ChatGPT is hitting big numbers. Launched by OpenAI on 30th November 2022, as of April 2023 it had 173 million active users (source) and was trained on 300 billion words, including crawled websites and books written by other people. In April 2023 there were 1.8 billion visits, including 15.22% of Americans, with users spending an average of 8 minutes and 32 seconds on the site.
While entrepreneurs are using ChatGPT -3, -3.5 and -4 to do everything from rewrite their emails to generate ideas for blog posts and act as a business coach, many are using ineffective prompting to do so. It makes sense why they would. Prompt engineer is a highly skilled role. We didn’t learn it in school. We need to learn it now.
Here are eight prompting techniques that entrepreneurs should learn:
How to prompt ChatGPT more effectively
1. Ask open-ended questions
Using ChatGPT to ask open-ended questions encourages detailed and thoughtful responses, allowing for exploration of ideas and perspectives. Like a mind-mapping partner in a meeting, see what comes out and make an assessment. Choose what you discard or explore further. Think of every challenge you’re facing right now and give ChatGPT (or “Chad”) a whirl. Ask it about your hiring issue or your weekend worries, your capacity problems or your recruitment conundrum.
Prompt with an open-ended question and give all the context, for example: “What are some ways I can better market my product [explain your product], to appeal to an audience of [explain your audience]?”
2. Provide context and constraints
ChatGPT can handle large amounts of information, so give it every piece of context that will let it do its job. Like an intern with a giant notebook, except everything is remembered and used to craft a suitable response. If you ask generic questions you will receive generic responses. Instead, tailor the questions by providing context and constraints.
Giving context and constraints might look like this: “I’m running a [explain what type of company you run and who it serves] and have a marketing budget of [give an approximate amount per month you want to spend on marketing]. How can I maximize my advertising efforts to reach my specific target audience of [describe target audience]?”
3. Seek specific advice or recommendations
If you’re using internet-enabled ChatGPT, you can ask questions that involve an internet search. This enables you to gather information beyond simple text. Try this out when seeking specific advice or answers, ones that a former version of ChatGPT wouldn’t have been able to give. You can ask for platform or product recommendations. You can tell it about the problem you’re trying to solve and get it to search the web to find you solutions.
Here’s an example prompt to edit accordingly: “Which [type of platform you’re looking for] platform would you recommend for a [type of business you are] selling [the product or service that you sell], considering [the factors you’re looking to optimize for]?”
4. Ask for pros and cons
Weighing up options can be tough if you’re doing it alone. Asking other people might come with biases that you don’t want to deal with. Requesting that ChatGPT lay out an argument might help you think more clearly and decide the best route forward. When you’re figuring out what to do, prompt your large language model friend for its reasoned opinion.
Here are the words to type right in: “What are the advantages and disadvantages of [explain the decision you’re thinking of taking] for my [type of company you run], compared to [alternative route you could take]?”
5. Request a step-by-step plan
Breaking large tasks into smaller chunks is often the way to get things done. Tackling humongous projects isn’t easy. If you’re faced with one of those, enlist ChatGPT’s assistance in those smaller steps. Ask it for the action plan you need, to feel better about your list and make sure everything is covered. It might think of things you hadn’t considered.
Here’s the prompt for turning mammoth tasks into easy ones: “Can you outline the essential steps to successfully [explain the project you’re looking to complete] for [describe your type of business], including [include the specifics you want. For example, pre-launch activities and post-campaign follow-ups]?”
6. Seek insights from data
Analysts look at the data, run the numbers and make recommendations based on your goals. But you can do a lot with just the numbers. Ask ChatGPT to find trends in your data and use them to decide your next steps. Ask it to suggest your route ahead and ignore or further its suggestion. Or simply empower your analyst to do better work in less time. Either way, prompting for data insights is a sterling use of ChatGPT.
Connect your Google Analytics with ChatGPT or copy and paste your own data, then use this prompt to connect the dots: “Based on [the data you entered, for example my website analytics], which [decision you’re making for example, marketing channels, services or products to focus on] to generate more [outcome you want, for example qualified leads] for my [type of company]?”
7. Solicit creative ideas
When you wake up feeling tired and unmotivated for the day ahead, use ChatGPT to bring the inspiration firmly back. Open up the chat and ask for creative ideas. Specify what they are for, and see what comes out. Prompt with further direction to make them more wild and wacky, tone them down, or find out how they could be delivered in practice.
Edit this prompt to copy and paste in: “I’m looking for innovative ways to [outcome you want to achieve, for example enhance customer engagement] for my [type of business you have]. How can I leverage [areas you want ideas about, for example technology or gamification] to make [outcome you want to achieve for your target audience]?”
8. Request a comparison between different options:
If you can’t choose a way forward you could toss a coin. You could leave the fate of your business in the hands of the Magic 8 Ball gods. Or, you could ask ChatGPT. More complex than a simple yes or no, it will give you a comprehensive comparison between your two options and may throw curveballs into the mix. Once you have the information, you’ll be better equipped to make your choice.
Here’s a simple prompt for deciding between two scenarios: “Could you provide a comparison between [the first option you’re considering] and [the second outcome you’re considering] for a [describe what type of business you are]? The outcome I want to achieve is [describe the outcome you want to achieve from this decision].”
Prompting ChatGPT in better ways: 8 methods to try
If you’re vague and unsure, ChatGPT will be too, so bring your most assertive self to your conversations. These prompts will guide ChatGPT effectively by providing clear objectives, constraints, and contexts relevant to an entrepreneur seeking assistance with their business. The accuracy and competency of the answers will increase with your direction and specificity. Prompt ChatGPT to the best of your ability to stand maximum chance of it benefitting your business.