I was asked a question on LinkedIn about how to craft better prompts for ChatGPT.

There are A LOT of thread people on Twitter sharing nonsense tips. It’s hard to find the signal in the noise. But… I have learned a few things that have helped me.

Most people ask it a question, ask it to produce an answer, or ask it to compose content. That’s fine. But they miss the most important thing, The System.

What is the “System”?

The System is the part of the prompt that tells the robot what it is, what it’s goals are, how to think about its response, and how to phrase it.

It’s one part of the puzzle that becomes clear when you log into the OpenAI Playground.

The other part of a prompt is “The Message”. That’s what most people type right in and expect greatness. Most of the prompts people share are just the message part.

Without the setup of the “System”, a “Message” doesn’t provide the background or guardrails needed to influence the voice and tone, or areas of known knowledge to pull from. The system is also great place to provide specifics around the format of the type answers that you want.

Check out this library for some inspiration on system prompts to pair with your “message” requests and it’ll immediately level up your game. I’ll try to post more about this soon and include some examples.