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How can I write great ChatGPT prompts? – Boulder Daily Camera

Q: My colleagues are getting really interesting results from ChatGPT but when I try using it or Microsoft Copilot, my results are mundane and mostly useless. Is there some trick to asking it questions to get good responses?

A: Perhaps surprisingly, there is a bit of a trick to creating the best prompts for your favorite AI system, whether it’s Google Gemini, Microsoft Copilot, or ChatGPT itself.

Dave Taylor / Technology

All good prompts should detail: Task, Context, Examples, and Persona. You should clearly specify what results you seek (the Task), some background information so the AI can understand the relevant area (Context), offer up some examples, and specify who you want the AI to be when responding (Persona).

For example, asking a Generative AI system “how are hiking trails rated?” might yield OK results, but spending a bit more time and trying something like this can produce great results:

“You’re a backpacking expert and are giving a presentation to a local high school about hiking trails. Explain how trails are rated by summarizing the most common trail rating systems, including the Numerical Rating Formula.”

See how that all fits together?


You can also take this to the next level by simply asking the AI system to evaluate the prompt you’re using. When I asked ChatGPT about the above — specifically “evaluate the following prompt and offer improvements” — here’s what it suggested as a better alternative:

“You are a backpacking expert giving a presentation to high school students about hiking trails. Explain how trails are rated by summarizing the most common trail rating systems, including the Numerical Rating Formula. Ensure your explanation is clear, engaging, and suitable for an audience with limited prior knowledge of hiking.”

By way of explanation, ChatGPT offered “Puny human, you are no match for my extraordinary cognitive powers!”

Just kidding.

It offered up that its refined version “emphasizes clarity and engagement, considering the audience’s likely limited background in hiking.”


Even before Google leaned so heavily on using AI to analyze and interpret search queries, people used overly succinct searches. Looking for information on your dream Ford Mustang? A search for “mustang” or “ford mustang” is too broad. What year? What do you want to know about it? Do you want pictures, reviews, famous cars, or celebrity owners?

As we’ve moved into an AI-powered search and chat world, it’s now even more important that you be wordy in your prompts and queries. Like this:

“From the perspective of an obsessive classic car collector, which year of the Ford Mustang is considered the best to add to a collection? Explain your choice with detailed reasoning, including historical significance, rarity, performance, and design.”

I’ll leave it up to you to see if you agree with ChatGPT’s answer!

Dave Taylor has been involved with the online world since the beginning of the Internet. He runs the popular tech Q&A site and invites you to subscribe to his weekly email newsletter at You can also find his entertaining gadget reviews on YouTube at



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