Improving Prompts to Maximize ChatGPT’s Efficiency: A Practical Guide

The AI Experiment
6 min readNov 26, 2023

In a world where artificial intelligence is an integral part of our daily lives, the ability to effectively interact with it is not just an advantage, but a necessity. ChatGPT, OpenAI’s conversational titan, is a striking example of how AI can radically transform the way we work, learn, and communicate. However, the real secret to maximizing the benefits of this technology lies in the quality of the prompts we provide.

1. Know Your AI Partner

Firstly, it’s essential to understand the capabilities and limitations of ChatGPT. This AI, with its remarkable natural language processing abilities, can assist in a wide range of tasks – from creative writing to learning new topics. However, like any tool, it has its limits. Don’t expect profound human insights or a genuine emotional experience from ChatGPT.

2. Clear and Direct Formulation

Clarity is crucial. A well-formulated prompt should be direct and unambiguous. If you desire a specific answer, your prompt should reflect this specificity. Instead of asking, “Tell me about the economy,” try: “What are the main causes of the current inflation in Europe?”

3. Details and Context

Don’t hesitate to be detailed. Providing context is vital for receiving relevant and in-depth responses. For instance, let’s consider the world of cryptocurrencies, an area of particular interest to me. Instead of a vague and general “Tell me something about cryptocurrency,” I might ask ChatGPT: “How does the introduction of stricter regulations in the United States affect the performance of Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies? What could be the long-term consequences for investors?”

See the difference? The second prompt not only indicates my specific interest in the impact of U.S. policies on the crypto market but also opens the door to an examination of long-term implications, a perspective that interests me as a finance enthusiast. Armed with this information, ChatGPT can dive into a response that addresses the crucial points of the debate, perhaps even offering insights I hadn’t considered. This is the power of a well-articulated prompt: it transforms a simple question into a thorough investigation, encouraging us to explore hidden corners of our topic of interest.

The key is to think of ChatGPT not just as a simple answer dispenser, but as a conversational partner capable of joining us on a journey of intellectual discovery. With the right details, we can guide it through the intricate meanders of our curiosities, turning each session into a tailored learning experience.

4. Open Questions for Creative Insights

To stimulate creativity and innovation, posing open-ended questions can be extremely effective. Instead of asking for a binary answer, explore the “hows” and “whys.” For example, “How might blockchain technology influence the future of digital marketing?”

Here we delve into a territory that fascinates me: exploring creative possibilities, especially in the context of e-commerce. These questions prompt innovative ideas, particularly useful when looking to enhance an online business.

Example of a Generic Prompt: “How can I increase sales in my e-commerce?”Improved and Creative Prompt Example: “What neuromarketing strategies can I implement in my technology products e-commerce to increase customer engagement and stimulate impulsive purchases?”

In this improved prompt, we’re not just asking a general question about boosting sales. We’re introducing specific neuromarketing techniques, applying them to a well-defined target: the e-commerce of technology products. This enables ChatGPT to provide more targeted responses, suggesting strategies like using colors to influence customer mood or strategic product placement.

Another Example: “How can I use user data to personalize the shopping experience in my e-commerce while respecting privacy regulations?”

Here, the question focuses on balancing personalization with respect for privacy, a critical issue in digital marketing. ChatGPT can thus explore effective and ethically sound solutions, becoming a strategic partner for our business.

These examples demonstrate how formulating open-ended, contextualized, and well-targeted questions can transform a simple query into an opportunity for learning and innovation for your business. In this way, ChatGPT becomes not just an assistant, but a strategic collaborator.

5. Iteration to Refine Responses

The beauty of ChatGPT lies in its ability to iterate. If a response doesn’t meet your expectations, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification or to reformulate the question. This process of refinement can lead to unexpected discoveries and insights.

Let’s talk about an aspect we often overlook but is crucial in using ChatGPT: iteration. The idea is simple yet powerful – don’t settle for the first answer, but use it as a starting point to further refine our request.

Imagine asking ChatGPT a question. The initial response might be interesting, but not exhaustive. Here’s where our curiosity and skill in asking more incisive questions come into play. If the first response is too generic, we can ask for specific examples, practical applications, or focus on a particular aspect.

A Concrete Example

Consider an example in the field of philosophy. Imagine asking ChatGPT: “What are the fundamental principles of existentialism?” You might receive a general overview of thinkers like Sartre or Kierkegaard. However, if you’re particularly interested in how existentialism addresses the concept of freedom, your question could be: “How does Sartre’s existentialism interpret human freedom in relation to being and nothingness?”

Iteration as Deep Exploration

This second prompt opens a new dimension of discussion. ChatGPT can now dive into a deeper analysis, exploring how freedom intertwines with existentialist concepts of authenticity, responsibility, and anguish. This process of iteration transforms a simple question into an intellectual journey, leading us to consider new interpretations and reflect more deeply on philosophical ideas.

Through iteration, ChatGPT becomes a dialogue partner in the true sense of the word, especially in complex areas such as philosophy. Each iteration is a step further in our journey of understanding, allowing us to explore concepts and ideas in a richer, more nuanced way.

6. Avoiding Bias and Preconceptions

Being aware of our biases is crucial. AIs, including ChatGPT, can sometimes perpetuate existing preconceptions. Formulate your prompts in a way that promotes an objective and unbiased view.

In our journey with ChatGPT, one of the most insidious pitfalls is the bias and preconceived inclinations that can influence both our questions and the AI’s responses.

Take, for example, the war in Ukraine. A prompt like “Who is right in the war in Ukraine?” might seem innocuous, but it’s laden with subjectivity and oversimplification. ChatGPT might provide an answer based on popular news sources, but that doesn’t mean the response is free from bias. A better prompt might be: “What are the different international perspectives on the war in Ukraine?” This prompt invites the AI to explore a variety of viewpoints, rather than providing a unilaterally oriented answer.

Bias and Iteration

Linking back to the point on iteration, we can use this process to examine and challenge our preconceptions. If ChatGPT’s first response seems biased towards a certain perspective, we can reformulate the prompt to explore additional angles or ask for clarifications on specific points. This practice helps us to obtain more balanced answers, pushes us to reflect on our perceptions, and how we formulate questions.

Avoiding preconceptions in our prompts is fundamental for obtaining accurate answers. It’s an exercise in open-mindedness, a commitment to challenge our beliefs and embrace a plurality of perspectives. This approach enriches our understanding of the topics addressed, making us aware and critical interlocutors in the dialogue with artificial intelligence.

A Path of Transformation through Interaction

Here, then, is the endpoint of this exploration path with AI: it’s not just about exchanging information, but participating in a real process of transformation. Every prompt we input is like a piece that builds a larger mosaic, a dialogue that evolves and grows with us.

In using this tool, I’ve realized that I was not just receiving answers: I was learning a new way of thinking, of formulating questions, of analyzing responses. ChatGPT is not just a simple database of information but a catalyst for curiosity and creativity.

Through conscious interaction with artificial intelligence, we expand our intellectual horizons, refine our critical thinking, and discover new perspectives. It’s as if, in dialoguing with this machine, we are led towards greater clarity of ourselves and the world around us.

“There is a bit of hidden magic in every mistake. This magic is called learning.”

Disclaimer: This article was entirely conceived and written by the author. OpenAI’s Artificial Intelligence, specifically ChatGPT, was employed to translate the text from Italian to English. In this process, ChatGPT faithfully respected the author’s content and style, ensuring that the translation maintained the original intent and clarity of the ideas presented. The primary role of ChatGPT in this context was to facilitate communication and broaden the accessibility of the information to a wider audience, fully respecting the original author’s vision and voice, and correcting punctuation.

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The AI Experiment

Learning is a lifelong journey, and I approach it with the curiosity of a 16-year-old and the depth of a university scholar.