How to get better outcomes from Copilot for Microsoft 365 and generative AI

If you’re one of the lucky ones to have the new Copilot for Microsoft 365 licence, you’ll have access to the range of its generative AI features.

But to get the best out of the tool, you need to understand more about what is called ‘prompt engineering’. Because once you learn how to write better prompts, the tool will yield you better results.

So, we invited Manesh Mistry from Microsoft to a recent event, co-hosted with our parent company Advania UK and Advania Sweden, to share his insider tips on how to get the best outcomes from Microsoft’s generative AI tool.

But first let’s take a look at the basics.

What is Copilot for Microsoft 365?

Copilot for Microsoft 365 is an AI-powered assistant integrated into the Microsoft 365 suite of applications, designed to enhance productivity and streamline workflows.

Using AI technology, particularly large language models like GPT-4, it works by predicting the next word in a sequence based on vast amounts of training data.

The model understands context and can generate human-like text, making it useful for a variety of tasks within Microsoft 365 applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Teams.

However, like with any new tool, you have to learn how to use it to get the best results. Drawing on insights by Manesh, we’ve shared his four tips on how to improve your ‘prompts’ aka the questions you ask it.

Top Tips for Improving your Copilot Prompts

1. Be specific and contextual

Instead of adding a vague prompt like “Create a report” it’s better to provide Copilot with specific details. For instance, “Generate a quarterly financial report summarising expenses, revenues and key financial metrics for Q2 2024.”
Top tip: The more specific a prompt the more the AI will understand exactly what you need, resulting in more accurate and relevant outputs.

2. Set clear parameters

Instead of asking Copilot to generate project documentation, ask it to outline the structure and the content you want in it. For instance, “Create a project initiation document for a new software development project starting in June 2024, include sections on objectives, scope, timeline, resources and risks.”
Top tip: By setting clear parameters, the AI will generate content that fits your requirements, saving you time on revisions.

3. Use descriptive language

When asking Copilot for meeting summaries, instead of saying “Summarise the meeting,” use a phrase like “Provide a summary of the key points discussed, action items assigned and deadlines set during the project kick-off meeting.”
Top tip: Using descriptive language helps the AI focus on the most important elements, improving the quality of the summary.

4. Incorporate examples and templates
When creating a document or presentation, it is best to reference specific templates or examples. For instance, “Generate a presentation based on the attached marketing strategy template, including slides on market analysis, target audience and campaign tactics.”
Top tip: By referencing examples and templates the AI will align its output with your preferred formats and styles.

Practical Applications of Copilot for Microsoft 365

So, how can you use these tips in your daily work? Here are three practical and useful ways to use the generative AI tool to make you more efficient.

Meeting Productivity

  • Late Arrival Recaps: If you join a meeting late, use Copilot to get a quick recap. Simply type a prompt, “Provide a summary of the first 10 minutes of this meeting.”
  • Meeting Notes and Action Items: After a meeting, ask Copilot to generate detailed notes and action items. For example, “Create a summary of today’s comms meeting, listing all action items and responsible team members.”

Document Creation

  • Project Documentation: For complex projects, provide it with detailed prompts. “Generate a project plan for the new app development project, including timelines, milestones and resource allocation.”
  • Content Drafting: When drafting content, it’s important to specify the tone of voice and audience you’re writing it for. “Draft an email to the sales team announcing the new commission structure, maintaining a motivational tone.”

Data Analysis and Reporting

  • Excel Automation: Use detailed prompts for data analysis. “Analyse the sales data for Q2 2024 and generate a report highlighting key trends, top-performing products and areas needing improvement.”
  • PowerPoint Presentations: Create presentations quickly. “Generate a 10-slide presentation on the Q1 2024 financial performance, including graphs and charts.”

How to Use Generative AI in Intranet Scenarios

Whilst Copilot isn’t an intranet-specific tool, you can use the technology it’s built on to help you in this context, which is what we’ve done with our latest generative AI tool FreshMind built directly into our Fresh Intranet solution on SharePoint and Microsoft 365. Using Azure OpenAI, Fresh Intranet customers can use FreshMind for specific intrant scenarios as follows:

1. Streamline Content Creation and Management

Enhanced Content Editing

FreshMind integrates AI-driven tools to assist in content creation and editing. The AI capabilities include:

  • Page summarisation: Automatically generate summaries for lengthy documents, ensuring that users can quickly grasp the key points.
  •  Metadata tagging: AI suggests appropriate tags and metadata for documents, improving searchability and organisation of content.
  • Title and description suggestions: Generate compelling titles and descriptions to enhance the visibility and engagement of your content.
  • Image creation: Generate eye-catching and context-related banner images and thumbnails for your blog posts to better describe and present your content.

Bulk Updates

Managing large volumes of documents and pages can be daunting. FreshMind allows for bulk updates, enabling you to reduce the time spent on repetitive administrative tasks whilst maintaining data consistency and accuracy across the intranet with the following capabilities:

  • Batch update metadata: Apply changes to multiple documents and pages simultaneously, ensuring uniformity and saving significant administrative time.
  • AI-generated descriptions: Automatically create descriptions for batches of documents and pages, maintaining high standards without manual input.

2. Enhance Search and Discoverability

AI-Driven People Search

FreshMind’s AI enhances the people search functionality of your Fresh Intranet by facilitating quick and efficient employee connections. It aims to improve collaboration by making it easier to find the right people for specific tasks, with the following capabilities:

  • Intelligent search queries: Find colleagues based on specific skills, roles or other attributes through natural language queries.
  • Integrated actions: Directly engage with search results, such as booking meetings or initiating chats via Microsoft Teams.

Document Chat

Interact with your intranet’s content using AI-driven chat features such as:

  • Conversational search: Ask questions and receive answers from your documents, making it easier to find specific information without sifting through files manually.
  • Integrated with Copilot: Utilise Microsoft’s Copilot to extend these capabilities and chat with the content of documents on your intranet, ensuring a seamless and advanced user experience.

3. Continuous Data Quality Improvement

Data Governance

Fresh Intranet supports robust data governance, which is crucial for maintaining a high-quality intranet with reliable and accurate data. Using the following functionality

  • Content overview: Generate comprehensive overviews of all documents and pages, helping you track and manage content efficiently. Use Fresh’s AI-powered bulk updates feature to more easily maintain your content.
  • Data cleanup: Regularly update and maintain content quality, ensuring that the data powering your AI tools remains accurate and relevant. Fresh Intranet includes governance components that enable content owners to maintain an overview of their content and provides a review date for each piece of content.

Support for Copilot for Microsoft 365 Adoption

FreshMind aligns seamlessly with Copilot for Microsoft 365, enhancing its functionality and adding value to your existing Microsoft investments.

Our generative AI provides you with a smoother transition to, and better adoption rates of, Microsoft’s new AI tools.

FreshMind and the overall Fresh governance features ensure that the data Copilot interacts with on your intranet is well-organised and accurate, providing better results.

About FreshMind from Fresh Intranet

FreshMind is an enterprise-ready AI assistant that puts generative AI to work in your SharePoint intranet scenario.

Powered by Microsoft Azure OpenAI, FreshMind runs in your environment making it secure. Designed for rapid adoption, addressing real-world scenarios, it makes AI practical and accessible for every user.

A complete rather than compete approach, FreshMind aligns with and augments Microsoft 365, co-existing with Copilot for Microsoft 365.

How much does FreshMind cost?

FreshMind isn’t a new product; rather, a collection of AI features in Fresh Intranet, an intranet built on SharePoint and Microsoft 365. Therefore, it is included in a Fresh subscription. Fresh Intranet pricing is based on the size of your organisation.

Do I need to have a Fresh Intranet to use FreshMind?

You don’t need all Fresh Intranet features to use our FreshMind AI capabilities. Book a demo to see how to use it in your SharePoint intranet.

What are the prerequisites for use of FreshMind?

You must have a Microsoft 365 tenant and a Microsoft Azure subscription.

How does Fresh Intranet help me adopt Copilot for Microsoft 365?

The AI-powered governance options within Fresh Intranet help you lay the foundation for a successful Copilot for Microsoft 365 adoption. For Copilot for M365 to be successful you will need to have well-maintained data, as poor data quality in = poor results out. Read our blog on how introducing SharePoint Premium will help you to streamline your SharePoint data.


For more handy tips and tricks of how you can use generative AI in your SharePoint intranet download our eBook.

Or want to see FreshMind for yourself? Book a demo  and one of our friendly team will be happy to show you today!


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