If you’re new to ChatGPT, let me quickly break it down for you. ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence (AI) language model developed by OpenAI. It’s like having a conversation with a virtual assistant that can provide responses to your questions.

The art of formulating these questions is referred to as prompt engineering and is considered by many the must-have skill of the future. So read on for my top ChatGPT tips and tricks if this is a skill you’d like to master.

What are ChatGPT Prompts?

ChatGPT prompts are like questions or things you tell ChatGPT to get it to talk back to you. Think of it as starting a conversation with a friend by asking a question or telling them something. You say something to ChatGPT, and it replies, keeping the chat going.

How to Write Better ChatGPT Prompts?

Want to chat with ChatGPT and get awesome replies? It’s all about how you ask your questions. Think of it as giving clear directions so you can get the best help.

This guide will show you how to ask questions the right way. ChatGPT learned how to talk by reading lots of conversations. That means the way you ask questions can really change the answers you get. We’ll give you easy tips to ask better questions.

And you know what? Being good at asking the right questions can even be a job! Let’s start learning how to ask questions like a champ.

Customize Your Chat: Setting Up ChatGPT to Talk Your Way

My first tip for you is to take advantage of Custom Instructions, which you’re going to find by clicking on your profile icon.

ChatGPT profile settings for custom instructions

Think of custom instructions like telling ChatGPT exactly how you want to chat. Before you start, you can set up what you want ChatGPT to do. Want it to keep to certain topics? Or maybe you like answers short and sweet? You can tell ChatGPT all this. This way, you won’t have to repeat your preferences in every single conversation.

This is great because it means ChatGPT can give you exactly what you need. Learning something new? Ask for clear, easy answers. Just want quick facts? Say you want short replies.

When you tell ChatGPT your preferences, it’s like it knows you better. This way, chatting with ChatGPT becomes more useful and fun, just like chatting with a friend who knows what you like.

So, the first question is: What would you like ChatGPT to know about you to provide better responses?

ChatGPT Custom Instructions control

When chatting with ChatGPT, sharing a bit about yourself can make a big difference. Whether you’re a teacher, a student, an accountant, or anyone else, letting ChatGPT know helps it give you answers that fit your needs.

You don’t need to share private details, just a bit about what you do and where you’re from. For instance, saying “I’m a software developer based in Chicago working with Python” or “I’m a marketing professional in New York writing advertising copy” helps ChatGPT understand what you’re looking for.

Also, think about how you want ChatGPT to talk to you. Want a friendly chat? Tell it to keep things casual. This way, you get advice or answers that feel right for you.

ChatGPT response customization control

You can tell ChatGPT exactly how you want it to reply. This means you can ask it to have opinions, stay neutral, or adjust the length of its answers. Doing this saves you time and makes your conversations smoother.

For instance, if you’re looking for help with Excel formulas and prefer not to wade through long explanations, you could say, “Just give me the most efficient Excel formula, no explanation needed.”

Or, if you’re a programmer who wants code without a long chat, you could tell ChatGPT, “When I ask for code, just give me the code and nothing else.”

This way, ChatGPT gives you exactly what you need, without the extra stuff you don’t.

Testing ChatGPT Custom Instructions

Now, let’s go and start a new chat, and I’m going to ask for a formula just to make sure this works.

Let’s say I’m in Excel, and I’m struggling with updating this formula.

Example of Excel FILTER function

If you need to adjust an Excel formula so it shows numbers between 12,000 and 15,000, you can get straight to the point with ChatGPT. Just let it know exactly what you’re trying to fix.

You could say something like, “I have an Excel formula that finds numbers over 12,000. How can I change it so it only shows numbers between 12,000 and 15,000 in column B?”

This direct approach helps ChatGPT understand your request quickly, giving you the precise help you need.

ChatGPT field to type a question/request

When I send this, it just provides the solution without any explanation.

ChatGPT response to user query (brief)

Now, without that custom setting, this is what I would get.

ChatGPT response to user query (verbose)

And sometimes you would just end up with a lot longer explanations like this one.

ChatGPT response to user query (extremely verbose)

These are great if you don’t know your way around, but if you do, they can be pretty annoying.

(If you are interested in a detailed explanation about the FILTER function, check out this post: How To Use Excel FILTER Function With Multiple Criteria.)

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Displaying ChatGPT’s Confidence Level

Another thing that could be quite helpful is to tell ChatGPT to always inform us about the confidence level of its answer.

ChatGPT response customization control

This could be quite helpful for factual topics.

Now, we can also expand on this and say, “When your answer includes facts, always provide a valid URL with the source for your answer.  And if you speculate or predict something, inform me.

ChatGPT response customization control

Okay, so let’s test this out.  I’m going to save this, go ahead and start a new chat, and let’s ask it “Who were the FIFA World Cup winners of the ’90s?

ChatGPT field to type a question/request

When I run this, I get: 1990 – West Germany, 1994 – Brazil, 1998 – France.  Confidence level is high, and I get a list of valid URLs directly from FIFA.com.

ChatGPT response to user query

These settings can be incredibly helpful.  I’m sure you’re going to find them handy.

Get ChatGPT to Write in Your Tone of Voice

If you’ve noticed ChatGPT’s writing feels too general, don’t worry. You can guide it to capture your unique style. Start by clearly explaining what you want. Let ChatGPT know you’ll be showing it examples of your writing.

This way, it learns to mimic your style more closely.

ChatGPT field to type a question/request

Just replace “Productivity blog” with whatever type of blog or content you need.

Saving your style with a name, like “LG_STYLE”, makes it easier to refer to later.  Let’s give it a try.

Okay, so it understands what we’re trying to do and it’s ready for some examples.

Copying and pasting some text from my website, I tell ChatGPT that this is an example of LG_STYLE.  I’ll provide ChatGPT with a second example text from one of my writings (copy/paste).

So, it summarized my style as informative, and personable, one that aims to establish a connection.

And now it’s ready to write our content.

I want to write an article about the importance of daily coffee for productivity.

ChatGPT field to type a question/request

Start writing it in my writing style, the one that it previously saved.

ChatGPT response to user query

Now, you can, of course, continue working on this and make it better.  You can also come back to this chat and ask it to write other related articles.

ChatGPT Prompt to Self-Critique

Not happy with ChatGPT’s answer? Here’s a trick: ask it to critique itself. It might sound odd, but it works.

For example, if you’re not happy with a response about why Python and Excel are a good match, just ask ChatGPT to review its own answer and suggest improvements. This can lead to better, more refined responses.

ChatGPT response to user query

I’m going to ask it to act as a critic.  Be ruthless, analyze the text, and tell me where it can be better.

Ask ChatGPT to act as a critic.

ChatGPT will go over the reply and provide step-by-step feedback on potential issues.

To get better answers from ChatGPT, ask it to be clearer and use specific examples. For instance, if you’re discussing Python and Excel’s strengths, request examples of what each does best.

ChatGPT can then revise its response to include these details, giving you a clearer, more informative summary.

To make ChatGPT’s answers even better, ask it to focus on and include key points it’s already shared. This approach helps to build a more detailed and focused response.

Have ChatGPT Write Its Own Prompt

Want to craft the perfect message? Use ChatGPT to help you create the best prompts for any task.

For example, if you’re writing an email to boost your team’s participation in an event, ask ChatGPT for five prompts that could make your message stand out.

Have ChatGPT Write Its Own Prompt

ChatGPT might ask for details like the event’s purpose, date, and location to tailor its suggestions. This strategy leverages ChatGPT’s ability to generate focused and effective prompts.

Now, after I provide my answers…

ChatGPT field to type a question/request

…I send this off, and it creates four possible prompts for me.

Now, these are prompts that will help me get the best reply.

Okay, so I like number three best.  I’m just going to tell it to use it.

Now ChatGPT just provides me with a prompt…

ChatGPT response to user query

…but I want it to run it.  Can I do it?

ChatGPT field to type a question/request

It starts writing the email.

Now, we can see it has a nice subject, the tone is soft and casual, and it’s highlighting the bonding and relationships.

We can see it sprinkled in different places, where we can share stories, laughter, and delicious food.  We’ll have a great breakfast.  There’s no work, no deadlines.  So, it’s a very customized email.

Now, compare this to a case where I don’t optimize the prompt.  I told ChatGPT to write an email to my team to participate in our team-building event.

It’s no surprise that I get a very generic email about team-building and what generally team-building events are designed to do.

Using self-prompting can significantly improve what you get from ChatGPT. But there’s a way to push it even further.

After getting various prompts from ChatGPT, don’t stop there. Ask ChatGPT to explain why each prompt could be effective. This extra step helps you understand the reasoning behind each suggestion, allowing you to choose the most impactful one.

It’s a deeper dive into customizing your results, making sure you get the best possible outcome.

ChatGPT field to type a question/request

It gives me detailed information about the reasons it thinks this prompt is effective.

I’m not convinced of this reasoning, so I’m going to ask, “Which prompt do you find the best?

It tells me that prompt three effectively combines the key elements I provided, so it could work well in my case, which it did.

Prompt to Keep ChatGPT Responses Brief

ChatGPT sometimes gives long answers. To keep things short, you can ask it to limit its reply to a certain number of words.

If you always prefer brief responses, add a word count limit to your custom instructions. Or, mention it in your prompt for one-time requests.

ChatGPT response customization control

For example, if you’re asking about the benefits of using XLOOKUP over VLOOKUP in Excel, specify you want no more than 500 words.

If an answer is still too long, you can ask ChatGPT to make it shorter, even by a specific percentage.

A good Chat GPT prompt for that is:

This way, you’ll get to the point faster, making your (and your audience’s) life easier. 😉

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Prompt to Use ChatGPT Output Formats

ChatGPT can do more than just text replies; it can format answers in various ways to suit your needs.

Table Format

ChatGPT can organize information into a table.

You can copy this table (with Ctrl+C) and paste it directly into Excel (with Ctrl+V).

Output format as a table

CSV Format

If you prefer, ask for a response in CSV format.

Output format as comma delimited output

Then, copy the text, paste it into a text editor, and save it with a .csv extension. This is great for data analysis tasks.

ChatGPT response copy and pasted into Notepad

HTML Output

Need data for your website? ChatGPT can format it as HTML. Just copy and paste where you need it.

JSON or XML

For more technical needs, such as coding or data transfer, these formats are available.

Pandas Data Frame

Working with Python? Ask for your data in a Pandas data frame format to integrate directly into your scripts.

Download the ChatGPT Prompt Cheat Sheet

Enhance your ChatGPT skills with our quick guide. Download now for smarter prompts and better AI conversations!

Click the link to grab your copy 👉 HERE.

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Leila Gharani

I'm a 6x Microsoft MVP with over 15 years of experience implementing and professionals on Management Information Systems of different sizes and nature.

My background is Masters in Economics, Economist, Consultant, Oracle HFM Accounting Systems Expert, SAP BW Project Manager. My passion is teaching, experimenting and sharing. I am also addicted to learning and enjoy taking online courses on a variety of topics.