Personas, Characters, and Roles

LECTURE RESOURCES: Read this lecture in Team-GPT, it is interactive and contains notes and comments from the author.

So far, we’ve mentioned many times that prompting is all about Goal and Context.
However, I’m sure you’ve heard about: Personas, too.

Understanding the Importance of Personas in Prompting

A Persona, also called ‘an AI character’ or ‘role’ is a prompting technique where you tell the chat: ‘You are a lawyer’ or ‘You are a doctor’ or ‘You are something else’. Only then you ask your question.

Using a persona while prompting is one of the best things you can do at the start of a chat.

Applying Persona Prompting to Real-Life Situations

Let’s go back to our ‘Why is Barcelona so good’ example and see it in action.

I’ll start the conversation with: ‘You are an architect. Why is Barcelona so good?’

The AI provided a great answer. This was kind of the answer I was looking for.

Why did this work?

Well… We provided an AMAZING context. This is why personas are so great.

The Role of Context in Persona Prompting

Shall we do another one?

In Team-GPT, we’ve got Personas, ready to be used, so I’ll fetch one: the Travel expert.

This persona description is much longer. But length doesn’t really matter. Context does!

For the duration of this conversation, please assume the role of a well-informed and enthusiastic travel expert. Your responses should focus on providing travel recommendations, itineraries, and tips for exploring new destinations and immersing oneself in local cultures. As I ask questions, kindly offer tailored suggestions based on my preferences, interests, and travel goals. Create an engaging and informative conversation that inspires a spirit of adventure and discovery.

If you understand, please reply only with: ‘Yes. Let’s go!’

Is the extra text bringing extra context? Not really sure but the general rule was: ‘The more, the better”

💡 This lesson is a part of the ChatGPT for Work course

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Caution While Selecting Personas

Let me do another one. Prompt Expert. In fact, being a prompt expert does NOT provide CONTEXT.

Be careful what personas you choose to use.

During this conversation, please assume the role of a seasoned and engaging prompt expert. Your responses should focus on offering insights and guidance on writing effective, thought-provoking, and compelling prompts for various applications, including AI training, creative writing exercises, and conversation starters. As I ask questions, kindly provide practical tips and techniques for creating prompts that inspire creativity and encourage thoughtful responses. Create an engaging and enlightening conversation that helps me enhance my prompt crafting skills.

If you understand, please reply only with: ‘Yes. Let’s go!’

The Constant Benefits of Using Personas

So, when are personas useful? Always.

From my experience, Personas greatly improve any conversation.

  1. First, Personas provide a lot of context on their own. They are awesome at getting the AI into
    the headspace of whatever you are trying to ask it.
  2. Second, Personas are also great to create ‘your own persona’ or ‘your own character’. For
    instance, for the purposes of this course, I’ve created my own ‘AI course instructor’ persona.
    Every time I need to ask something related to the course.

I highly recommend you create one for yourself and that’s one of your exercises for homework!

From a logical point of view, Personas are nothing but ‘a type of context’.

However, they are so useful, that in this course we will be talking about 3 main steps in prompting:
defining the Goal, Context, and Persona.

Using Prompts to Create Personas

You can use a prompt to create your persona.

Generally it is NOT a good idea to have the persona creation in the same chat as the chat itself.

It can MIX UP the personas from above with the persona you want to define.

This will cause ChatGPT to behave worse!

However, I wanted to show you the true flow (see the full conversation here)

  1. Build your own PERSONA for this use case
  2. Assign the PERSONA
  3. Ask the question.

Normally you would start the flow from assigning the persona.

How to Create Your Own Persona in Team-GPT

Take some time to create your own persona.

Here’s how.

  1. Go to your Team-GPT account.
  2. Click on “System Library.”
  3. Choose “1. Persona.”
  4. Select “Build your own persona.”

Alternatively, check this chat over here.

Learning How to Use Personas through Exercises

Next, we’ll learn about personas by actually using them.

I have 10 simple exercises for you. Each one helps you understand and use personas.

These exercises will help you create your own persona and use it to improve your talks.

Now, let’s get started!

1. Learn a new skill + PERSONA

I’m using the exact same prompt as I did in How to Write a Prompt: GOAL and CONTEXT – Learn a New Skill exercise.

By using the same prompt you did in the last exercise you’ll truly understand the power of personas!

This answer is 10x better than the one we received WITHOUT a persona.

Feel free to explore the whole sample chat I’ve provided for ‘Learn a new skill + PERSONA’ right here.

Do the exercise over here.

2. Deal with stress + PERSONA

Do the exercise over here.

3. Save for retirement + PERSONA

Do the exercise over here.

4. Help with Excel formula + PERSONA

Do the exercise over here.

5. Other religions + PERSONA

Do the exercise over here.

6. Set up a blog + PERSONA

Do the exercise over here.

Here I’m also adding another technique ‘think about this step by step’.

You can explore the sample chat I’ve provided for ‘Set-up a blog’ right here.

This prompt is extremely important and should be on your shortlist always.

This is called ‘Zero-shot chain of thought’. If you haven’t read it, please do.

7. Negotiate salary + PERSONA

Do the exercise over here.

8. Train my dog + PERSONA

This is just a reminder that the PERSONA doesn’t need to be very long.

All that matters is that you provide one.

Do the exercise over here.

9. Write a social media post + PERSONA

Do the exercise over here.

10. Compare two cities + PERSONA

Do the exercise over here.

Ah! You’ve seen this one already.

Now that you have tried many PERSONAs you can ‘feel’ the subtle differences.

In this case, I said:

  • Travel expert

If I had said:

  • Architect
  • Historian

I would get very different replies.

This conversation is bound to be about travelling and exploring.

Always define a persona that can be helpful for your particular use case.

And remember: NOT DEFINING A PERSONA is very similar to providing the WRONG PERSONA.

Thank you and good luck!

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Updated on October 26, 2023