Crafting Effective Prompts Using Microsoft 365 Copilot 

We are standing on the edge of a new era in productivity guided by artificial intelligence. Between in-person meetings, virtual meetings, e-mail exchanges and large-scale projects with tight deadlines, expectations, pace and workload are all on the rise. AI can lighten the load, enhance human capabilities and stimulate creativity. Against this backdrop, Microsoft 365 Copilot plays an innovative and audacious role. But how do you get the most of this new technology?

What Is A Prompt?

Copilot prompts are instructions or questions you use to tell Copilot what you want. Prompts allow you to ask Microsoft 365 Copilot to perform various actions – to create, summarize, modify or rewrite content. Think of it as a conversation in which you use simple yet explicit language, by providing a context similar to that which you would give to an assistant. In a message, you can include as much or as little information as necessary, as long as the objective is clear. 

  1. What Is The Task At Hand?

Copilot’s possibilities are open and endless. Even though artificial intelligence will never replace the creative dynamics of a team brainstorming session, it certainly makes collaboration faster, more accessible and more effective between everyone. Used as a personal assistant, Copilot can accompany you, simplify your tasks, save you time, lighten your workload and support you in your projects. You’ll be able to:

  • Understand the main principles of a project or concept
  • Edit a text or presentation
  • Transform the structure of a document
  • Summarize information from meetings or emails 
  • Create engaging and customized content
  • Catch up on important subjects, missed meetings or current events
  1. What Are The Details And Specifics Of The Task?

Given that prompts are instructions or questions telling Copilot what you would need, you can put a little or a lot into a prompt, but the more detailed the prompt is, the better the results are. Prompts generally include four parts. A prompt requires at least one clear objective, but you can add other elements to ensure accuracy and thoroughness and to obtain the desired results.

  • Goal: What do you want from Copilot?
  • Context: Why do you need it and who is involved?
  • Expectations: How should Copilot respond to best fulfill your request?
  • Source: What information or samples do you want Copilot to use?
  1. Continue The Conversation

Following up on your prompts allows you to collaborate with Copilot and obtain more targeted and personalized responses. Here are some tips and strategies for different uses:

  • For content creation, start with general prompts and then add specifics.
  • In informative meetings, ask for a summary first, then dig deeper by asking questions on key points.
  • To gather information, ask for an overview first, then dig deeper for more details.
  • If you have to decode another language, ask Copilot to translate a sentence, then specify the context or regional dialect. 
  • For technical issues, describe the initial incident then provide specifics or ask for step-by-step advice on how to solve the problem.
  • To generate storytelling, ask Copilot to start a story and guide it by providing concrete and relevant subtleties.

In any case, an informed approach is key to the optimal use of Copilot. For example, it’s essential to review Copilot’s responses and cross-reference with trusted sources. Given that responses are based on large language models, Copilot does make mistakes occasionally. You should also be aware that using the same prompt multiple times can result in different responses as large language models grow and new information is added. Lastly, Copilot should be used in a respectful, ethical and lawful manner and should not be used in any way that may be harmful to yourself or others.

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