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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.