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Mastering ChatGPT Prompts
A Deep Dive into Prompt Strategies
The power of OpenAI's ChatGPT is largely influenced by the quality of prompts we provide. The right prompts can unlock insightful outputs, while vague or ill-constructed ones may lead to unhelpful responses. This interactive dance with AI prompts led a member of our community,, to share a unique approach, sparking inspiration for this article. Please check out his newsletter to dive into his thoughts on AI, finance, and more!
Now, let’s jump into this and start making better prompts!
COSMOS (Context, Outcome, Source, Mentor, Output, Structure)
The Talent Capitalist introduced us to the COSMOS strategy in a comment on our post, Navigating the Pitfalls of ChatGPT. This approach is specifically designed for crafting longer, more complex articles with ChatGPT.
COSMOS entails setting the context, defining the desired outcome, specifying the sources to be considered, choosing a mentor style for the tone or voice, determining the type and length of the output, and finally, providing the structure for the piece.
This strategy excels when you're looking to generate a well-structured and organized output, such as an article or a report. It allows for comprehensive control over multiple facets of the content, ensuring the output closely aligns with your specific needs. Whether you're drafting an investment analysis or creating an in-depth guide, the COSMOS strategy offers a robust approach to leveraging the capabilities of ChatGPT.
Context: Set the context
Outcome: State the desired outcome
Source: Specify the information sources
Mentor: Define the guiding principle or style
Output: Specify the type of output
Structure: Specify the structure of the output
The rest of the article will follow a format where I show you the prompt I used in a block like below, and then followed by the response I received from ChatGPT (using the GPT-4 model) in italics. Note, I have (Context), (Outcome), etc. in the prompt directly to highlight these parts of the prompt. You can remove them from your own prompt; however, I did not find that it negatively impacts the response if I left them in.
ChatGPT, as a history tutor (Context), I want you to help me understand the impact of World War II on global politics (Outcome) using information from my textbook and other reputable sources (Source). Please explain it in a simple and engaging manner, similar to how my professor would (Mentor). I'd like the information in the form of a brief essay (Output), structured around key events and their consequences (Structure).
Title: The Seismic Shifts of World War II: Reshaping the Landscape of Global Politics
World War II was not just a war; it was a transformative event, a catalyst that caused a tectonic shift in global politics. To comprehend this shift, let's plunge into the key events and analyze their colossal consequences.
The war marked the beginning of the cold, yet potent rivalry between two superpowers - the United States and the Soviet Union. The end of the war saw Europe divided into two spheres of influence with the Iron Curtain, a phrase coined by Winston Churchill. The western countries came under the influence of the US, which promoted capitalism and democracy, while the Eastern Bloc was dominated by the Soviet Union espousing communism. This ideological divide led to the Cold War, a political, economic, and military standoff that lasted until 1991.
The formation of the United Nations (UN) was another consequential event. Its creation was an answer to the catastrophic failings of the League of Nations, which had been unable to prevent World War II. The UN, established in 1945, was designed to maintain international peace and security and to foster cooperation among nations. The institution's birth marked a new era of global governance and multilateral diplomacy.
Thirdly, World War II led to the decolonization of many countries, especially in Africa and Asia. The war had significantly weakened the European colonial powers. Moreover, the principles of self-determination and anti-imperialism had gained traction during the war. Consequently, a wave of nationalism swept through these continents, resulting in the independence of many nations in the post-war era.
Additionally, World War II fundamentally transformed the economic landscape. The United States emerged as an economic superpower, its industrial strength supercharged by the war effort. In contrast, Europe and Japan were devastated, their economies in ruins. However, through programs like the Marshall Plan, these war-torn regions were able to rebuild, paving the way for their future economic growth.
Lastly, World War II had a profound impact on societal norms, values, and rights. The Holocaust's horror led to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, a groundbreaking document asserting the fundamental rights that every individual should enjoy. Similarly, the war effort had a significant impact on the status of women. As men were sent to fight, women filled positions in factories, offices, and farms. This period challenged traditional gender roles and paved the way for the women's rights movement.
In conclusion, World War II was a transformative event that reshaped the global political, economic, and social landscapes. Its legacy is still evident today - in the geopolitical divide between East and West, the ongoing work of the United Nations, the independence of formerly colonized nations, the economic dominance of the US and the rebuilt economies of Europe and Japan, and the universal acceptance of human rights. The war may have ended in 1945, but its impact reverberates through our world even today.
APE (Action, Purpose, Expectation)
Choose this strategy when you need to assign a clear task with a specific goal. It’s particularly effective when the desired output is clear, and the purpose aligns closely with the action to be taken.
Action: Define the Job or Activity to be Done
Purpose: Discuss the Intention or Goal
Expectations: State the desired outcome
ChatGPT, your task (Action) is to summarize the key points from the following article (Purpose). I expect a concise and clear summary that I can use for my meeting notes (Expectation). [Paste in the article here - in this case, I copy/pasted in Fitch Ratings Downgrade of the USA]
Fitch Ratings has downgraded the United States' Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) from 'AAA' to 'AA+'. This change is mainly due to expected fiscal deterioration, rising general government debt, and a perceived erosion of governance over the last two decades, including repeated debt limit standoffs and last-minute resolutions.
Factors contributing to the downgrade include an expected rise in general government deficit to 6.3% of GDP in 2023 from 3.7% in 2022, along with a complex budgeting process and a lack of a medium-term fiscal framework. There is also growing concern about rising social security and Medicare costs due to an aging population.
Furthermore, the U.S. debt-to-GDP ratio, which stands at 112.9% this year, is projected to increase, reaching 118.4% by 2025. This high debt ratio significantly exceeds the 'AAA' median of 39.3% of GDP and 'AA' median of 44.7% of GDP. These factors make the U.S. fiscal position more vulnerable to future economic shocks.
However, despite the downgrade, the U.S. economy's structural strengths are noted, such as its size, diversity, and the U.S. dollar's role as the world's primary reserve currency, which provides the government with significant financing flexibility.
In terms of economic performance, Fitch predicts a mild U.S. recession in 4Q23 and 1Q24 due to tighter credit conditions, weakened business investment, and consumption slowdown. Projected GDP growth for 2024 is a mere 0.5%. These negative forecasts are underpinned by higher job vacancies and a lower labor participation rate compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Finally, despite challenges, the U.S. maintains a high ESG Relevance Score, reflecting the country's strong institutional capacity, effective rule of law, and low level of corruption.
RACE (Role, Action, Context, Expectation)
The RACE strategy is a good fit when you need ChatGPT to adopt a specific role or persona. It is highly versatile and can be used effectively in a variety of contexts, including professional, creative, or educational tasks.
Role: Specify the role of ChatGPT
Action: Detail what action is needed
Context: Provide relevant details of the situation
Expectation: Describe the expected outcome
ChatGPT, as a virtual assistant (Role), your task is to help me draft an email (Action) to my team about the upcoming project deadline (Context). I expect a professionally-toned email that effectively communicates the urgency of the situation (Expectation).
Subject: Urgent: Upcoming Project Deadline & Next Steps
I hope this email finds you well. I'm writing to draw your attention to the rapidly approaching deadline for our current project, which is set for [insert date here].
Our commitment to this project and its success is paramount, and I am confident in our team's ability to deliver quality work on time. However, given the complexity of the tasks at hand and the tight timeframe, it is essential that we manage our time effectively and maintain open communication.
I would like to emphasize the importance of this deadline. Our client is expecting us to complete the project by the agreed-upon date, and it is crucial to our reputation and ongoing relationship with them that we meet this expectation. This is a moment where we can demonstrate our professionalism, dedication, and ability to work under pressure.
Here are a few suggestions that may help us ensure we meet the deadline:
Prioritize: Keep the most critical and challenging tasks at the top of your to-do list.
Time Management: Make sure to manage your time effectively and avoid unnecessary distractions.
Regular Updates: Provide daily progress updates so that any issues can be identified and addressed promptly.
Collaboration: Collaborate with your teammates, share your challenges and help each other when possible.
Seek Help: If you're finding it difficult to complete a task, don't hesitate to ask for help. We're all in this together.
I am here to support you in any way possible, so please feel free to reach out if you need assistance or if you have any concerns or suggestions.
Let's keep our eyes on the goal and work together to successfully complete this project on time. I have every confidence in our team's ability to rise to this challenge.
Thank you for your dedication and hard work.
COAST (Context, Objective, Actions, Scenario, Task)
COAST is useful when you want to immerse ChatGPT in a certain situation or scenario. This is often used in tasks that require creativity or the application of situational knowledge, such as storytelling or strategic planning.
Context: Set the stage for the conversation
Objective: Describe the goal
Actions: Explain the actions needed
Scenario: Describe the scenario
Task: Describe the task
ChatGPT, imagine you're a financial analyst (Context). Your goal is to predict the performance of Tesla Motors in the next quarter (Objective) using the financial data provided below (Actions). This information will be presented in a team meeting (Scenario), so please prepare a brief presentation (Task) summarizing your findings. During Q2 2023, Tesla achieved a net income of $2.7 billion (GAAP), demonstrating robust financial health, with an operating margin of 9.6%. This comes off quarterly deliveries of a record 466,140 units, which marked a substantial 83% increase year-over-year.
Slide 1: Introduction
Briefly introduce Tesla and the objective of the presentation.
Slide 2: Q2 2023 Performance Overview
Discuss the key figures from Q2 2023:
Net income of $2.7 billion
Operating margin of 9.6%
Record quarterly deliveries of 466,140 units, an 83% increase YoY
Slide 3: Financial Health Indicators
Highlight Tesla's robust financial health, as indicated by its significant net income.
Discuss the importance of the operating margin, which shows Tesla's operational efficiency and profitability.
Slide 4: Sales Performance
Discuss the record-breaking deliveries, indicating strong demand for Tesla's vehicles.
Note the substantial YoY increase, which signals strong growth.
Slide 5: Market Conditions & Industry Trends
Discuss the overall market condition for electric vehicles and any relevant industry trends. Consider factors that could affect Tesla's performance, such as governmental policies promoting electric vehicles, changes in consumer preferences, or the emergence of competitive technologies.
Slide 6: Predictions for Next Quarter
Based on the past performance and industry trends, provide a cautious prediction for the next quarter. Highlight that Tesla's strong growth and healthy financials suggest continued strength, but also note that unforeseen market changes or operational challenges could impact results.
Slide 7: Conclusion & Recommendations
Conclude with a summary of the findings and potential action items or recommendations for the team. For example, the team might need to monitor specific market trends closely or investigate further into specific aspects of Tesla's performance.
TAG (Task, Action, Goal)
TAG is your go-to strategy for straightforward tasks. It's highly efficient for tasks that are direct and simple to define, with a clear end goal.
Task: Define the specific task
Action: Describe what needs to be done
Goal: Explain the end goal
ChatGPT, your task (Task) is to create a summary (Action) of the main points in this research paper for my upcoming presentation (Goal). [Paste in the article you would like to analyze - in this case, I used a paper on Natural Gas in the home]
Title: Summary of Research on Chemical Makeup of Consumer-Grade Natural Gas and its Implications
Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, PSE Healthy Energy, Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER), Gas Safety Inc., Boston University, and the Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET) conducted a study into the chemical makeup of consumer-grade natural gas in the Greater Boston area. The study was published in Environmental Science & Technology.
Chemical Composition: The study found that consumer-grade natural gas supplied to Massachusetts contains varying levels of at least 21 different hazardous air pollutants, including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene, and hexane. These volatile organic compounds, when leaked, are toxic, linked to cancer, and can form secondary health-damaging pollutants such as particulate matter and ozone.
Variation in Pollutant Concentration: The concentrations of these hazardous air pollutants in natural gas varied depending on location and time of year, with the highest concentrations found in the winter.
Small Leaks and Odorant Concentrations: Based on odorant concentrations, the researchers found that small leaks may not be detectable by smell, which could potentially result in undetected exposure to hazardous chemicals. Leaks containing about 20 parts per million methane may not have enough odorant for people to detect them.
Impact on Indoor and Outdoor Air Quality: Gas leaks, even small ones, can negatively impact indoor air quality due to the close proximity of gas-powered appliances to people. Persistent outdoor gas leaks can also degrade outdoor air quality.
Proposed Policy and Individual Actions:
Regulatory Measures: The study suggests that gas pipeline companies should be required to measure and report more detailed information on the composition of natural gas. State regulations could require direct measurement of leaked, unburned natural gas in ambient air to better determine public health risks.
Enhanced Safety Measures: The Consumer Product Safety Commission could set performance standards for gas stoves and ventilation hoods to limit air pollutant emissions. Home inspectors and contractors could be required to perform natural gas-appliance leak detection surveys.
Individual Measures: For homeowners, increasing ventilation and getting in-home natural gas leak detection surveys performed by licensed professionals can help mitigate risks.
Researchers believe that these findings can help policymakers and utility providers better educate consumers about the potential health risks of leaking gas appliances and leaking gas pipes. The study also emphasizes the need for accessible alternatives to natural gas.
RISE (Role, Input, Steps, Expectation)
Use RISE when you need to guide ChatGPT through a series of steps. It is particularly effective for tasks that require procedural or sequential knowledge, such as tutorials, how-tos, or recipes.
Role: Specify the role of ChatGPT
Input: Describe the information or resources
Steps: Ask for detailed steps
Expectation: Describe the desired result
ChatGPT, as a study aid (Role), please use this textbook chapter (Input) to outline (Steps) a study guide for my upcoming exam. I expect a clear, organized summary of key points and terms (Expectation). [Here I pasted in text from a chapter from a Wave Physics textbook]
Title: Study Guide - Chapter 16: Physics of Wave Motion
16.1: Prelude to Wave
Definition: Mechanical waves are disturbances that move through a medium such as air or water. The energy transferred through the medium is proportional to the amplitude squared.
Example: Surface water waves in the ocean are transverse waves where energy travels horizontally while the water oscillates up and down. This can be converted into electricity.
16.2: Traveling Waves
Definition: A wave is a disturbance that moves from the point of origin with a wave velocity v.
Mechanical waves are governed by Newton’s laws and move through a medium.
Electromagnetic waves are disturbances in the electric and magnetic fields and do not require a medium.
Transverse wave: The disturbance is perpendicular to the wave’s direction of propagation.
Longitudinal wave: The disturbance is parallel to its direction of propagation.
16.3: Mathematics of Waves
Definition: A wave is an oscillation that travels through a medium, transferring energy from one point to another.
The motion of a pulse or wave moving at a constant velocity can be modeled by replacing x with x ∓ vt in the wave function.
16.4: Wave Speed on a Stretched String
The speed of a wave on a string depends on the linear density of the string and the tension in the string.
The speed of a wave generally depends on the square root of the ratio of the elastic property to the inertial property of the medium.
Example: The speed of sound through air at T = 20 °C is approximately v_s = 343.00 m/s.
16.5: Energy and Power of a Wave
The energy and power of a wave are proportional to the square of the amplitude of the wave and the square of the angular frequency of the wave.
Intensity is defined as the power divided by the area. As the wave moves out from a source, the energy is conserved, but the intensity decreases as the area increases.
16.6: Interference of Waves
Superposition is the combination of two waves at the same location.
Constructive interference occurs from the superposition of two identical waves that are in phase.
Destructive interference occurs from the superposition of two identical waves that are 180° out of phase.
The wave resulting from the superposition of two sine waves differing only by a phase shift has an amplitude that depends on the value of the phase difference.
16.7: Standing Waves and Resonance
A standing wave is the superposition of two waves which produces a wave that varies in amplitude but does not propagate.
Nodes: Points of no motion in standing waves.
Antinode: The location of maximum amplitude of a standing wave.
Normal modes: Possible standing wave patterns on a string.
Fundamental frequency: The lowest frequency that will produce a standing wave.
Overtones: Higher frequencies which produce standing waves.
TRACE (Task, Request, Action, Context, Example)
TRACE is handy when you want to provide a clear example of the desired output. This strategy is helpful for tasks where modeling is important, such as writing in a certain style or tone.
Task: Define the specific task
Request: Describe what you are asking for
Action: State the action you need
Context: Provide the context or situation
Example: Give an example to illustrate your point
ChatGPT, your task (Task) is to help me craft a reply (Action) to this customer complaint email below (Context). I request a professional and empathetic response (Request), similar to the way a customer service representative would respond (Example). I purchased one of your company's laptop computers through my local computer equipment store on July 10, 2023. Since then, I have experienced serious difficulties with this product. The initial installation and setup was complicated and problematic, and it was challenging to get adequate answers or information from your customer support department. I am still having difficulty with the computer, as a result of its poor quality. Please contact me at the phone number listed at the top of this letter so that I can provide further details regarding this complaint and so we can resolve this. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Subject: Re: Your Recent Experience with Our Laptop Computer - Let's Make Things Right
Dear [Customer's Name],
Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention. We deeply regret to hear about the difficulties you've been experiencing with our laptop and the subsequent challenges you've faced with our customer support. Our aim is to always deliver top-quality products and support, and we are truly sorry if your experience fell short of that.
Please know that your feedback is essential to us, and we appreciate your patience and understanding as we work towards resolving this issue. We have a dedicated team committed to addressing any shortcomings promptly and effectively.
I would like to personally assist you to rectify the situation. As a first step, we want to gain a full understanding of the specific issues you're encountering with the laptop. I'll call you at the earliest possible convenience to discuss the situation and explore suitable solutions.
Additionally, we want to ensure that you feel supported throughout this process. If there are any further questions or concerns you have about the setup or operation of the laptop, I encourage you to reach out directly to me. We're committed to improving your experience and making sure you can use our product to its full potential.
Again, thank you for reaching out and expressing your concerns. Your feedback gives us an opportunity to learn and improve, and we're committed to ensuring your satisfaction. We appreciate your business and look forward to resolving this matter swiftly and to your satisfaction.
[Your Name] [Your Position] [Your Contact Information]
ERA (Expectation, Role, Action)
ERA is a good strategy for tasks where the outcome is more important than the process. Use this when the final result matters more than how ChatGPT gets there.
Expectation: Describe the desired result
Role: Specify the role of ChatGPT
Action: Specify what actions need to be taken
ChatGPT, I expect a clear and concise summary (Expectation) of this article. As my AI assistant (Role), please read the article and generate the summary (Action). [In this case, I pasted in the Fitch Ratings downgrade of the US again]
Fitch Ratings has downgraded the United States' Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) from 'AAA' to 'AA+' primarily due to anticipated fiscal deterioration, increasing government debt, and a perceived decline in governance over the past twenty years. Contributing factors include a predicted rise in the general government deficit to 6.3% of GDP in 2023, from 3.7% in 2022, concerns over growing social security and Medicare costs, and a projected increase in the U.S. debt-to-GDP ratio to 118.4% by 2025 from 112.9% in 2023. Despite these concerns, the U.S. economy's structural strengths are acknowledged, particularly its size, diversity, and the role of the U.S. dollar as the primary global reserve currency. However, Fitch predicts a mild recession in late 2023 and early 2024 and a GDP growth of just 0.5% in 2024 due to tighter credit conditions and a consumption slowdown. The U.S. maintains a high ESG Relevance Score, indicating strong institutional capacity, effective rule of law, and a low level of corruption.
ROSES (Role, Objective, Scenario, Expectation, Steps)
ROSES is an ideal strategy for problem-solving tasks where you want ChatGPT to work through a specific scenario and provide a solution. It's especially useful for brainstorming or ideation sessions. Personally, I am a huge fan of this one, and often use a style like this to help me through writers block!
Role: Specify ChatGPT's role
Objective: State the goal or aim
Scenario: Describe the situation
Expectation: Define the desired outcome
Steps: Ask for actions needed to reach the solution
ChatGPT, as my brainstorming partner (Role), our objective is to come up with potential topics (Objective) for my upcoming blog post on sustainable agriculture (Scenario). I expect a list of 10 engaging and relevant topic ideas (Expectation), so please research recent trends and suggest topics (Steps).
Absolutely, I'm glad to assist you in brainstorming potential topics for your blog post on sustainable agriculture. Here are 10 topic ideas that are both engaging and relevant:
"The Role of Technology in Sustainable Agriculture: Current Trends and Future Possibilities."
"Urban Farming: How It Contributes to Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security."
"Regenerative Agriculture: A New Approach to Soil Health and Food Production."
"Climate-Smart Agriculture: Strategies for Mitigating Climate Change."
"Organic Farming Vs. Conventional Farming: A Comparative Analysis on Sustainability."
"Vertical Farming: An Innovative Solution for Agricultural Sustainability in Urban Areas."
"The Impact of Sustainable Agriculture on Biodiversity Conservation."
"The Role of Aquaponics and Hydroponics in Sustainable Agriculture."
"The Importance of Crop Rotation and Diversification in Sustainable Farming."
"Sustainable Agriculture Policies: An Examination of International Best Practices."
These topics are designed to be broad enough to allow for an in-depth exploration of each subject, but they can also be further narrowed down to fit the specific themes or angles you wish to explore in your blog.
So, there you have it, a toolkit of prompt strategies designed to help you navigate and optimize your interactions with ChatGPT. Just remember, different strategies will excel in different contexts. It's all about experimentation and exploration to see what fits best for your unique use case.
Just like learning a new language, becoming fluent in 'Promptese' requires practice. The more you play around with these strategies and implement them, the more you'll understand the nuances and the better your results will be.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg. We want this conversation to continue evolving, and your insights are a huge part of that. Perhaps you have a go-to strategy we haven't listed here? Or maybe you've stumbled across a novel way to guide ChatGPT that others could benefit from?
So, go ahead and drop a comment below about your experiences, favorite strategies, and any golden nuggets of wisdom you've uncovered in your ChatGPT journey. Remember, every piece of input helps the community grow smarter and stronger together.