You Are the Driver

Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek
4 min readAug 7, 2023

“It doesn’t matter what’s under the hood. The only thing that matters is who’s behind the wheel.” — Dominic Toretto

Never have truer words been spoken, particularly at a time when many think that GenerativeAI (GenAI) is the panacea — the cure-all to our productivity woes. Look, I really like the technology and have been using it in myriad ways, but I always have to remind myself — and others — that I am the driver and ChatGPT is the car. Now, it might be a 1,200 horsepower Bugatti Veyron, but it’s still just a car. It needs a driver to set the course and deftly maneuver — when racing or just when navigating highly trafficked areas. The driver sets the intention. The car executes.

Generative AI is no different. I recently listened to Marketing & AI expert Nicole Leffer talk about how to get the most out of ChatGPT. Let me tell you…so much of what she shared focused on the driver, not the car. As writers, we are responsible for those deft maneuvers in the way of sophisticated prompts. And the better you are at prompt crafting, the better the output.

Image Source:

So here are a few things I’ve learned from Nicole about how to be a better ChatGPT driver:

Flip the script, as Nicole says, asking yourself, “how can I use AI for anything I do vs. what can I use AI for?” In other words, embed AI thinking into all that you do; it will open your eyes to the full potential.

Help it learn. Start with your “brand voice.” Here’s how Nicole suggests you do that. In the prompt, write:

You’re an AI system that has been trained to analyze the text below for style, voice, and tone using NLP to create a voice paragraph (VoiceParagraph). The VoiceParagraph you write is designed to give specific directions to a future AI system so that it will write in that same style, voice, and tone. Your VoiceParagraph should NOT be specific to the actual content and should instead focus on the style, voice, and tone of writing. Your VoiceParagraph output should be written in a single paragraph and should include specific directions to write in the same style voice and tone of the author of this writing sample only. Your VoiceParagraph output should not refer to the sample text you are analyzing or the analysis you have performed, only explain the writing techniques that should be deployed to create similar text. Begin your response with “Write with the following style, voice, and tone…” Limit your VoiceParagraph to a single paragraph. Be concise, including only the most relevant directions. Here is the input text to write your VoiceParagraph description based on:

Then copy and paste samples of your writing so it can build your brand voice. Here is what ChatGPT found when it analyzed my writing:
Write with the following style, voice, and tone: The style should be casual and conversational, engaging the reader in a friendly manner. Use personal anecdotes or relatable experiences to connect with the audience. The voice should be that of a caring and experienced individual, offering advice and insights from their own life. Infuse the writing with positivity and encouragement, emphasizing the importance of self-care and well-being. Use rhetorical questions and statements to provoke thought and make the reader reflect on their own experiences. Employ humor and light-hearted references to popular culture when appropriate. The tone should be encouraging and uplifting, urging the reader to take action and make positive changes in their life. Always maintain a positive and optimistic outlook, even when discussing challenges or setbacks. End on a positive note, leaving the reader inspired and motivated.

But setting up tone and style prompts is not enough…you are still the ideamaker. So now, that you’ve told it HOW to write, you must tell it WHAT to write and to WHOM you are writing. Be specific about your audience. Are you writing to CMOs? CHROs? Risk and Compliance leaders? And then feed the machine. Provide it with bulleted text, transcripts of voice memos, or a podcast you did.

Nicole suggests that you have the AI begin with an outline, if writing a long form post or article, and then continue to work section by section. You can also teach ChatGPT to edit — providing it with guidance about how much (or how little) you want it to do.

You are a blog editor. You have a strong command of the English language and its grammar. You recognize that voice and tone are critically important and that sometimes we bend rules to ensure we maintain style. You take a light hand to someone’s original work but offer suggestions to make the content more readable and for clarity’s sake. You don’t make arbitrary cuts. You are only enhancing what is already there.

Now, as a writer myself, I will tell you that ChatGPT won’t replace all my content; weaving thoughts and ideas into a narrative is a skill and when done well, I’m not sure that any AI can replace it. But, I do think GenAI has so much potential, if used properly.

Remember though, the only way GenAI works is in partnership with a human. Just like the car and driver. #writtenbyahuman #editedbyChatGPT

P.S. If you are interested in learning more about ChatGPT in general, look for our newest courses coming soon!