Though we often feel a lack of it when embarking on something new, there are many ways to help people feel confident and continue with a new behaviour




We constantly look for ways to improve how others see us

Acknowledging a person’s position amongst a group can inject new-found confidence.

For instance, being a Customer / Employee of the Year is a rare and precious badge to wear.

For others, understanding why they earned that badge and what they themselves would need to do to earn it next year is just as important.

Where in your products / company can you use status to highlight successful acts that others should follow?
How can this status be shown off by the receiver? What form(s) does it take?
What actions might they need to do to unlock this status?



We make very different decisions based on how a fact is presented

Good or bad, almost every scenario can be reframed.

When something bad happens, we can view it as a loss, or instead reframe it as a priceless learning moment or opportunity for a fresh start.

On tasks, highlighting even the smallest of efforts can be reframed as making meaningful progress towards a goal.

What good insights can you extract from a bad situation?
How can you take someone’s efforts and reframe them to boost confidence and motivation?
Autonomy Bias

Autonomy Bias


We have a deep-seated need to control our situations

Feeling a sense of control over our situation can give us great confidence.

The key term here is "sense". We don't need that much control to feel confident about our decisions.

Remember also that as the creator, though you're granting more autonomy, you're still defining the set of choices presented to others.

What are the sorts of concerns that hold people back from making confident decisions?
Where can you integrate new choices that make people feel like they feel heard and can take action?
How can you make sure that these choices are simple and motivating?
Social Proof

Social Proof


We copy the behaviors of others, especially in unfamiliar situations

Others’ actions can give us confidence as to what is ‘right’, especially when uncertain.

Seeing that others have made a choice and are benefiting from it makes us feel that we will, too.

Other peoples' decisions are a safe sandbox for us to imagine our own future.

It's worth remembering that Social Proof is particularly influential when the other people are similar to us.

Similarity could be based on demographics, location, emotional states or niche interests.

What are the key problems holding people back from feeling confident?
What sorts of solutions by others could you surface to inspire and motivate?
Who are these other people? Be specific and use their language.
Storyteller Bias

Storyteller Bias


We’re more persuaded by and better recall those who tell stories

Stories offer a powerful way to connect with people, giving them confidence about their choices, past or future.

They allow you to create relatedness, showing someone who initially lacks confidence in some way, uses your product, and feels better as a result.

Stories needn't be complex. They can be as simple as showing before and after states.

What is the status quo that potential customers face right now? How might that be leaving them feeling?
How can you create a satisfying sense of completion or mastery as a result of using your product?
How can you end the story on a motivating high to inspire a new-found desire to take action?
Feedback Loops

Feedback Loops


We look for information that provides clarity on our actions

We crave feedback on our efforts, offering a massive opportunity to boost confidence in the process.

When we're new to something, like starting a new job or opening a new savings account, we need guidance.

We want to feel that we're making good decisions and doing all the right things. Feedback plays a crucial role here.

And once we get that feedback, we react, gain confidence, double down and take further action, creating a powerful loop.

What important, initial actions do your users take that would best benefit from feedback?
What form might this feedback take? Visual? Audible? Some sense of progress in their profile?
How can you design this feedback to create initial confidence and then take the next action? What might this be?



We have a strong tendency to comply with those in charge

The wise and experienced amongst us can bestow great confidence in others.

Authority figures provide a clarifying means of understanding what to do and how best to do it.

For instance, a famous fitness expert may recommend a particular product for newcomers, creating confidence that this is the right thing to buy first.

Who are the authority figures in your industry?
How does their area of expertise and your own product overlap?
In what ways could you partner with and integrate them in your products to inspire your users?
Certainty Effect

Certainty Effect


We crave clarity over chance and make costly sacrifices to get it

Uncertainty breeds a lack of confidence, but certainty has the opposite, reassuring effect.

The future has a powerful way of creating uncertainty, so anything to make dates certain will really help. Whether it's a decent warranty period (beyond the industry norm), a clearly-defined date of delivery, or a free cancellation period up to x days before arrival, these all will help to build confidence in our decisions.

Another form of certainty lies in utlity: if you offer a product that's bundled by default ("All our burgers come with chips as standard"), it creates certainty and therefore confidence that we don't need to choose anything else.

If your brand is able to make a bold public commitment that it can uphold, it'll imply confidence in its own products, creating confidence in its prospective customers as a result.

What are the sorts of uncertainties that stop people from buying your product / service?
What sort of guarantees could you provide that suggests strong confidence in your own product?
How can you use confidence-boosting certainty in a positive way that competitors have yet to do?
Endowed Progress Effect

Endowed Progress Effect


We reach our goals faster when we have help getting started

Starting is often the scariest thing. But once we’re on our way, confidence grows.

Having a helping hand at the very beginning of a new task is a powerful way of guiding us towards confident task completion.

This may be by showing a task progress as already started, as well as by making those first steps very easy to do.

As showing visual progress, consider communicating progress with words. E.g. copy like "you're on your way to smarter car insurance" can help endow people with new-found confidence to complete the sign up process.

What sort of tasks do people feel overwhelmed or lacking in confidence around?
‍How can you help people feel like they've already started complete the task to reassure and motivate?
In what ways can you remind them of the broader task goal along the way?
Limited Choice

Limited Choice


We’re more likely to decide when the options are sensibly restricted

Too much choice can overwhelm and make us feel like we’ve made the wrong decision.

The more possible choices there are, the more opportunities we have to doubt that we've made a good decision.

This is especially the case for those who are unfamiliar to what you sell and lack the relevant knowledge to handle complexity.

A well-designed product with a few opportunities for customisation breeds far greater brand confidence than one where all there are 1000s of potential variants.

When the pressure is all on the consumer to wade amongst complexity each time they buy, it suggests that the brand has little confidence in making the best choices themselves.

How complex are the choices you present to customers? Do they need to be so complex for everyone?
Where can you sensibly restrict options for newcomers to overcome their lack of confidence and potential choice regret?
How might you progressively add complexity to your choices for more expert customers looking to flex their knowhow?



We change our behavior when given gifts that reinforce actions and goals

Meaningful rewards offer a great opportunity to celebrate successes and reinforce confidence in a more formal way.

They provide a validating form of feedback that can boost one's status and desire to positively reciprocate.

What sorts of behaviour do you want to reward? Will this boost confidence?
In what ways can you incorporate these rewards?
How can you let people celebrate these rewards publicly as a tasteful form of status?
IKEA Effect

IKEA Effect

Product Development

We’ll pay disproportionately more for something we’ve helped create

First, allowing for some functional customisation of a product (size, shape etc) means that it will better fit one's practical needs, creating baseline confidence that it solves our basic problems.

But beyond utility, we also know that people feel a stronger sense of attachment to something they've helped create.

As a result, by co-building the product (favourite colour, pattern etc), it becomes an extension of them.

They'll then feel a greater sense of confidence that this product is right for them, because it is them.

How can you find simple ways to let people be involved in the building of your product before it's launched?
In what ways do people want to customise your products on general sale?
How can you make sure this process is fun and not too complicated (which would dampen confidence)?
Humor Effect

Humor Effect


We’re more motivated by and remember things that make us laugh

A formal environment or tone implies rigidity and that mistakes aren't tolerated, making it slow to build confidence and quick to lose it.

However, some level of informality creates a sense of humanity and balance where it's okay to be imperfect and grow.

Humor itself has a powerful way to relax and connect us.

And doesn't need to be that your website is riddled with jokes.

Instead, subtle is sometimes best; just enough to take the edge off difficult moments and create that comforting warmth.

How can you use humor in delightful and surprising ways that rewards task completion?
How might you create a feeling of friendliness that takes the edge off seriousness / formality?
In what areas should you avoid the use of humor? When is it not appropriate? Why?
Fluency Shortcut

Fluency Shortcut


Statements that are easier to understand are more believable

If confusion breeds doubt, clarity is confidence.

We have a tendency to overcomplicate our messaging, and we lose people in the process.

The acid test is whether what we say is simple enough for others to remember, and then to repeat to others.

Complicated brand names, straplines and value propositions will never make it past the first step, never mind the second.

Give people the tools to confidently broadcast your brand themselves by making it ultra-simple.

Brand. Is yours easy to recall or will it be confused for something similar?
Message. Is your comms consistent or are you sending conflicting statements that dilute confidence?
Language. Could you communicate what you do more simply? Could a 5-year-old understand?
Foot In The Door

Foot In The Door


Making a small commitment now makes us more likely to agree to a greater one later

Large tasks can feel unsurmountable and instil a lack of confidence in their completion.

Instead, we'd do better to break these down into smaller, manageable pieces.

This way, we can progress through each step and gain confidence as we go.

What large requests are you currently asking of customers?
How can you break these down?
What is the smallest possible first task that you could ask them to do that gets them started and builds momentum?
Default Effect

Default Effect


We tend to accept the option pre-chosen for us

Indecision saps confidence.

The wider the range of choices and number of steps you present to people, the more you need to think carefully about your default options.

Providing a default option is a powerful remedy to a lack of choice confidence and regret, offering the ‘right’ option that confidently reassures.

Are there key points along your user journeys where choice confidence is particularly low?
What sorts of default options could you provide throughout your journey to boost confidence?
How might you frame these defaults? E.g. "Best for x" or "Recommended by our staff"

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