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How to write a great prompt for ChatGPT

You can use ChatGPT in a myriad of different ways, but however you decide to use it, you will always start with a prompt. This is your first message to the AI, where you tell it what you want it to do. We’ve found out to write a great prompt for ChatGPT, which will get you the response you’re looking for.

Tell it why, and start with ‘I’

Typically when people start using ChatGPT, they’ll ask it a bunch of different questions. This is a really great way to test out ChatGPT’s capabilities, and get used to the application. However, when we only send questions to the app, we miss out why we’re asking that question. In traditional search engines like Google, adding why you were searching for something is going to slow down your search; at best this is redundant information, and at worst it’s going to produce no results at all. However, ChatGPT works a little differently. 

When we’re getting started with ChatGPT, the ‘’why’’ is incredibly important. When we explain to the AI model what we’re doing and what our goal is, we’re providing ChatGPT with context. This context helps ChatGPT to give us a much better answer. The best way to do this is to start with ‘I’; for example, ‘I’m hosting Sunday lunch at my house this week, and eight of my friends and family are visiting, including two children.’ 

ChatGPT takes in all of this information, and will use it to generate an answer when you ask a question. Telling it why, and starting with ‘I’ gets you much closer to your desired answer.

Get specific with instruction

Think back to your Primary school years. One of the exercises you might remember your English or Creative Writing teacher giving you is to write instructions for an alien for something that seems simple, like making a sandwich. The teacher pretends to be the alien, and they follow all the instructions literally, pretend not to know how to use a knife or open jars, and predictably every step gets confusing and hilarious until your teacher’s desk is covered in bread and peanut butter.

The point of this exercise is to demonstrate the importance of specificity when it comes to giving instructions. As well as teaching us how to help aliens make lunch, it also teaches us how to write a prompt for ChatGPT. ChatGPT is much more effective and efficient when you provide it with clear and specific instructions about what you want it to do. 

When you’re asking ChatGPT to be creative, be specific and give lots of information. There is a lot of difference between, ‘I want you to create a menu for Sunday lunch’, and ‘I want you to create a menu for Sunday lunch which has options for people who are gluten free, which is likely to cost no more than £50, includes a starter, main and desert, and will take between 2 to 4 hours to prepare.’ The second prompt sets down all of your expectations, and will produce a much more detailed response.

Don’t stop at your first message

Once you’ve got your response back, it’s time to ask ChatGPT to refine its answer. One of the incredible things about this application is that it remembers your conversation; you don’t need to repeat most of your question to ask it to do something just a little bit differently. Instead, you can send another request, and ChatGPT will keep on working.

Check the response that you’ve received back. For our Sunday lunch question, ChatGPT fired back a menu which included caprese salad skewers, which won’t be appropriate for the imaginary children attending our imaginary Sunday lunch as they’re allergic to tomatoes. We’d also like something that shows off our incredible baking ability for dessert; and it would be ideal if we could prepare as much of this menu ahead of time as possible.

To use ChatGPT to the best of its ability, ask follow up questions until you’ve reached exactly the response you wanted. If something isn’t quite right, but you can’t figure out what it is, you can even ask ChatGPT to help you narrow down what you want.

Ready to give it a go?

Ready to get ChatGPT to do the hard work for you? Try out your new prompt writing skills by signing up here.

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