How to Write Better AI Prompts [7 Proven Ways]6 minute read
Were you ever disappointed by the content generated by AI?
Maybe the AI writing style was a little off, or it simply ignored your instructions or did the opposite of what you asked.
While AI still has room to grow and improve, the problem may have actually been your prompt.
In today's article, we will cover how to write AI prompts the right way so you can get the desired outcome you are looking for when using artificial intelligence.
What is an AI Prompt?
When we talk about artificial intelligence, a prompt is a set of instructions that is given to the AI to perform a certain task.
A prompt can be a simple line of text in natural language, a question, or a code snippet, or it can include more complex guidelines with examples and other resources that may be helpful to the AI to get to its response.
The action of building a prompt designated to an AI model is called prompt engineering.
Learn more about AI and AI tools:
- 8 AI Tools Like ChatGPT for Online Course Creators
- How to Create Custom GPTs and Use Them in Your Business
- Best AI Tools For Online Course Creators, Designers and Entrepreneurs
How to Write Better AI Prompts
Even though it has the word "engineering" in it, prompt engineering is not as hard as it sounds, and anyone can do it.
To achieve better results, however, there are a few guidelines and considerations to be followed, especially when it comes to more complex AI prompts.
Below, we will share with you the most important "rules" you need to keep in mind when you are communicating with AI.
Remember that these tips are only relevant with more complex and creative prompts, where you give the AI lots of context and multiple desired actions that it should undertake.
If you want to ask the AI a simple question, then you won't need to go into so many detailed instructions. However, if you need the AI to deduct a conclusion from a certain situation, help you make decisions, repeat a set action, give you an answer based on a large background, etc... then you need to apply some structure to your AI prompts to make sure that AI is able to follow your request.
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So let's see what are some things to keep in mind to write a detailed prompt the best way possible.
#1: Break Down Your Action
This is a process that you should be doing before writing your AI prompts. Many times, the reason why we are not happy with AI-generated content is because we are asking too many things in one.
Think about AI as if it was a coworker or a friend. If you asked them to help you with something, but you gave them too many different tasks at once, chances are that they would forget to complete one or two.
This can happen with AI as well, so a great way to minimize errors when communicating with a bot is to ask one action at a time or at least try not to inundate your AI prompts with lots of requests that have little relevance to each other.
For example, let's say that you want to ask ChatGPT to help you with your social media marketing and social posts. If you write a prompt where you ask it to come up with a social media marketing strategy, then you will probably get a very general answer that doesn't really apply to your situation.
So, we need to refine the task and break it down into smaller, more specific tasks. You could say that we want the AI to:
- Help you write an Instagram caption for your social media post in your target audience tone
- Brainstorm ideas for new short-form clips to share based on your most popular blog post
- Review a script for a YouTube video to help you get higher viewer retention
And so on...
#2: Compose a Prompt With Different Elements
The more complex your prompt is, the more structure it needs. This can help the AI clearly understand what you are expecting it to do.
So, a good idea is to compose a prompt including different elements and multiple, clearly distinct sections.
Here is an example of a prompt structure you can use:
- Instructions: This is where you define the purpose and personality of the AI, specify what the AI should and shouldn't do and set the tone for how the AI responds.
- Rules and Guidelines: Here, you can provide specific details about the steps the AI should take to complete the task.
- Response Format: Specify the desired length and formatting for AI responses and be explicit about what should or shouldn't be included in the responses.
- Response Examples: You can provide powerful examples of tasks or questions. Write out the exact responses you want the AI to generate. This step helps train the AI to understand your preferences.
By combining instructions, rules, response format, and examples, you get to craft effective prompts to help you simplify complex requests.
#3: Let the AI Review Your Prompt
When in doubt, why not use AI to help you write better prompts?
In this technique, you ask the AI to help identify any ambiguities or unclear instructions in your prompt. This helps refine and clarify your instructions. Start a new conversation in ChatGPT, and paste this sentence:
"Please help me identify any areas of the below instructions that might seem ambiguous or unclear and let me know what they are"
Then, paste your prompt below. After the AI gives you its opinion, correct the prompt and use it in a new chat!
While this is something simple you can do quickly, we have built a custom GPT that does just that.
This custom GPT helps you write prompts and review your instructions based on our guidance!
Simply paste in your prompt instructions, and our Prompt Expert GPT will give you feedback on what you might be able to improve or refine further.Try the Prompt Expert GPT
#4: Review the AI Thought Process
Another great way to understand how the AI operates and correct possible mistakes is to ask the AI to review its process of getting you the result you are looking for.
This means encouraging the AI to provide you with its step-by-step thinking.
When writing a prompt, encourage the AI tool to think through its process before reaching a specific solution.
By guiding the AI through the thinking process, you help it provide more accurate and relevant responses.
For example, if you are talking with AI tools such as ChatGPT, after you are done writing out your instructions, you could add a line of text that says: "Explain your thought process step-by-step and defend your answer"
#5: Let the AI Evaluate Its Response
Instead of correcting the AI when spotting a mistake, ask the AI to evaluate itself: pose questions about the correctness of its responses.
This technique can lead to self-correction and improved performance by allowing the AI to reassess its initial understanding.
For example, let's say that you are talking with ChatGPT, and it makes a mistake in its response. Instead of pointing that out, you can ask it to evaluate its answer or check again if the answer it gave was correct.
Related article: AI Best Practices for Creating Content The Right Way
#6: Find the Balance Between Too Little and Too Much Context
Providing the right context is very important when it comes to communicating with AI. This is because in order to give you the right answers, the AI needs to know what it is dealing with.
Always assume that the AI is like a stranger you are talking to that has no idea about who you are and why you are asking for help.
Naturally, you want to give the AI tool all the relevant information it needs to come up with a good answer to your query.
So, make sure to come to the background of your request and add any examples the AI may need.
That said, how much context is too much context?
This can be hard to quantify as it depends on the nature of your prompt; however, as long as you believe that you have offered enough information to help you with your request, then this should suffice.
If you fill your AI prompts with long paragraphs of text or repeat yourself too much just for the sake of being clear about your instructions, this could actually have the opposite effect and confuse the AI.
#7: Define the Behavior of The AI
Another way to craft a good prompt is to specify how the AI should behave.
Including this kind of information will help the AI tool you are using tailor its response accordingly.
For example, let's say that you are using AI to write a sales email. Who should your AI writer be acting as, and who is the content directed at?
You can tell the AI to act as an "expert copywriter" or the "best salesperson in the world."
This may sound silly, but it can actually make a big difference in the way the AI picks up its information and chooses to respond.
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