ChatGPT Best Practices: How to get better results from ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is a powerful tool that utilizes language models like GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 to assist you. To achieve optimal results, it’s important to understand the unique characteristics and best practices of these models. This article presents ChatGPT best practices and tactics to help you maximize your experience with ChatGPT.

Strategies for Better Results with ChatGPT

1. Use Clear Instructions

Clear instructions are crucial for effective communication and desired outcomes. Whether you’re interacting with ChatGPTs or humans, clarity is key. The following tactics will guide you in writing concise, unambiguous, and easily understandable prompts.

ChatGPT cannot read your mind. If responses are too lengthy, ask for brief answers. If they are too simplistic, request expert-level explanations. When you prefer a different format, provide an example of the desired format. The clearer your instructions, the better the results you will obtain.

Tactic 1: Include Details for Relevant Answers

To receive accurate responses or solutions, provide specific details and context. Including relevant information increases the chances of obtaining highly precise and appropriate answers. Without clear details, ChatGPT may misunderstand your intentions. Here are some examples illustrating the difference between vague and detailed queries:

Bad Prompt: How can I add numbers in Excel?

Good Prompt: How do I automatically calculate the total of a row of dollar amounts in Excel? The totals should be displayed on the right in a column labeled "Total" for the entire sheet.

Bad Prompt: Summarize the meeting notes.

Good Prompt: Summarize the meeting notes in a single paragraph. Then, create a list of the speakers and their key points using markdown format. Finally, list any suggested next steps or action items mentioned by the speakers.

Tactic 2: Assign a Persona to the Model

You can specify the persona that ChatGPT should adopt in its replies. This allows you to customize the tone and style of the generated content according to your preferences. For example:

Good Prompt Example: Incorporate at least one humorous joke or lighthearted remark in each paragraph when assisting me with writing.

Tactic 3: Utilize Delimiters

Delimiters such as triple quotation marks, XML tags, or section titles help separate different sections of text, allowing you to treat them differently. They enable you to convey multiple sections within a single query to ChatGPT. For example:

Good Prompt Example: Summarize the text enclosed by triple quotes in the form of a haiku. """Insert your text here"""

Tactic 4: Specify Task Steps

When dealing with multi-step tasks, provide explicit instructions outlining each step. This clarity helps ChatGPT understand and generate more accurate responses. Here’s an example:

Good Prompt Example: Follow these step-by-step instructions to respond to me: Step 1: I will provide a text enclosed within triple quotes. Summarize this text in one sentence, starting with the prefix "Summary: ". Step 2: Translate the summary from Step 1 into Spanish, using the prefix "Translation: ".

Tactic 5: Provide Examples

In certain cases, providing examples can be helpful, particularly when you want ChatGPT to emulate a specific style or response format. This approach allows ChatGPT to learn from specific instances. For instance:

Good Prompt Example: Answer my question (Teach me about the ocean) as shown in the example below. Example Question: Teach me about patience. Example Answer: Patience is like a river carving the deepest valley, a symphony originating from a single note, or an intricate tapestry starting with a solitary thread.

Tactic 6: Specify Response Length

You can instruct ChatGPT to generate outputs of specific lengths, such as word count, sentence count, paragraphs, or bullet points. However, note that specifying an exact word count may not always be precise. The model can more reliably generate outputs with a specific number of paragraphs or bullet points. For example:

Good Prompt Example: Summarize the text enclosed by triple quotes in two paragraphs.

Also check out our post on how you can get longer responses from ChatGPT.

2. Use Reference Text for Better Answers

ChatGPT has the ability to generate fabricated responses, particularly when faced with obscure subjects or requests for citations and URLs. However, by strategically utilizing reference text, we can minimize such fabrications and provide more reliable answers.

Tactic 1: Direct ChatGPT to Answer Using Reference Text

If we can provide trusted and relevant information, we can instruct ChatGPT to utilize it when formulating its response.

Good Prompt Example: Answer the question using the provided articles enclosed by triple quotes. If the answer cannot be found in the articles, respond with "I couldn't find an answer."
"""Insert articles here, each enclosed by triple quotes"""
Question: <Insert question here>

Tactic 2: Request Citations from Reference Text

By referencing specific passages from provided documents, we can ask ChatGPT to include citations in its answers. This enables programmatic verification by matching the citations with the provided documents.

Good Prompt Example: You will be given a document enclosed by triple quotes and a question. Your task is to answer the question using only the provided document and include citations to the relevant passages. If the document doesn't contain the necessary information, simply write "Insufficient information." If you provide an answer, it must be annotated with a citation.
Use the following format to cite relevant passages: {"citation": ...} """Insert document here"""
Question: <Insert question here>

3. Breaking Down Complex Tasks into Simpler Subtasks

Breaking down complex tasks into smaller, more manageable subtasks is a common practice in software engineering. Similarly, when working with GPTs, dividing complex tasks into simpler ones can yield better results. Complex tasks tend to have more errors, while simpler tasks are easier to handle.

Tactic 1: Utilize Intent Classification

For tasks that involve different cases, it’s beneficial to classify the type of query first. This classification helps identify the specific instructions required. By establishing fixed categories and providing relevant instructions for each category, the task can be divided into stages using a recursive approach.

Intent classification allows each query to include only the instructions needed for the next stage. This targeted approach reduces errors compared to attempting the entire task in a single query.

Tactic 2: Summarize or Filter Previous Dialogue in Long Conversations

In long conversations, ChatGPT may have a character limit for recalling the initial details. To assist ChatGPT in such cases, if the conversation becomes extensive, provide a brief summary of the key points from previous messages. This ensures that ChatGPT has the necessary context to continue the conversation smoothly.

Tactic 3: Summarize Long Documents in Parts

ChatGPT has a character limit when summarizing text. To overcome this limitation, it’s advisable to break down lengthy texts into smaller parts and request summaries for each section separately. This allows ChatGPT to provide accurate and concise summaries for each segment of the text.

Learn more: Take a look at all OpenAI’s GPT Models from GPT-5 to GPT-1

4. Give ChatGPT Time to Reason

Just like you may need time to solve a problem, ChatGPT also benefits from taking the time to think before providing an answer. Instant responses may result in more errors. By encouraging ChatGPT to engage in a thoughtful process and provide a chain of reasoning, we can improve its ability to arrive at correct answers consistently.

Tactic 1: Guide ChatGPT to Reason from Basic Principles

Instead of directly asking ChatGPT if a solution is correct, we can instruct it to consider the underlying principles first. This approach can lead to improved outcomes, such as when evaluating a math solution.

Good Query Example: First, solve the problem yourself. Then compare your solution with the student's solution and evaluate its correctness. Do not judge the student's solution until you have completed the problem on your own.

Problem Statement: I need assistance with the financials for a solar power installation.

Land cost: $100 per square foot. Solar panel cost: $250 per square foot. Maintenance contract: $100,000 flat fee per year, plus $10 per square foot. Find the total cost for the first year of operations based on the number of square feet.

Student's Solution: Let x be the size of the installation in square feet. Land cost: 100x. Solar panel cost: 250x. Maintenance cost: 100,000 + 100x. Total cost: 450x + 100,000.

Tactic 2: Prompt ChatGPT to Identify Missed Points

While ChatGPT is a helpful tool for understanding long documents, it may sometimes miss important information while providing answers. Asking ChatGPT if it missed any crucial points after providing an answer can help identify any overlooked details.

5. Utilize External Tools Although

ChatGPT offers valuable capabilities, it can be beneficial to expand our productivity by leveraging external tools. These tools can be used to compare and enhance ChatGPT’s answers. For instance, Grammarly can be employed to check the grammar accuracy of ChatGPT’s responses, ensuring correctness. Additionally, third-party plugins specifically designed for ChatGPT can further enhance its capabilities and provide additional benefits.

Also read: ChatGPT Complete Guide Learn Everything You Need to Know

A Bonus Tip to Better Express Yourself to ChatGPT

I understand that sometimes it can be tedious and time-consuming to write detailed prompts or questions while using ChatGPT. However, there’s a great method you can use called voice typing in ChatGPT. It allows you to speak your prompts instead of typing them out, which can save you time and effort.

You can indeed use the voice typing feature in ChatGPT to prepare your prompts by speaking to the model instead of typing. This allows you to provide detailed information about the topic you want to discuss, including all the necessary details and specifics. By doing so, you can accurately express the problem or issue you want to address with ChatGPT without having to spend too much time on it. So go ahead and utilize the voice typing feature to save time while effectively communicating your thoughts to ChatGPT.

To accomplish this, all you need to do is use the “ChatGPT Voice Typing” Chrome extension. It enables you to utilize the voice typing feature in ChatGPT. Simply install the extension in your Chrome browser, and you’ll be able to speak your prompts and questions directly to ChatGPT