🤖🖌️ A brief tutorial on crafting AI prompts

There is an art to crafting your own AI prompts for note-taking. Here is a simple process to follow.

In this email we are going to focus on the thought process that goes into crafting fantastic AI prompts.

We'll focus less on the tools and more on the formatting and functionality that can be worked into a prompt to achieve a certain outcome. We'll start by covering different kinds of AI prompts that are useful in note-taking, and then go into how to structure one with an example.

Part 1: The different kinds of AI prompts

AI prompts will typically produce or enhance the writing, information or formatting of information in your notes.

Some examples:

  • Enhancing writing → “Make this more clear and concise” 

  • Information → “Find some good resources for this article” 

  • Formatting → “Extract the tasks from this audio transcription” 

That last one is worth highlighting. AI prompts are critical if you take a lot of voice notes (which you should).

Part 2: Structuring your AI prompt

You’ll want to break your prompt into 3 parts: context, guidelines and format.

  1. Context

    Tell the AI who it’s pretending to be and what it needs to do.

    “Pretend you are a world famous biologist writing a research paper.”

    “Pretend you are Paul Graham editing this article.”

    “Pretend you are an all-star executive assistant taking meetings for a high-level CEO.”

  2. guidelines

    List exactly what you need from the AI. These might specifically relate to the final output or be general recommendations.

    Some guidelines will be reused often. This is why the Super Summarizer Prompt in Reflect is a good one to copy and work off of. We’ve collected some of them in this spreadsheet tab.

  3. Format

    Give the AI prompt a template to use to format.

    Some tips:

    • Write out the template in a note first. Use parenthesis (with instructions like this) to indicate information that should be replaced.

    • Use markdown (or paste the format using cmd + shift + v)

    • You’ll have to run the prompt and iterate several times

Part 3: Iterating on your prompts

If you keep updating your AI prompts, they will age like fine wine.

What does that look like in practice? Whenever your result could have been better change your prompt slightly to run it again in the next phase.

It's also helpful to see what other people are doing with their AI prompts. People might be thinking of ways to structure prompts that you haven't thought of.

All of Reflect’s AI prompts are open sourced, meaning you can see them by clicking on the little arrow.

Opening prompts within Reflect

You can also see and steal a collection of custom prompts from this spreadsheet.

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