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You are here: Home >>  Getting Started >>  General Tips on Encouraging Behaviour Change

General Tips on Encouraging Behaviour Change

Travel planning is usually all about changing people’s travel behaviour. 

Here are 10 top tips on encouraging behaviour change:

1. Be clear about your message. 

As the Coordinator it is really important that you’re confident in your role (or that you aim to grow in confidence over time) and that you are clear about what and why you want to change travel behaviour in your organisation. If you or your organisation has a Travel Plan already make sure you know it thoroughly. If you’re not confident, don’t worry. Set out on a plan to learn and use this website to help you on your way. Nothing undermines confidence more in others than hesitancy and bluffing!  

2. Do not assume that people are committed to your or the Travel Plan’s objectives to the same degree as you! 

People come at things from their own perspective and if you respect their opinions you are far more likely to engage them in your efforts. Each person you talk to will be at a different place on the continuum that goes from ‘not at all bothered about this’ all the way to ‘utterly committed to do the most I can’. Take a look at Do Travel Plans Work? and this will provide you an indication of the scale of change you can expect to see from your Travel Plan and the measures it contains. 

3. Different people are motivated by different things.

Some will want to take part due to the financial savings they can make, others will want to do it for the environment. Your task is to identify their trigger and focus on that. You should be able to get some vital clues on this from the travel survey which is part of the Travel Plan process. Some people won’t be motivated to take part at all and that’s fine, don’t use your energy pushing at doors that aren’t already open. Key Benefits of a Travel Plan might give you an idea of the triggers your organisation and its individuals will have towards travel planning.

4. Provide participants with the knowledge and understanding that lies behind the behaviour change you are encouraging. 

They are far more likely to keep going if they are able to remind themselves of how their actions connect to the bigger picture. Again use content in this website to help.

5. Be a positive and aspirational role model.

Leading by example is one of the most subtle and effective ways of encouraging people to change their behaviour. Throughout this website we’ve included things you can try out for yourself. In doing so, you’re less likely to be seen to be a hypocrite who’s just asking someone else to make a change.

6. People are far more likely to change if they feel they are doing it for someone else or as part of a group "competing" against each other! 

Do make it personal and do offer regular support by offering encouragement and showing a genuine interest in their progress.

7. Try and create opportunities for participants to come together. 

The more times they come into contact with you and other participants, the more likely they are to keep going.

8. Don’t expect people to change all at once.

It is inevitable that some will slip back but if they do simply encourage them to get back on track. It’s especially important to remind your Senior Management of this, particularly if their organisational and individual commitment appears to be waning.

9. New behaviours take a while to become habits.

Research shows that we have to repeat something over a period of at least 3 weeks for it to become habit.

10. Reward progress and say well done!

If people have made the effort and made changes, however small, it’s extremely important to recognise this and to congratulate them in whatever way you see fit. This way you will build people’s confidence in their own ability to make the changes. Always let people know what the incentives and rewards will be because by providing the prospect of a benefit you are encouraging them to stay with it.
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