Blog Image

Tailoring Your Conversations: The Custom Instructions Revolution

Custom instructions are being rolled out to all users, with the UK and Europe coming next, so I thought it was timely to recap and provide some information around this update.

So what are custom instructions? The basic idea is that they will allow you to share your preferences just once, and ChatGPT will then remember them for all your future conversations. In this article, we'll explore the power of Custom Instructions and how they can transform the way you use ChatGPT.

This feature is a game-changer, especially for professionals seeking a tailored experience. Whether you're a researcher, a programmer, a teacher, or someone with specific language preferences, ChatGPT can now adapt to your unique needs.

For instance, if you're a student conducting research, you can request detailed citations and references in a certain format, for example, the Harvard referencing format. If you're a programmer, you can specify your preferred programming languages and coding style; you probably don't need an explanation, just the code blocks. Maybe you want to add a little more fun into your conversations, ask ChatGPT to call you a specific name, use a particular language style, tell jokes, or engage in informal conversations. The power to customize the tone of your interaction is now at your fingertips.

Example from OpenAI's website:

Blog Image

The image above shows a generic response and really isn't tailored to a teacher. Now, let's add a little spice! With custom instructions, ChatGPT will ask you 2 questions, each with a character limit of 1,500.

  1. What would you like ChatGPT to know about you to provide better responses?
  2. How would you like ChatGPT to respond?

By answering these questions, you are telling ChatGPT how you want it to respond throughout all conversations (until you turn it off, more on that below!)

Blog Image

Here are some more examples of how you can answer both question 1 and question 2 so you can get a better idea. Credit to Rastislav Dujava & Igor Pogany for these:

First Instruction (What should ChatGPT know about you?):

  1. Profession/Role: I'm a serial entrepreneur managing a portfolio of diverse ventures, having had multiple successful exits.
  2. Current Projects/Challenges: Currently, I am exploring new investment opportunities in the tech sector, particularly in AI.
  3. Specific Interests: I'm interested in disruptive technologies and scalable business models.
  4. Values and Principles: I value innovation, resilience, and value creation for stakeholders.
  5. Learning Style: As a kinetic learner, I learn best by doing and experimenting.
  6. Personal Background: I come from a tech background and am based in Silicon Valley, with a global network.
  7. Goals: My immediate goal is to spot potential unicorns, while my long-term aim is to shape future industries.
  8. Preferences: I prefer direct, transparent communication and use tools like Slack, Asana, and Zoom.
  9. Language Proficiency: I'm fluent in English and Mandarin, both used in my professional setting.
  10. Specialized Knowledge: Extensive knowledge in venture capital and startup scaling.
  11. Educational Background: MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.
  12. Communication Style: Straightforward and strategic.

Second Instruction (How should ChatGPT respond?):

  1. Response Format: I need concise, action-oriented responses.
  2. Tone: Please use a professional and respectful tone.
  3. Detail Level: Provide high-level overviews with the option to drill down for more detail.
  4. Types of Suggestions: Suggest investment opportunities, strategic alliances, and leadership strategies.
  5. Types of Questions: Encourage reflective questions that aid strategic decision-making.
  6. Checks and Balances: Please cross-verify market data and trends.
  7. Resource References: Reference reliable industry reports and credible news sources.
  8. Critical Thinking Level: Apply high-level critical thinking to complex problems.
  9. Creativity Level: Suggest innovative approaches to spotting and nurturing disruptive ideas.
  10. Problem-Solving Approach: I prefer a logical, analytical approach to problem-solving.
  11. Bias Awareness: Avoid biases related to startup size, origin, or industry.
  12. Language Preferences: Use professional business vocabulary.

Enabling Custom Instructions:

For iOS & Android users, toggle ON the Custom Instructions setting in Settings -> Account.

For Web users, click on your name, go to Custom Instructions, enter your instructions, and click Save.


The future of personalized conversations with ChatGPT is here. With Custom Instructions, you can enhance your experience, save time, and receive responses tailored to your needs. As this feature rolls out to more users, get ready to elevate your interactions with ChatGPT like never before.