation? A species of notes like the ones you pass to your BFF in class? I expect if I could dredge up those first 100 electronic messages I sent, I’d find some fairly stilted language — and definitely no emoticons. We were all just getting the hang of a new communications platform, and it took some time for us to collectively arrive at the rules of engagement (which invariably changed over time).
We’re in a similar moment with AI assistants. A growing number of people use an AI assistant to schedule meetings or manage their finances or help find flights, but it’s still a small set (we’re working on that 😉 ).
We’ve designed our AI personal assistant Amy Ingram to take over the entire task of scheduling your meetings. So if you’re setting up a meeting, at some point you have to introduce Amy (or her brother Andrew) to your guest and let her take over the scheduling conversation.
Fortunately, we can look to human to human interactions for some guidance. For example, any good manager knows how to skillfully delegate tasks to employees and introduce them into a conversation at the right moment.
Our customers certainly know how to introduce their AI assistants into scheduling conversations gracefully (proof is in the hundreds of thousands of meetings Amy and Andrew have scheduled). They’ve shared some of their methods, and we’re sharing some of ours, below.
Let’s start with the most straightforward introductions. Many people introduce Amy as they would a human assistant (and we believe this is the most natural and effective way to do so):
- “CC’ing in Amy to help schedule a meeting.”
- “No worries. I’m CC’ing Andrew who can help us reschedule this call for sometime next week.”
- “Amy, can you please help us find a time that fits all three of us?”
- “Hi Andrew. Can you set up something on 250 Park Avenue South on the 17th or 18th of August.”
- “Good plan. I’ll reach out to the lawyers and move forward. Amy, can you please schedule a meeting for next week called ‘Term Sheet Revisions’?”
- “Hi Julia. Let’s have Andrew find some time to meet at my offices the week of October 17th.”
- “Amy, can you please cancel this meeting.”
Some people also let their guests know that Amy is AI, even though the signature on Amy’s emails indicates her nonhuman status.
- “I’m cc’ing my AI assistant, Amy, who will coordinate a time for us to have coffee in San Francisco the week of August 15.”
- “PS — Amy is actually an artificial intelligence powered personal assistant powered by x.ai. She will make up to 3 attempts to schedule this meeting. If at any time you prefer not to use Amy for future meetings please let me know and I will phone you for appointments in the future.”
(And even this blatant signaling still doesn’t stop guests mistaking her for a human.)
But life is complicated. What happens if you’re meeting with someone you really want to impress and who is, let’s be honest, way more important than you are? Well, we’ve got you covered. You can usually signal that you understand the pecking order in any given situation by offering to be flexible in the scheduling negotiations, even as you hand your guest over to Amy. Like so:
- “I’m CC’ing Amy who can help set up our meeting. Of course, I’m happy to come to your office or the location of your choice.”
- “Amy would you be so kind as to find a time for us to meet that works for Elena?”
- “Thanks for getting back to me, Sarah. I’m eager to meet up tomorrow. Andrew, please set something up at Sarah’s office, anytime between 08:30AM and 6:00PM is good.”
Or you can be completely transparent. One of our customers introduced Amy something like this:
- “If you could, please work with Amy, my AI assistant, to set this meeting up. Lest you think I am disrespecting you, know that I am, in fact, focused on making the most of every second of my day. By scheduling meetings for me, Amy helps me use my time more efficiently. You should see her as a sign of my unrelenting focus on getting the most important work done. And if you find her appealing, you can sign up yourself here.”
Originally published at x.ai on August 4, 2016.