5 ways to give your clients a ‘nudge’

Researchers have been studying human behaviour for decades. In recent years, the practice has become one of the fastest-growing science fields.

You may be familiar with some of the theories that have evolved – positive psychology, emotional intelligence, neuroscience, behavioural economics and social science. But of all the theories that exist in the field, the one that resonates most often with us here at Bounce is behavioural nudging.

What is a nudge?

Have you ever noticed that sometimes you commit to things but become distracted and forget what you originally committed to and why?

Sometimes we think we’re making really good decisions for ourselves, but then it turns out these decisions weren’t so good after all. The poor decisions we make are often based on the fact we don’t have enough information or too much information, making it hard to get clarity.  

But imagine if there was a way to encourage people to make decisions easily and effortlessly? If you could ‘nudge’ them towards their desired outcome gently and elegantly?

Nudge Theory was created by Nobel Prize-winning economics researcher Richard H. Thaler and Holberg Prize winner Cass R. Sunstein (2008). The concept of ‘nudging‘ is based on behavioural science and proposes that we can influence other peoples’ behaviour through positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions. The psychology of persuasion also forms a critical part of how to influence change, and Dr Robert B. Cialdini’s research on this topic features heavily in our training.

Nudges in action

Here are some nudges you can start using with your clients today:

Committing to take action

When people share their intended plans, they are more likely to take action. Try getting your clients to take small agreements, even non-job-related agreements such as: 

  • Drinking more water each day 
  • Walking for 15 minutes each day 
  • Practising 1 minute of deep breathing each morning 
  • Calling a friend or family member weekly 

Social Proof

People are influenced by what others do. Use examples of what other clients have gained by attending regular meetings or participating in training, such as “Amy was just like you, and then she completed Bounce Online, and her whole life changed. She was afraid she would never have enough confidence and believed the people who told her she wasn’t smart enough to work. But once she completed the program, Amy was able to see herself differently. She successfully found a job just weeks after finishing the program.

Make it easy and convenient

if you can help reduce any small barriers for your clients, like being flexible with when and how you make contact with them (e.g. an SMS might be an easier and faster way to make contact), it will help your clients feel comfortable and safe when working with you. Remember, you don’t want to do everything for them – but if you do come up against a barrier that is holding your clients back and you can reduce its impact, your relationships will be stronger. 

Avoiding loss or pain

Most people work far harder to avoid loss than they will achieve a gain. We know that people base their decisions on emotion rather than logic, so things need to FEEL right before it makes sense. You can frame your questions to explore how your clients would feel about different scenarios or situations:

“How would you feel if…”

This is a powerful tool you can use to nudge your clients. By asking ‘how would you feel if…’, you are asking your clients to time-travel to a moment and imagine the feeling, you are trying to elicit. You can choose nudging words that can trigger both positive and negative emotions, showing them that change is worth the effort

For example, “I have had many other clients overcome their fears and frustration about finding a job, and now they feel optimistic and excited about the future. Just imagine if you were able to feel excited and hopeful too!”

Cognitive Dissonance

Often this occurs when people have conflicting beliefs, values or attitudes. By helping your clients create a positive frame around their identity, they will begin to see how their behaviours and actions limit their ability to find and keep work.    

Now, just imagine if you could easily and effortlessly nudge your clients toward positive employment outcomes?  

Bounce Job Coach Certification is the ideal professional development course for anyone working with job seekers. The Certification is based on the most effective behaviour change science and helps participants to develop powerful and practical coaching skills. In addition, we teach you how to apply nudges in your everyday interactions and conversations, so you can easily influence!


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