I see people get stuck on this all the time. They try a prompt once or twice, don’t see the results that they wanted, then give up and say that this didn’t work.
But the thing is, sometimes all you need is just one right word to unlock the AI’s ability and get the results you were looking for.
Today I’ll show you how to overcome these situations.
Why trying out different prompts is so important
How to find the right words to unlock the AI’s ability
Two examples of this in action
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🤖 How to find the right words for your prompts
Imagine you’re lining up domino pieces.
Now you tap the first piece and the dominoes start falling, but suddenly they stop halfway.
Well you probably lined them up in the wrong way and all you need to do is modify that one domino piece to give you the cascading effect you're looking for.
It’s the same with your prompts.
Sometimes all that’s missing is the right word in your prompt to give you that cascading effect leading to the results you were looking for.
So, when you're trying out your prompts, don't give up after the first attempt. Keep trying different approaches.
There are surprisingly many different ways to express the same idea. And prompt engineering is often just about playing around with language to find the right way to say something.
One trick I use to help me with this process is asking ChatGPT for synonyms of words.
This allows me to add some variety into my prompt and insert words that express my message in a better way.
Another way to do that is to just ask ChatGPT to rephrase an entire sentence:
You see that the same message - to sound less boring - can be expressed in many different ways. And each of these used in your prompts will deliver a different output from your AI.
Ok, now let’s put this into action.
🧠 Example 1: Brainstorming prompt
Now let’s try out this concept with a simple brainstorming prompt.
Let’s say I’m bored and I need some inspiration to find something to do. Here’s my initial ChatGPT prompt:
I'm bored. Think of some things I can do.
ChatGPT gives me some pretty standard responses. They don’t impress me much yet, I could have thought of those myself.
Now, I’ll add the word “unique” into that prompt. ChatGPT now gives me an entire new set of ideas that are very different from the original.
These ideas sound a lot more exciting.
But let’s take it one step further. Not only will we say “unique” things to do, but “things so unique, nobody would ever suggest them”.
(You can find all prompt variations I used in here.)
You can see how the use of the right words in our prompt, made a drastic change in the results we got.
💡 Example 2: Writing prompt
This can be applied to writing too. Let’s say I want to write a letter of complaint to my pet. Here’s my initial prompt:
Draft a letter of complaint to your pet about their behavior.
ChatGPT first gives us a very formal letter:
But I was actually aiming for a more casual letter, so I’ll just add the word “casual” into my prompt first.
The letter got a lot more casual, but it still feels slightly formal. So we can go a step further by changing a few more words around.
(You’ll find all prompts and my full conversation in here.)
Again, changing the right words in this prompt unlocked the AI to produce completely different outputs, which were more aligned to what I was looking for.
Thanks for reading!
I took this picture this week in a shopping mall in Serbia. Every time I enter a shopping mall I feel strangely at ease. I think it’s because as kids growing up in Singapore we would spend most of our time hanging out in shopping malls (I feel the same way at airports and in hotel rooms btw). Anyone else that can relate to this?
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