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Mastering Prompting on ChatGPT

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ChatGPT stands out as a powerful tool for generating human-like text, but the quality of these texts is based on the prompts it receives. Whether you're looking to use it for marketing needs like creative writing suggestions, draft emails, or seeking complex explanations, ChatGPT can assist with a wide range of tasks. However, to truly harness its full potential, mastering the art of crafting effective prompts is essential.

There are many myths revolving around the use of AI, but the fact is that effective prompting can significantly enhance the quality and relevance of the responses you receive, making your interactions with ChatGPT more productive and satisfying.

This blog will delve into the basics of prompting, provide tips on crafting clear and specific instructions, and explore different prompt structures to help you achieve the best results. By the end of this guide, you'll be equipped with the knowledge and techniques to generate high-quality outputs from ChatGPT consistently.

Understanding the Basics of Prompting

In the context of ChatGPT, a prompt is the initial input or query you provide to the model to elicit a response. ChatGPT has limitations, especially if the prompt is not high quality. The prompt sets the stage for the interaction, guiding ChatGPT on what information or output you seek. The clarity and specificity of your prompt are crucial because they directly impact the relevance and accuracy of the response you receive.

Clear and specific prompts yield better results because they reduce ambiguity, allowing ChatGPT to focus on the task without misinterpretation. When your prompt is vague or open-ended, the model has to guess your intent, which can lead to less helpful or irrelevant responses. Therefore, starting with a well-defined desired output or task helps formulate a precise prompt that aligns closely with your goals. Understanding these basics can lay a strong foundation for more effective interactions with ChatGPT.

Crafting Clear and Specific Prompts

The importance of clarity and specificity in prompts cannot be overstated. ChatGPT can more easily understand and fulfill your request when your instructions are clear.

For instance, compare these two prompts:

  • Ambiguous: "Tell me about insurance."
  • Clear: "Explain the benefits of life insurance for young families."
The first prompt is open to broad interpretation, which might lead to a general and unfocused response. The second prompt, however, is specific and directs ChatGPT to provide information relevant to a particular audience and context.

To craft clear and specific prompts, consider the following tips:

  • Be Direct: Avoid unnecessary words or complex phrasing. Get straight to the point.
  • Use Specific Terms: Instead of generic words, use terms that precisely describe your needs.
  • Limit Scope: Narrow the topic to a manageable size to prevent overly broad answers.


Instead of asking, "How does insurance work?" you might ask, "How does car insurance work in Hong Kong, and what are the common coverage options?"

This approach leaves little room for misinterpretation and guides ChatGPT in providing a more focused and relevant response.

Providing Context and Instructions

Context is crucial for obtaining accurate and helpful responses from ChatGPT. When you provide relevant details, constraints, or guidelines within your prompt, you help the model understand the specific environment or situation you are referring to. This can significantly improve the quality of the response.

For instance, consider the prompt: "Write a marketing email." This is quite broad and could lead to a generic response. A context-rich version would be: "Write a marketing email to small business owners in the UK, promoting a new life insurance policy, highlighting benefits such as flexible payment options and comprehensive coverage."

Including such details helps ChatGPT tailor the response to your specific needs. Here are some tips for providing effective context:

  • Specify the Audience: Mention who the response is intended for.
  • Include Relevant Details: Add any information to help narrow the scope.
  • Set Constraints: Define any limitations or specific requirements.


Instead of saying, "Describe a healthy diet," you could specify, "Describe a healthy diet for a 40-year-old male with a sedentary lifestyle, focusing on heart health." This ensures that the response is tailored to the particular scenario, providing more valuable and actionable information.

By incorporating these elements into your prompts, you can guide ChatGPT in producing responses that are accurate and highly relevant to your specific needs.

Experimenting with Prompt Structures

Experimenting with different prompt structures can significantly impact the type and quality of responses you receive from ChatGPT. By varying how you frame your requests, you can guide the model to produce more detailed, accurate, and relevant outputs.

One practical approach is breaking down tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. For example, instead of asking, "How do I improve my website's SEO?" you could structure it as:

  • "What are the key elements of SEO?"
  • "How can I optimise my website's content for SEO?"
  • "What are some advanced SEO techniques for better search rankings?"
This step-by-step structure helps ChatGPT focus on each aspect individually, leading to more thorough and organised responses.


To elicit more nuanced answers, instead of asking, "What should a business do in a crisis?" you could ask, "Imagine a small business facing a PR crisis due to a product recall. What immediate steps should the business take to manage the situation?"

Additionally, framing prompts as open-ended questions can encourage more comprehensive responses. For example, "What are the potential impacts of AI on the insurance industry over the next decade?" This type of prompt invites a detailed exploration of possibilities, leading to richer and more insightful answers.

By experimenting with these different structures, you can tailor your prompts to elicit the most useful and detailed responses from ChatGPT.

Encouraging Critical Thinking and Nuanced Responses

To encourage more profound analysis and nuanced answers from ChatGPT, it's essential to frame your prompts in a way that promotes critical thinking. This involves asking questions that require the model to evaluate, compare, or consider multiple aspects of a topic.

One effective strategy is to ask follow-up questions that build on initial responses. For example, after receiving a basic answer to "What are the benefits of life insurance?" you could follow up with, "Can you compare the benefits of life insurance for young families versus retirees?"

Creating scenarios can also promote critical thinking. For instance, "Imagine you are an insurance advisor. How would you explain the importance of life insurance to a sceptical client?" This type of prompt requires the model to adopt a specific perspective and consider how to communicate effectively.

Another tip is to ask for pros and cons or to evaluate different options. For example, "What are the advantages and disadvantages of term life insurance compared to whole life insurance?" This encourages a balanced analysis, leading to a more nuanced response.


  • "What might be the long-term effects of increasing life expectancy on the insurance industry?"
  • "How could emerging technologies, like AI, change how insurance policies are underwritten?"

By framing your prompts to require more profound thought and consideration, you can elicit more sophisticated and insightful responses from ChatGPT.

Custom GPT vs Custom Instructions

When working with ChatGPT, you can use either Custom GPTs or Custom Instructions to tailor the model's behaviour and responses to better suit your needs. Understanding the differences between these two customisation options can help you choose the best approach for your specific use case.

Custom GPTs 

Custom GPTs allow users to create entirely new versions of the model with specific training data and instructions. This process involves fine-tuning the base model on a curated dataset that aligns with your requirements. Custom GPTs are particularly useful for:

  • Specialised Knowledge: If you need the model to have deep expertise in a specific domain, such as legal advice or medical information, custom GPTs can be trained on relevant data to enhance accuracy and relevance.
  • Branded Tone and Style: For businesses and content creators, custom GPTs can be fine-tuned to match a particular tone, style, or voice, ensuring consistency across all interactions.
  • Unique Use Cases: Custom GPTs can be tailored for niche applications, such as generating technical documentation, creating educational content, or providing customer support in specialised industries.
Creating a Custom GPT involves providing the model with ample training data and clear guidelines on how it should behave. This can be a time-consuming process but results in a highly tailored model to your specific needs.

Custom Instructions

On the other hand, Custom Instructions are a more straightforward and quicker way to guide ChatGPT's behaviour without extensive retraining. This feature allows users to specify how they want the model to respond by setting specific parameters or instructions at the start of each interaction. Custom Instructions are ideal for:

  • Adjusting Tone and Formality: Users can instruct ChatGPT to adopt a specific tone, formal, casual, professional, or friendly, without fine-tuning the model.
  • Contextual Relevance: You can provide context or background information that the model should consider while generating responses. This ensures the outputs are more relevant to the specific situation or audience.
  • Task-Specific Guidance: Custom Instructions can guide the model in approaching particular tasks, such as summarising text, translating languages, or generating creative content.

Setting Custom Instructions is straightforward and can be done through the user interface, making it accessible for users who need quick adjustments without the complexity of creating a Custom GPT.

In conclusion

Mastering the art of crafting effective prompts is key to unlocking ChatGPT's full potential. By understanding the basics of prompting, crafting clear and specific instructions, and providing rich context, you can significantly improve the relevance and quality of the responses you receive. Experimenting with different prompt structures and encouraging critical thinking can further enhance the depth and usefulness of ChatGPT's outputs.

By honing these skills, you'll be better equipped to leverage ChatGPT for various tasks, making your interactions more productive and satisfying. Remember, practice and experimentation are essential to becoming proficient in prompt writing. So, start applying these techniques and watch your ChatGPT interactions transform.

Tanya Kuwadekar

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