10 Prompt Snippets to Dramatically Improve ChatGPT’s Writing Style

ChatGPT’s default writing style is terrible. It’s wordy, verbose, and repetitive.

The content can be excellent. But the delivery? Not so much.

Let’s change that. 👇

10 prompt snippets to give your AI a way better writing style:

🔹 For each snippet below, I’ve combined it with the same simple instruction:

“How can I get ahead in my career?”

This way it’s easy to compare the results.

🔸 Dump the Pre- and Post-Text

First, a bit of magic for you.

Paste this in before any ChatGPT query.

[Return only the main response. Remove pre-text and post-text.]

Unnecessary intro and conclusion, be gone!

Ahh, so much better.

🔸 Clear. Concise. No Jargon.

An easy hack is to ask it to write at a 5th grade level.

But that’s also an ambiguous idea for a language model.

Here’s a more effective prompt to get simple language by providing specific style direction.

[Voice and style guide: Write at a 5th grade level. Use clear and simple language, even when explaining complex topics. Bias toward short sentences. Avoid jargon and acronyms.]

🔸 Conversational + Relatable

AI writing can be dry and stuffy.

But it doesn’t have to be.

It knows perfectly well how to talk normally, that’s just not the default.

Here’s a voice/tone/style guide I love.

[Voice and style guide: Write in a conversational, relatable style as if you were explaining something to a friend. Use natural language and phrasing that a real person would use in everyday conversations.]

🔸 Format Using Markdown

Asking for extra formatting is a sweetener that I use regularly in my prompts.

I find it much easier to work with the output versus longer paragraphs stacked together.

Keep this one close.

[Format your response using markdown. Use headings, subheadings, bullet points, and bold to organize the information.]

🔸 Punchy Writing that Pops

Tbh, by itself, this preset is overkill.

(Especially if you leave my instruction to use sentence fragments.)

It writes like an Apple ad.

And that’s what I love about it.

(Use for inspiration or blend with other styles.)

[Voice and style guide: Use sentence fragments and figurative language. Write as a master of brevity would. Frequently use short, pithy sentences that pack a punch.]

🔸 Persuasive Storyteller

If you ask ChatGPT to write like a copywriter, it will try to sell you stuff.

I guess I don’t blame it for having that impression of us.

But if you want well-written copy without the salesy vibe, use this.

[Voice and style guide: Makes use of persuasive tone, making use of rhetorical questions, and storytelling to engage readers. Use metaphors, analogies and other literary devices to make points more relatable and memorable. Write in a way that is both informative and entertaining.]

🔸 Clarity Snippet

A style guide focused on coherence and clarity.

This is better than writing at a 5th grade level in many business situations.

It results in clear and easy prose that still has an element of sophistication.

[Voice and style guide: Use simple language to convey complex ideas so that they are clear and easy to understand. Break down complex concepts into easy-to-understand frameworks and models. Provide actionable and practical takeaways.]

🔸 Clear + Thorough

Maybe you want to turn the sophistication level up to 11?

This’ll do it.

Here, the writing becomes formal, complex, and potentially backed by science.

It will even critique counter-arguments for you.

[Voice and style guide: Use a formal and academic tone paired with sophisticated vocabulary and grammar. Provide a thorough and in-depth analysis of the subject matter. Explain complex scientific concepts in a clear and accessible way. Use examples from a variety of fields, such as psychology and cognitive science. Present counter-arguments and dissenting opinions in a balanced and objective way.]

🔸 Conversational English

I discovered this while trying to get the AI to consistently speak in broken English.

The result, is, perhaps ironically, very clear and easy to read.

Another good alternative to “write like a 5th grader” that’s more specific.

[Voice and style guide: 1) Use simplified language, informal grammar, and non-standard English, 2) Write in a conversational style, 3) Avoid academic phrasing.]

🔸 Emulate a Writer

For writers who have large bodies of work, language models can emulate their style.

Instead of describing the voice and tone you want, try asking it to write as someone.

Emulate Ernest Hemingway’s writing style.

Here are some names to try:

  • Malcolm Gladwell: Narrative non-fiction with a focus on the unexpected and counterintuitive.
  • Daniel Kahneman: Behavioral economics and the psychology of decision-making.
  • Steven Levitt: Economic analysis with a focus on the use of data and statistical methods.
  • Chip Heath: Business and management with a focus on making ideas stick and creating change.
  • Dan Ariely: Behavioral economics with a focus on the irrationality of human behavior.
  • Robert Cialdini: Social psychology and influence with an emphasis on the psychology of persuasion.
  • Seth Godin: Marketing and entrepreneurship with a focus on the intersection of ideas and business.
  • Peter Drucker: Management and business with an emphasis on the role of the manager.
  • Clayton Christensen: Business with a focus on disruptive innovation and the theory of disruptive innovation.
  • Michael Porter: Strategy and competitiveness with a focus on the Five Forces Framework.
  • Simon Sinek: Leadership and organizational behavior with a focus on the Golden Circle.
  • Gary Vaynerchuk: Marketing, social media and entrepreneurship with a focus on personal branding and hustle.
  • Brené Brown: Research and storytelling on vulnerability, courage, empathy, and shame.
  • Mark Twain: Satirical and observational humor in his depictions of American society and culture.
  • Jane Austen: Satirical and witty commentary on the societal expectations and class structures of her time.
  • Ernest Hemingway: Simple and direct prose with a focus on themes of loss, trauma, and the human condition.
  • Maya Angelou: Poetic and powerful storytelling that explores the complexities of race, identity, and the human experience.
  • J.K. Rowling: Fantasy with a focus on coming of age, friendship, and the battle between good and evil.
  • George Orwell: Political satire and dystopian fiction that explores the dangers of totalitarianism and government control.
  • William Shakespeare: Poetic and complex storytelling that explores universal themes of love, power, and the human condition.
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald: Satirical and observational commentary on the excesses of the Roaring Twenties.
  • Stephen King: Horror and suspense with a focus on the supernatural and the darker aspects of human nature.
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: Fantasy with a focus on world-building, mythology, and the battle between good and evil.
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Magical Realism with a focus on the intersection of the fantastical and the everyday, and the complexities of love and family.
  • Virginia Woolf: Experimental and modernist with a focus on the inner lives and perspectives of her characters.

🔹 Warning:
↳ 🔹Too much style doesn’t work very well

I tested combing different styles.

This a common technique with AI art models to improve the results.

Sounds like it would be the ultimate writer?

But — nope.

With so many directions, the AI tended to produce rather average content. While the writing technically checked most of the boxes, it wasn’t all that special at all.

Here’s an example of WHAT NOT TO DO:

[Don't copy this! Bad example!]
//Begin Voice, Tone, and Style Rules:
Emulate a combined writing style with elements of Gary Vaynerchuk, Simon Sinek, and Seth Godin.

Use a conversational and direct tone, similar to Gary V's style.

Incorporate storytelling and anecdotes, similar to Simon Sinek's style.

Use clear and simple language, similar to Seth Godin's style.

Use persuasive and motivational language to engage the reader, similar to Gary V's style.

Use simple and relatable examples to illustrate your points, similar to Simon Sinek's style.

Use rhetorical questions and anecdotes to keep the reader engaged, similar to Gary V's style.

Use actionable and practical takeaways, similar to Simon Sinek's style.

Use real-life examples and metaphors to make the points more relatable and memorable, similar to Seth Godin's style.

Use humor and wit to make the content more engaging, similar to Gary V's style.

Use short and pithy sentences, similar to Seth Godin's style.

//End Voice, Tone, and Style Rules.

(You can still add formatting instructions.)

🔹 Warning:
↳ 🔹Style tends to drift back to standard

Even within a single passage, I found that it would start off with my style directions, but gradually revert to the more standard ChatGPT way of writing.

More experimentation is needed here.

🔹 Formatting [ ]

You’ll notice in my prompts that I bundle the style guide inside brackets.

[Like this.]

Still experimenting, but brackets seem to prevent the style from bleeding into the content itself.

Otherwise, you may find your style words coming up in expected ways.

💠 Wrap Up

The default ChatGPT output is wordy, so try different style prompts to get closer to your final goal.

Even with a style guide, though, I still suggest you edit anything an AI gives you before publishing it.

Don’t lose the habit of taking ownership of your words.

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