I imagine that most of us have worn our fair share of those stick-on name badges found at every convention, trade show, and special event. I can’t – and won’t – begin to count how many have graced my lapels over the years. It wasn’t until the The Wall Street Journal ran a front page story (yes, front page!) on this very topic that I began to think about the lowly nametag and, more importantly, its purpose.
The WSJ piece focused on the pros and cons of various name badge accoutrements including the clip, the plastic sleeve, the type size, and the choice of font. I, of course, being the small talker that I am, believe whole-heartedly in the nametag. I compare it to using the blinker in your car; not totally necessary, but a nice touch.
Oh, how I wish nametags could fix the all the problems of the world! In the meantime, here are a few tips when it comes to the name game:
- If you are creating nametags for an event, be kind and don’t junk up the real estate with a lot of logos and clip art. Place the first name of the person in a large font; add their full name, title and company underneath their first name.
- Place your nametag close to your left shoulder. Most of us are right handed, by placing your tag on the left shoulder, you avoid knocking it loose when reaching out to shake hands, take a drink, or write a note.
- Ladies, do not place your nametag on your purse – nobody can see it. And guys, don’t clip your tag to your belt buckle. Please don’t make me explain why.
- If you encounter someone you have met before – someone whose name you should know – you do know – you’ve just forgotten this very instant! Don’t try to sneak a peek at the nametag; you will never get away with it. Instead, be obvious and look, saying “Oh, Margaret – I was hoping they wouldn’t shorten your name to Maggie! At the last event I attended, my name was changed from Debra to Deb!” Or take a glance and say, “Jeff, so good to see you – I see from your tag that you are still with XYZ company. What changes have you seen since you started?”