The Art of the Nametag

Nothing is as useful or necessary a conference tool as a nametag.   When done right, nametags can be a friendly ice breaker in a crowded room of strangers.  Not only do they say “it’s okay to talk to me” but nametags literally eliminate all the game playing, posturing and guesswork.  A nametag puts it all out there on the table allowing you to be open, honest, accountable, confident and proud right from the get-go.  But what are some of the absolutes of nametag wearing?   From what we hear from the many conference attendees who visit ACE Conference Center, the how to’s of nametags are pretty straightforward:

  • Make your own nametag BEFORE you leave your office and head to the conference.  Why?  Because you can’t count on the conference name tag to be LEGIBLE.   Plus, when you pre-make your own nametag you can include your company logo which ensures better brand recognition during the conference.  If the conference or meeting you are attending requires you wear their nametag for security or identification purposes, wear both.   When most people forget names and faces within 30 minutes, you can’t repeat yourself enough.
  • Wear your nametag on the right hand side so it’s easier to see and read when shaking hands.  There are some exceptions for wearing nametags on the left, generally having to do with directing people and line of sight upon entering a room/space.  However, for standard meet-and-greets, the safest bet is to wear them on the right hand side just above the breast bone. 
  • Invest in magnetic name tags that allow attendees to wear them high enough for easy, fast reading without damaging their clothing.
  • Avoid wearing hanging name tags as they actually make it harder to network.  Half the time, the name badge is hanging down too low for a discrete glance or is flipped backward.  If you have to have them, and many attendees and planners prefer them or can’t swing for the more expensive magnetic tags, print your name on both sides even if it means you make a photocopy yourself in the business center.  Wrangling the lanyard higher by knotting it will also help make reading the tag an easier and less awkward problem.
  • Make sure your name is LEGIBLE from 30 feet away.  Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but the standard 10 feet just doesn’t seem enough in a dark or crowded space.  The nametag real estate should be all about sharing the attendee’s name in big BOLD lettering almost like it’s a highway sign!  
  • Forget about showcasing the name of the conference.  Most attendees know what they are attending and are happy to be there.  Instead, let the name of the attendee be the biggest print on the badge.   The conference logo and title can easily fit along the bottom of the nametag; thus, leaving the rest of the space for the name and company logo of the attendee who has traveled from afar to meet others.
  • Forgo the use of colored banners or ribbons that note such titles or positions as “attendee,” “speaker” or “sponsor.”  They are just more confusing to the eye and take up space.
  • Embrace the barcode system of identification for check-in, seminar attendance and trade booth sampling.   Barcodes for each attendee should be printed on the name tag or name badge for easy, fast swiping.
  • Absolutely print your name and company name in HUGE letters.  Did we say that already?  Can’t say it enough really.  It’s the whole purpose of the nametag. 

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