AI expert: ChatGPT prompts you’ll wish you knew sooner

May 5, 2024, 5:00 AM

ChatGPT has changed my life — and yours, even if you don’t use it as much as I do. (Pexels File...

ChatGPT has changed my life — and yours, even if you don’t use it as much as I do. (Pexels File Photo)

(Pexels File Photo)

ChatGPT has changed my life — and yours, even if you don’t use it as much as I do.

You’ve probably noticed the new AI search bar in all the Meta apps, including Facebook and Instagram. It won’t be long before all your most-used apps and services integrate chatbots. (Yes, I’m sure the folks at Google are quaking in their search boots.)

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Don’t wait to get comfortable with AI. Try out a few of these prompts and flex your chatbot muscles. You’ll see just how easy they are to use.

To save you time

Recently, I uploaded a commercial building’s rent roll, profit and loss statement, and comps for the area. I asked ChatGPT to analyze the data and see if it’s a good investment.

Sure, I know how to do that math myself, but it would have taken 30 minutes. No joke, it took me longer to upload the documents than it did for ChatGPT to come up with the answers — about 30 seconds.

The best part is it laid out the calculations and reasonings, so I could analyze them myself and double-check its work. If you don’t get that with your answer, you can always ask something like, “How did you make that decision?” or “Tell me how you got that answer.”

To make a decision when you can’t

There’s a term for this: Decision fatigue. Sometimes, you’ve had to pick so many things in one week that you just can’t do it again. Try these:

  • “I’m having three friends over for dinner tomorrow. One is a vegetarian, and one is allergic to peanuts. What should I make for dinner?”
  • “My mother-in-law is asking for my help choosing a destination for a family vacation. Last year, we went to Rosemary Beach in Florida, and everyone complained the water was too warm. We live in Houston, and no one wants to fly more than five hours. Can you give me some options?”

To help you do something complex

Say you’re an HR manager and must create an employee guide from scratch. That’s a heck of a lot of work, and you’d likely end up heading to a search engine to see where to begin. A chatbot can do that, too, and even create an outline for you.

This bears emphasis: Do not use an LLM chatbot to create legal documents or anything that really needs a lawyer or other professional’s touch. But as a starting place? Absolutely.

To be an impartial third party

You’re arguing with a friend, your spouse, or a relative. Or maybe you’re in a contentious situation with someone professionally. Before you text or type an angry reply, consult someone without emotion attached to the situation: your chatbot of choice.

Here’s a prompt idea: “My roommate and I are arguing because she keeps leaving her dirty dishes in the sink for days, even though they’re attracting bugs. How can I respectfully make the point that I need her to stop this?”

To analyze information

This is an AI sweet spot. The technology excels at finding patterns and pointing them out. Here are a couple of examples to get started:

“Here’s a 20-page legal document. Summarize the main points for me.”

“These are customer reviews. Break them into percentages by negative, neutral and positive.” Like that, you have valuable data and don’t have to spend time parsing it yourself.

To help you find the right words

Say you’re hiring a contractor to build a nice new website for your small business. The problem is you don’t “speak” website and aren’t sure where to begin. AI to the rescue. Find some sites you like — the ones you see and think, “Wow, I want one like this!”

Put all those URLs into your favorite chatbot and ask it for a detailed description of their shared elements and overall design. This can help you communicate what you want much more eloquently.

To do the boring tasks for you

You’re going on vacation. Use your last bit of willpower to finish the work you need to. AI can write your out-of-office email. Remember, the more detail and direction you give, the better.

“Write an out-of-office email” will give you bland (or totally unusable) results. Try something like: “Write an out-of-office email letting my contacts know I’ll be back to work on Monday. I will have limited access to email and will respond by next Wednesday.”

You’ll get something more polished, professional and conversational than you would have whipped up on your own.

To brainstorm things to do

Let’s stick with the vacation example. Your big trip is in two weeks and you have no clue what to do with the kids in the city you’re visiting. Before you make the travel blog rounds, try a chatbot.

“I’m going on vacation to San Diego with my husband and 11-year-old twins. What are some fun, interesting things I can take everyone to do? I’d like a mix of free and affordable activities. My kids are picky eaters and really enjoy being outside.”

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AI expert: ChatGPT prompts you’ll wish you knew sooner