Use This Prompting Trick To Improve ChatGPT’s Performance

Unlock the full potential of ChatGPT with this simple trick

Aron Brand
Published in
2 min readDec 10, 2022


As a powerful and versatile language model, ChatGPT from OpenAI has the ability to engage in complex debates on a wide range of topics. However, to truly showcase its analytical capabilities and produce deep and thought-provoking responses, a trick can be employed to elicit more detailed and structured answers.

The trick is to include a request for ChatGPT to generate a hierarchical table of contents before providing the answer. This causes the AI to carefully analyze the structure of the issue at hand and organize its thoughts in a logical manner, much like a human writer would create an outline to plan and organize their ideas before composing an essay or speech.

Empirically, asking for a table of contents seems to greatly enhance ChatGPT’s ability to write coherent long-form essays. See the following example.

Here is an example of the “table of contents” trick in action

Step 1: Enter this prompt

You are at the world debate championship. The motion of the debate is “This house supports universal income for all citizens”. The coalition are in favor of the motion. Think about arguments in favor of the motion, using a hierarchical table of contents that classify the arguments to at least 3 topics, then write the speech of the coalition. Then do the same for the opposition, who should argue against the arguments of the coalition.

In response to the prompt, ChatGPT produced the following impressive outline:

Step 2: Enter this prompt

Now write the speech of the coalition, and the speech of the opposition. Start with the words “Ladies and gentlemen

Now GPT3 writes the full text of the speeches, based on the outline it has written in the last step. Here is the incredible result:

Bonus Trick

As an advanced bonus trick, you can visualize the table of content as a graphical chart, by prompting ChatGPT for a mindmap in MermaidJS format, and pasting the result in Here is the result for the coalition speech:

For more information on how to create mindmaps and other kinds of charts with ChatGPT, see this thread:

What do you think ? Let me know in the comments.