Making behaviour change at events easy, attractive, social and timely

by Livvy Drake

Are you determined to make your events sustainable and for your staff and attendees do the same?

The key to this is understanding how to engage audiences, so here are four principles to consider for your sustainability initiatives, which can also be applied to your COVID safe plans too. 

One of the most valuable insights from behavioural psychology is that that much of human behaviour is NOT governed by the rational part of our brain, and in fact our brains are driven with the more primitive drivers that sit in the reptilian and mammal parts of the brain which are hardwired by:  

If you are looking to deliver behaviour change, it is not enough to:

​When tackling behaviour change at events, we would highly recommend taking time putting yourself in the shoes of your audience to see what factors are leading to their actions, and where you would have the best impact in driving change. 

When you come to develop an initiative or communications for your desired behaviour change, make sure it fits with these four principles from the behavioural insights team: EASY, ATTRACTIVE, SOCIAL, TIMELY.


Our brains are wired for the easy option e.g. jumping in a car, grabbing a single-use plastic bottle or coffee cup so how can you either: 

  • Remove the easy option or make it much harder e.g. increase car parking costs or hide the disposable cups 
  • Remove the barriers to the desirable behaviour e.g. by putting on public transport or providing reusable coffee cups

Thank you sign on the Recycling Exchange at Shambala Festival 2017


Hovering over some dirty looking event bins is not an attractive behaviour at an event. So how is the action, you asking people to do going to be an attractive proposition? 


Humans are social creatures and are constantly looking for cues for what the appropriate actions are in a social situation (social norms). So ensure that the desired behaviour is:  


Our brains will only comprehend and process information when it is relevant, it filters out a lot of information to avoid overload. So if you want a message to be processed they need to appear at the point that behaviour is being considered.
This means:

Want to know more?  Watch The Sustainable Events Mastermind.

To apply more behaviour change theory to your events, sign up for this upcoming workshop

(recordings available)

See more posts from the blog: