It may sound trite, but in this industry we all deal with name tags. Employers make suppliers wear company-issued name tags while at work and when they’re off-site but still representing the company. Then think trade shows, networking luncheons, committee meetings and such.
For planners, all meetings, almost without fail, require the procurement, production, organization and distribution of name tags. Like them or not, we all use them. Not always wisely, however, or effectively and purposefully.
Some people feel awkward with a name tag. They don’t know where to put them. Left or right, high or low? It’s only a name tag, you say. You might even be thinking, “Why is this woman writing about name tags?” It’s because I recently met a planner who got her start in the industry by being in charge of printing her company’s name tags for an event. She did such a stellar job with the simplest, most menial task that she ultimately was promoted.
Getting it right
She volunteered for the job no one else wanted so she could get involved in the company event. She thought through the project from start to finish — who’d wear the name tags, who’d see them, what needed to be communicated to each person reading one. She investigated badge sizes, type size, lettering, how the company logo would look as well as it would cost in time and money to add color. She outlined a schedule and the number of people she’d need on-site to distribute the name tags in an organized way.
When she shared this information with the event’s organizers, they were dumbfounded. They’d previously provided write-your-own, stick-on badges (and got the expected effect). Some attendees wore them, some didn’t. They couldn’t be read or used effectively during the event because vital networking information was missing — name, title, position, company/division name, branch office.
It’s all about the NAME
We all know what’s needed on a proper name tag, yet at event after event we see work of poor quality in this basic assignment — badges with so much information you can’t read them without a magnifying glass; badges with so many apps, bar codes, ribbons and logos that you can’t find the person’s name without scanning the app and scrolling the attendance roster. This defeats the basic purpose of having a name badge, which is, obviously, TO TELL PEOPLE YOUR NAME!
The next time you’re on name-tag duty, consider these tips:
- Name tags go on the right lapel/shoulder (apologies to left-handers). Think about the handshake and the fact that your eye travels to the right shoulder.
- Name tags must be readable. Pay attention to font, color, shading and background, etc.
- Women should pay particular attention to positioning the badge. Shorter women should knot name tags with lanyards behind their necks to raise the badge above chest level.
- Stock extra blank name tags, even if they’re the stick-on type. It’s better to have something than to have an attendee go without identification.
- Give thought to walk-ins and guests, making sure to include as much information on their badges as possible so they resemble the printed badges.
Have we beaten this subject to death yet? Maybe, but think about this: Have you ever seen a Disney employee without a name tag? (We think not.) Have you ever tried to enter a classified government office without adhering to its employee/guest protocol requiring an ID badge? (Don’t expect even to see the restroom there unless your badge is in plain sight.)
What’s in a name tag? At the very least, a name in a BIG, BOLD TYPEFACE! Beyond that, please print responsibly.
Please share your tips and comments on name tags in the comment box below. Thank you!