Christopher Chin of The Hidden Speaker: How AI Is Disrupting Our Industry, and What We Can Do About It

An Interview With Cynthia Corsetti

Measure its Success: Companies are strongly incentivized to follow the AI hype and apply it to all their products. But doing so without tracking quantitative measures of improvement is a recipe for wasted time and money. Once you start experimenting with AI and seeing what it can do, measure the improvements it is giving you.

Artificial Intelligence is no longer the future; it is the present. It’s reshaping landscapes, altering industries, and transforming the way we live and work. With its rapid advancement, AI is causing disruption — for better or worse — in every field imaginable. While it promises efficiency and growth, it also brings challenges and uncertainties that professionals and businesses must navigate. What can one do to pivot if AI is disrupting their industry? As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Christopher Chin, Founder & CEO of The Hidden Speaker.

Christopher Chin is Founder & CEO of The Hidden Speaker (, a training consultancy on a mission to empower tech professionals with confident communication. In a poetic full circle, he used to work on tech teams at Fortune 500 companies. Now he trains tech teams at those companies and around the world with highly specialized communication workshops. As a professional speaker, coach, consultant, and trainer, his work has helped thousands demonstrate leadership through communication and he is passionate about convincing every introverted, techie out there that they, too, can bring out their hidden speaker.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive into our discussion our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

I started my career journey as a music composer. I wanted to one day be famous writing scores for Hollywood films, to tell stories that moved people to laugh, to cry, and feel inspired.

That, understandably, wasn’t the most lucrative or stable job in the world and I decided to transition into the tech specialty of data visualization and storytelling. I chose this area specifically because it allowed me to remain creative telling stories, just in a different way. This time, I helped businesses understand how to make informed decisions with their data.

While working in the industry, however, I noticed a significant gap. Tons of extremely talented colleagues I knew struggled to get the opportunities they deserved because of communication skills. I knew one person who wasn’t promoted for 15 years because they couldn’t present, tell a story, and speak with confidence. Managers told me those were the soft skills that accelerated my career growth and I wanted to step in and help others do the same.

I started my training consultancy The Hidden Speaker to teach these missing leadership communication skills to tech professionals, and the transformation I see in every person has been one of the most inspiring experiences of my life. They laugh. They cry. And feel inspired. But not because of stories I tell them with music, or with my own words. But because now they have the power to tell their own stories with confidence and authenticity. And that to me is the greatest gift in the world.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I believe one of the reasons for the communication gap in the tech industry is the perceived inaccessibility of communication skills. These skills feel “artsy”, arbitrary, and frankly something certain individuals are just born with. After all, we see extroverted, charismatic leaders all the time in the workplace and the media who just “have it”. The chasm between how we think and act vs how they appear and sound simply feels insurmountable.

My core philosophy is that communication skills can be taught in the same structured, logical way as technical skills. And that they are learnable — by anyone. I have a 3-step program I work my clients and workshop participants through that mirrors the 3-steps used to deliver products in tech. Just like in tech where we have a development environment to test ideas, a staging environment to refine them, and a production environment to finally release them live, I use a similar 3 steps to teach communication.

One product manager I worked with, for example, went from nervous and anxious about any form of communication with her boss to confident enough to speak on conference stages. We first worked on developing her mindset, transitioning it from a desire to be perfect to a desire to be of service. We next worked on staging her voice, helping her sound confident so that she felt confident. And finally we worked on producing stories, helping channel her new mindset and voice into compelling presentations. After the program she told me how much the 3-step structured, logical approach resonated with her, because it was exactly how she learned her technical skills.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Confidence: When I gave one of my biggest in-person conferences and the slides didn’t work, I could have easily given up. But I chose to take a leap of faith. I was confident in my knowledge of the material and ability to deliver it. And by continuing to move forward, I gave one of the talks I am most proud of.

Humility: When I was an intern at a major tech company, I made an embarrassing mistake. I announced my new algorithm had broken previous records for accuracy and everyone enthusiastically celebrated. But upon running further tests, I found my numbers were incorrect. I set up a new meeting with the team to explain my error and how I would approach correcting it. While initially worried that moment would hurt my credibility, it actually increased my team’s trust in my ability to deliver honest results.

Curiosity: I was working with a client who wanted to improve their ability to tell stories with data. When they first came to me, their slides were very complex, detailed, and filled top to bottom with text, creating an overwhelming experience for their audience. Rather than jump straight in and recommend how to fix it, I wanted to take an approach of curiosity. Asking them about the thought process behind their choices helped me understand their mindset. And by addressing their mindset, I was able to help them find the solution completely on their own.

Let’s now move to the main point of our discussion about AI. Can you explain how AI is disrupting your industry? Is this disruption hurting or helping your bottom line?

I believe AI will dramatically change the way tech professionals do their work and I believe it will do so in a positively disruptive way. We will need to do less and less of the manually repeatable tasks like writing code and designing presentations. By making us more efficient with those tasks, AI will free us to invest more time into building relationships — into activities like stakeholder management and communication that are responsible for driving business success.

Which specific AI technology has had the most significant impact on your industry?

Chat GPT has had the most significant impact. Before tools like Chat GPT were invented, it would take me hours to analyze data, and days if not weeks to write code for a website. After Chat GPT was invented it could do all of those tasks within minutes. Seeing it do that — and do it nearly completely correctly — made me take real pause and consider how this technology might change a lot of what my industry does on an unforeseen scale.

Can you share a pivotal moment when you recognized the profound impact AI would have on your sector?

I used to make all my conference talks manually. My usual approach involved thinking about the main idea, writing out an outline of points, and then creating slides to support all the major narrative beats. For a recent conference talk I thought, “Why not use Chat GPT to do at least part of it?”

Chat GPT ended up being able to do every step. It could brainstorm ideas, draft outlines, and even design entire slides much faster than I ever could. I was shocked. The outputs weren’t perfect, but they were fast. And better prompts from me helped the output get closer and closer to what I needed. I am very curious to see how much more effective Chat GPT will become in the coming months and years.

How are you preparing your workforce for the integration of AI, and what skills do you believe will be most valuable in an AI-enhanced future?

Continuous learning is the best approach to keep up with the rapid development of AI. I conduct workshops to help tech teams learn how to use AI not as their eventual replacements, but as effective assistants for communication and presentation. My belief is that AI is not (yet) at a stage where it can operate without human intervention. Tools like Chat GPT need to be told what to do, so we need to know how to ask the right questions. Tools like Chat GPT also make mistakes, so we need to know how to identify those mistakes and correct them. Our expertise and domain knowledge as technical professionals therefore remain invaluable in an AI-enhanced future.

What are the biggest challenges in upskilling your workforce for an AI-centric future?

One of the biggest challenges I see in AI upskilling is mindset. In tech, we often like to think of technology as transactional — we give an input and it provides an output. However, what I teach in my trainings is that conversational AI tools like Chat GPT are most effective when we think of them as interpersonal. Chat GPT has the potential to not just give us code and design our websites, but to act as people. If you prompt Chat GPT to pretend to be someone in a certain role with a certain personality and background, it can respond to you as that person. It can provide much more “human” outputs, and even help prepare you for conversations with those people in real life. The full potential of tools like Chat GPT is therefore truly unlocked when we view it as not just an enhancement to our technological skillset, but also an enhancement to our interpersonal one.

What ethical considerations does AI introduce into your industry, and how are you tackling these concerns?

I have deep concerns about AI and its relationship to originality. AI can create entire slide decks for presentations and even scripts for everything the presenter has to say — on any topic. It’s a powerful tool for those who want to make their workflow faster, but a cheap shortcut for those still in the process of learning how to communicate effectively. I hope to tackle this concern through my corporate trainings. When I teach the use of AI for communication and presentation, I advocate for its role as a brainstorming assistant, but not as a replacement for critical thinking. It is our responsibility to lead AI and use it to accelerate our work, not to let it lead us and tell us what we should do.

What are your “Five Things You Need To Do, If AI Is Disrupting Your Industry”?

1 . Embrace its Specificity: AI tools like Chat GPT do one very specific thing. They make tasks faster. They do not build human relationships faster. That’s what we’re here for. Take comfort in knowing AI remains limited in its scope and cannot replace you and the trusted expertise you provide.

2 . Measure its Success: Companies are strongly incentivized to follow the AI hype and apply it to all their products. But doing so without tracking quantitative measures of improvement is a recipe for wasted time and money. Once you start experimenting with AI and seeing what it can do, measure the improvements it is giving you.

How long did it take you to execute a task before AI? How long does it take you after AI? Do email marketing campaigns generated using AI improve the open rate? Or decrease it (because people recognize the content as AI-generated?) Rather than taking a single-minded focus to make everything with AI, use metrics to determine what works and let go of what doesn’t.

3 . Identify what is Achievable: Once you start (hopefully) seeing positive, quantitative results from increased AI implementation, begin to chart out short and long-term plans for how AI can continue enhancing your work. In a few weeks, let’s say it improves your ability to write personalized emails by drafting initial templates. In a few months, perhaps it could even help with drafting blog posts to increase traffic to your website.

4 . Augment Your Relevance: AI is an enhancement to our skillset, not a replacement for it. Once you’ve identified what AI tasks are most useful and achievable, identify what areas still require human expertise to correct and still require human creativity to add a differentiating touch. Blogs drafted with AI, for example, can be overly generic and consequently off-putting unless we add a touch of our domain knowledge and unique tone of voice.

5 . Invest in Time-Bound Learning: AI continues to develop at a rapid pace. Setting up learning milestones every month or every quarter in the form of online courses, workshops, or self-driven projects can ensure you stay up-to-date with the latest trends that benefit your work.

What are the most common misconceptions about AI within your industry, and how do you address them?

AI can speed up tasks, but it cannot build relationships. It understands generally and statistically what a CEO in an email marketing company needs to see in a data presentation. But it does not know what your CEO needs to know. You would know that as an employee in the company from your experience and subject matter expertise.

As AI continues to automate more manually repeatable tasks, it will empower us to spend more time focusing on the people-driven tasks that drive business value: speaking to the business and understanding the highest priority questions, discerning the difference between what the business asks for vs what it actually needs, and delivering clear recommendations that the business trusts because it swiftly addresses biases, concerns, and objections we know they have.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

A motto I live by in how I communicate and teach communication is “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. One client I worked with reached out to me because her boss criticized her tendency to ramble. In order to best help, I first wanted to understand the mindset behind her communication. We uncovered she had a deep fear of being found out as a fraud, and as a result tended to provide a lot of detail to justify her expertise.

I told her that “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. The more you say, the more ideas and topics can potentially confuse the other person. The less you say, the more memorable your message, and the stronger authority you hold because of the greater clarity. When she began transitioning to a mindset of “saying less = more authority”, it changed her relationship with communication and with her boss for the better.

Off-topic, but I’m curious. As someone steering the ship, what thoughts or concerns often keep you awake at night? How do those thoughts influence your daily decision-making process?

What keeps me up at night is what a tidal shift AI represents and how a lot of the world remains oblivious to the significance of the sea change happening under their feet. Outside of those who work with data and AI like me on a routine basis, an AI tool like Chat GPT is just another new technology, another fancy app. But it is so much more. Its ability to do much of the same work humans can do — but significantly faster — will fundamentally change the way work is done across industries.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I encourage everyone to pay attention to their voice. I believe we often go through life leaving our voice on autopilot, letting it run through the vocabulary and grammar we know, and using it to simply transmit information from our mind to someone else’s. It is as mundane and banal to us as walking.

But as athletes know, when you learn how to properly move your legs — with technique — you can cover vastly greater distances. Learning how to properly use our voice to persuade, influence, motivate, and inspire others is one of the most empowering feelings in the world and will allow us to cover vastly greater distance in our personal lives and professional careers.

How can our readers further follow you online?

I have a ton of free resources and blog articles on my website Readers can also follow me on LinkedIn ( for daily posts on communication, presentation, and storytelling.

Thank you for the time you spent sharing these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

About the Interviewer: Cynthia Corsetti is an esteemed executive coach with over two decades in corporate leadership and 11 years in executive coaching. Author of the upcoming book, “Dark Drivers,” she guides high-performing professionals and Fortune 500 firms to recognize and manage underlying influences affecting their leadership. Beyond individual coaching, Cynthia offers a 6-month executive transition program and partners with organizations to nurture the next wave of leadership excellence.