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How to use AI in 3 simple steps: Just ask

How to use AI in 3 simple steps: Just ask

Written by Susanna Ray

Creative AI tools like Microsoft Copilot can help you be more creative, boost your productivity, help you with research, and save time.

You don't need to be a computer scientist to make the most of your results. Three basic steps to giving your co-pilot instructions, called prompts, make the task as easy as asking for what you need:

(an act) an act – Explain what you want the co-pilot to do.

(style) style – Describe the format in which you want to present your response.

(Key details) Key details – Set the scene with more context about your situation.

Let's dive into the details of how to use AI.

(an act) an act

Start by opening Copilot on your device Computer or phone Then write or say what you want him to do, and ask for the result you are looking for. Even if that's all you do, you'll receive a response from your co-pilot, and it may be enough for what you need.

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“Please give me three recommendations for my book club.”

“I need help scheduling 15 minutes a day for mindfulness, please.”

“Can you help me create a budget for my family trip from New York to Paris?”

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Most people have learned how to use search engines by simplifying commands to the basics: the “good books.” But because Copilot helps you do more than just search, it works best if you step outside of that keyword template, expand your requests, and “talk” to it in a natural way, as you would to an assistant.

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(style) style

The co-pilot can respond to certain requests with simple menus and others with a full page explaining his response. But you can add more to your claim to determine which delivery or format is most beneficial to you.

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“Please give me three recommendations for my book club. Write your answer in a table that includes the book's title, summary, and four discussion questions for each.

“I need help scheduling 15 minutes a day to practice mindfulness, please. Each day of the week, include daily prompts to help me start meditating and writing in my journal.

“Can you help me create a budget for my family trip from New York to Paris? I would like all the elements of this trip listed for easy transfer into a spreadsheet.

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The co-pilot can provide answers in almost unlimited formats, from poems to rap music. He or she may compose a professional email to the company's customer service department to help them resolve a problem. It can give you a list of pros and cons for the decision you need to make. He or she can adapt the delivery method to provide a high school-level explanation of something you don't understand.

Determining which style you want will help it best meet your needs.

(Key details) Key details

How does Copilot know what kind of books you like to read, what inspires you, or how you like to travel? This is where it helps the tool perform better if you add some details about your story and situation. This reduces searching by providing context to help Copilot provide a more personalized response.

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“Please give me three recommendations for my book club. Write your answer in a table that includes the book title, summary, and four discussion questions for each. My club is made up of millennials, ages 30-35. We are avid readers interested in mystery, drama, and romance. We meet in person weekly, so please give me a reading schedule that matches the meeting rhythm.

“I need help scheduling 15 minutes of mindfulness time daily, please. Each day of the week, include daily prompts to help me start meditating and writing in my journal. I am a nature lover and love spending time in the park.

“Can you help me create a budget for my family trip from New York to Paris? I would like all the items for this trip listed for easy transfer to a spreadsheet. We're planning a five-day trip for a family of four this summer, with the goal of visiting the sights and museums while eating three expensive meals, one of them of high quality.

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The more details you provide, the better the answer. That's because Copilot combines the logical power of a large language model — a complex statistical model that inputs massive amounts of historical data — with the benefits of Microsoft's technology and search index that provides more relevant and timely answers to users.

Although including the procedure, technique, and basic details helps you get more useful results, it doesn't matter the order in which you ask for help — it's copilot You will understand. You can mix these elements however you like when creating your prompts, by telling your situation first, or even starting with the format you want for your results.

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Working with generative AI tools is a dynamic and iterative process. Your initial prompt may be just the beginning – you may need to have a more in-depth conversation with your co-pilot by asking follow-up questions, providing more context, or clarifying the outcome you are seeking, all of which can help improve the effectiveness of your responses. If you want more information, you can ask the co-pilot to explain how he arrived at his answer.

To start using Copilot in your routine, just ask what you want to know.