Prompt Engineering: the most important skill for 2030?

Update June 2023: OpenAI have now provided an extensive guide to Prompt Engineering. It’s worth a review. Prompt Engineering.

Today I’ve been on a zoom call with a group of senior business leaders from around the world. The number of times that chatGPT has been mentioned (by very senior business people) hit me. In my years of working in consulting, teaching in business schools and leading entrepreneurial companies I have never seen a new technology become so pervasive so quickly. This is not some passing phase. We need to figure out how to make better use of AI in our companies and our lives.

One of the most important skills of the next couple of years will be “prompt engineering”.

What is Prompt Engineering?

You can make poor requests of chatGPT and you can make better requests.

Prompt engineering is the process of carefully designing the input or “prompt” given to an AI model like ChatGPT. The way a question is phrased can greatly influence the quality and usefulness of the response.

In the case of OpenAI’s GPT-3 or GPT-4, prompt engineering involves crafting a clear and unambiguous query that the model can understand and respond to appropriately.

Prompt engineering has a few key aspects:

  1. Clarity and specificity: The prompt should be clear and specific so that the model understands what is being asked. For example, instead of asking “What’s the best book?”, which is vague, a better prompt would be “What are some highly recommended books on cognitive psychology for beginners?”
  2. Detailing the desired format: If you want the answer in a specific format, it can be helpful to specify this in the prompt. For instance, “In bullet points, list the main causes of World War II.”
  3. Role-playing or perspective-taking: Sometimes, it’s beneficial to instruct the model to take on a specific perspective or role. For example, you might tell it “Imagine you are an experienced chef. How would you explain the process of making a soufflé to a beginner?”
  4. Meta-prompts: These are prompts that instruct the model to think or reason in a certain way. For example, “Consider the pros and cons before settling on an answer.”

Prompt engineering requires a good understanding of the AI’s capabilities and limitations, and often involves quite a bit of trial and error to find the best way to phrase the prompt.

How can you get better at using chatGPT or AI LLMs in general?

Improving your ability to ask questions of an AI model like ChatGPT involves understanding the model’s capabilities and limitations, and refining your approach based on the feedback you receive. Here are some practical tips:

  1. Be clear and specific: Since the AI doesn’t have access to the context outside of your current conversation, the more detail you can provide, the better. For example, rather than asking, “What’s the best book?”, you might ask, “What are some highly recommended books on cognitive psychology for beginners?”
  2. Use appropriate structure: The way you phrase your question can affect the quality of the response. Ensure that your questions are properly structured with appropriate grammar and punctuation. This makes it easier for the AI to understand your intent.
  3. Understand its limitations: ChatGPT only has training data up to September 2021. It doesn’t have the ability to understand events, technologies, or concepts that emerged after that time.
  4. Try several similar attempts: The AI can interpret a question in different ways. If the answer isn’t what you expected, rephrase the question or ask it in a different way.
  5. Clarify your expectations: If you are looking for a certain type of answer (e.g., a brief summary, a detailed explanation, a list of steps, etc.), specify this in your question.
  6. Break down complex queries: If you have a complex question, break it down into several simpler questions. Asking these one at a time can lead to more accurate responses.
  7. Ask for sources or reasoning: If you want to know where the information is coming from, or if you want the AI to explain the reasoning behind its responses, ask for it. For example, you could ask, “Can you provide a source for that information?” or “Can you explain how you arrived at that conclusion?”
  8. Use follow-up questions: ChatGPT can handle a series of related queries. Once you’ve asked an initial question, consider asking follow-up questions to dig deeper into the topic.
  9. Explore different question types: Experiment with different types of questions (e.g., open-ended, closed-ended, hypothetical, reflective, etc.) to get a better sense of how the AI responds to each.

Remember, interacting with AI models like ChatGPT is a learning experience. You’ll likely get better with practice as you discover what types of questions yield the most useful responses for you.

Useful links:

The power of Open AI

I was flying home from Bilbao on friday night, and my flight was delayed for 5 hours. I spent some time playing with the latest iteration of Open AI, and the OpenAI Image generator.

Go and play with it now. It is important that you understand the power of the current generation of AI tools.

It is scary the power of the AI. It can write well, even poetry… it can generate images that surprised me with the nuances and details.

The State of AI in 2022 – Valuable Resources

OpenAI Demonstrations

Request: A miro painting of Paris with a mother and a daughter

Request: A matisse painting of Paris with a mother and daughter

Over to the text generator…

Write a blog post with 5 key insights about business leadership in 2023

The future of business leadership is an exciting and ever-evolving prospect. As technology and the global marketplace continue to evolve, the responsibilities and expectations of business leaders of the future will be greater than ever before.

Here are five key insights about business leadership in 2023:

1. Data-Driven Decision Making: Business leaders in 2023 will be expected to be able to effectively analyze and interpret data to inform their decision-making. This will require a deep understanding of data analytics and the ability to identify patterns and trends in order to make informed decisions.

2. Adaptability: The business landscape of 2023 will be constantly changing, requiring business leaders to be highly adaptable and able to pivot quickly in order to remain competitive. This will require an ability to think on their feet and make decisions quickly.

3. Inclusive Leadership: Business leaders of the future will need to be able to lead teams of diverse backgrounds and perspectives in order to foster innovation and collaboration. They will need to be able to foster a culture of inclusion and trust in order to maximize the potential of their teams.

4. Empathy and Authenticity: Business leaders of the future will need to be able to empathize with their employees and customers in order to better understand their needs and motivations. They will also need to be able to communicate authentically and transparently in order to build trust and loyalty.

5. tech-Savviness: Technology will play an increasingly important role in the success of any business in 2023. Business leaders of the future will need to be tech-savvy and understand the implications of emerging technologies and their potential to disrupt markets.

As the future of business leadership continues to evolve, those who can embrace and adapt to these changes will have the best chance of success. By gaining an understanding of the key insights about business leadership in 2023, business leaders can ensure that they are well-positioned to lead their organizations into the future.



How many essays for school and university are going to be automatically generated over the next few years… as students become more tech-savvy and teachers think they are still living in the same world as 20 years ago.

And the ChatGPT responses

Request: How do I explain Vistage to a six year old?

Vistage is a company that helps business leaders make better decisions and improve their companies. It does this by providing them with resources and support, such as access to expert speakers, peer support groups, and online tools and training. Essentially, Vistage helps business leaders learn and grow so that they can better run their businesses.

To explain this to a six year old, you could say something like this: “Vistage is like a special club for grown-ups who run their own companies. They learn from each other and from experts, and get help with making their businesses better. It’s kind of like how you might join a sports team or a club at school to learn new things and get support from your friends.”

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