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What is a prompt? How to efficiently talk to AI tools

Robert Brandl

By Robert

chat gpt

Artificial intelligence (AI) is hot right now.

Tools like Chat GPT, Jasper, Writesonic and Mem.ai all promise to help you with many different tasks such as copywriting, answering questions, generating text, summarizing information, and providing helpful tips or advice.

But have you ever asked a question to a chatbot and didn’t get the answer you were looking for? One of the main reasons for these misunderstandings is the wrong use of prompts. In this article, we will define what a prompt is, understand different types of prompts, and learn how to efficiently communicate with AI tools.

What is a prompt?

A prompt is a message or question that is used to initiate a conversation or a task with a computer program such as Chat GPT. The prompt is the initial input given to the program to generate a response which could be in the form of text, speech or any other form of output.

An example for a prompt that will generate a text response would be:
Please give me 5 headline ideas for an article that talks about ‘marketing strategies for furniture ecommerce stores’. They should contain an element of surprise.

The “please” is optional, but hey, what not be friendly to your computer companion?

The different types of prompts

There are three main types of prompts: command prompts, question prompts, and text entry prompts.

Command prompts are used to give instructions to a computer program. For example, when you open a command prompt on your computer, it will display a message that says “Enter a command” or “Type a command.” This is an example of a command prompt.

Question prompts are used to ask a question and get a response from the user. For example, when you ask Siri or Alexa a question, the device will respond with a question prompt such as “What can I help you with?”

Text entry prompts are used to ask the user to enter some text or information. For example, when you are filling out a form online, you may be prompted to enter your name, email address, and phone number.

Prompts are used in many AI tools such as chatbots, virtual assistants (like Siri and Alexa), and speech recognition software. Chatbots are computer programs that can simulate conversation with human users. They use prompts to guide the conversation and understand the user’s intent.

Virtual assistants are voice-controlled AI tools that can perform tasks for the user. They use prompts to understand the user’s commands and carry out the requested task. Speech recognition software is used to convert spoken words into text. It uses prompts to understand the user’s speech and carry out the requested task.

Efficiently communicating with AI tools

To get the most out of AI tools, it is important to communicate efficiently with them. Here are some best practices to follow when using prompts:

Be clear and concise: Use simple and direct language when giving commands or asking questions. Avoid using jargon or complex language that the AI tool may not understand.

Use specific keywords: AI tools rely on specific keywords to understand the user’s intent. Use specific keywords that are relevant to the task you are trying to accomplish.

Avoid ambiguity: Avoid using language that is open to interpretation. Be clear and specific in your commands or questions to avoid confusion.

It’s also important to avoid common mistakes when communicating with AI tools. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Avoid using colloquial language: AI tools may not understand slang or colloquial language. Stick to using formal language when communicating with them.
  • Avoid giving multiple commands at once: AI tools may have trouble understanding multiple commands given at the same time. Give one command at a time to ensure that it is understood.
  • Avoid being overly vague: Be specific and clear in your commands or questions to avoid confusion.

Coming back to our previous example about the headlines. Here’s what Chat GPT generated:

chat gpt headline prompt

A less clear version of this prompt would be:
Give me headline ideas for an article that talks about ecommerce

chat gpt ecommerce article ideas

While the output is not necessarily bad, you’ll only get very generic ideas from this.

If you haven’t read it yet, we also have an article with helpful tips how Chat GPT can help you create your website.


Understanding prompts is crucial when working with AI tools. If you are aware of the different types of prompts and communicate them efficiently, you’ll have an advantage over other users. Remember to be clear and concise, use specific keywords, and avoid ambiguity when giving commands or asking questions. By following these tips, you can improve your interactions with AI tools and achieve better results.

Let me know if you have any questions or feedback!


Robert Brandl

Founder and CEO

Hi, my name is Robert Brandl, and I am the founder of Tooltester. I used to work in a digital marketing agency where I managed website and email marketing projects. To optimize my client's campaigns, I always had to find the optimal web tools. Tooltester (founded in 2010) opens this knowledge to you, hopefully saving you endless hours of research. If you have any questions, please leave a comment. You can also find me on LinkedIn.

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