To Wear, Or Not To Wear. What is a Name Tag?

Many people feel that name tags are pointless and kind of a pain to wear. While most of these people will complain about wearing a name tag, they can all agree on one thing. That is the point of the name tag in the first place. Once someone is wearing a name tag, it becomes easier to identify them. So, those who become self-conscious once they actually break and don a name tag or name badge, they will agree that the identification does aid in the day-to-day activities.

andertoons name tags name badges hate wearingWhile there was a focus on Scott Ginsberg, a man who wears a name tag every day, Mark Anderson is annoyed by this small personal identification tool. Anderson says, “Well, I should say I hate wearing a name tag. I find them very useful when I’m speaking to someone because I’m horrible with names, but I always feel self-conscious with that big red ‘Hi, I’m Mark’ branded on my chest.”

“So, instead of hobnobbing and mingling, I set my mind to work on other ways people are identified with tags or signs, and this cartoon popped out. I suppose a therapist might suggest that I was feeling trapped in my job, but mostly I just felt goofy, and was able to turn it to my advantage. This cartoon came from attending one of those business events where I had to wear a name tag.”

In rebuttal against these feelings, name tags really are a great equalizer. Name tags always help out when meeting a lot of people at once, such as a conference or convention, and in a short time frame. “If everybody wears name tags, no more fighting, no more intolerance and no more disrespect,” says Scott Ginsberg. Wearing a name tag where people can easily see and read it makes getting to know them easier and puts everyone ease. The important thing to remember is that when meeting a lot of different people, they have an easier way to really remember who you are and what you stand for. No one will be left to assume anything about anyone with the simple aid of personal identification. Name tags RULE (even if we are biased)!

Name Tag Etiquette-Part 2: Printing Name Tags

A guest blog by Syndi Seid

Providing well pre-printed name tags is one of the most effective investments you can make to the success of an event, especially a networking event. Yet many people waste this great opportunity to help guests meet and greet at an optimum level. Here are a few tips to insure your name tags not only look great but are also the most productive.

1. First and last name, please: I am not a believer in printing name tags with the first name larger than the last name or ones with only a first name. Obviously you will be drawn to seeing the person’s first name, yet when the last name is too small to be easily read, I often totally dismiss it and as a result never remember the person in their totality… especially when the person has a common first name. A person’s full identity is derived from knowing both a person’s first and last name. Always print both the first and last name on two separate lines, with additional information onto a third line, as helpful.

2. No honorifics and titles: Do not place honorifics such as Ph.D. or Dr. or titles such as President or Sales Manager on a name tag. You can learn this information as you converse. Only at special events will honorifics or titles be helpful, such as a doctor’s convention where the doctor’s specialty may be nice to know or a company wide conference to know in what city various participants work.

3. Affiliations only: In addition to a person’s first and last name, the only other information to print is a person’s company or organization name. This is a great way to begin conversations.

4. Positioning counts: While we should all be proud of the organizations with which we are affiliated, it is not as important to see the name at the top of the tag as it is to view the person’s name. Logos should be placed at the bottom of the tag in a font size that’s easy to read, yet not equal to or larger than the font size used for the person’s name. Again, what’s most important is a person’s name, not the organization. This is particularly true when I gaze across the room. I want to see the person’s name, not the logo I already recognize.

5. MOST IMPORTANTFont size matters: Name tags must be printed in a font size that practically fills the tag. It is a total waste of printing space to print tags in small or 12 point type. I always begin printing tags using 40 point type. Depending on the length of the names, I will then adjust the font size to fit the names on each line. Some names are larger or shorter, so adjust the font size accordingly.

Be sure to forward this newsletter to anyone who has the task of printing or creating name tags. Email us any questions you have about how to best print your tags.

Happy Practicing!!!

Syndi Seid is a world’s leading etiquette expert on international business protocol and social Etiquette. For more information on Syndi and other free tips, see www.AdvancedEtiquette.com.

Name Tag Etiquette-Part 1: How to write and wear one

A guest blog by Syndi Seid

Names tags/badges are the best way to identify yourself at any event, especially when networking is a primary focus. Follow these guidelines and you will never be in jeopardy of sabotaging your own success.

1. When preparing a name tag, think through the purpose of the tag… which is of course to identify yourself. Always show your name in spoken order…  that is your given name, followed by your surname or last name, and affiliation. Think twice about the need to provide any more information beyond these basics.

2. Use only big, bold block letters in all caps or with upper and lower case letters. Avoid script or cursive handwriting and do not add personalized touches that could be confusing.  No matter how well lit a room may be, it is always more difficult to decipher cursive handwriting, particularly by those from other countries or ethnic origins whose first language is not your own.

3. Forget any honorifics: Except for specialized events where honorifics and titles are a part of the event’s protocol, they are not necessary; to the point its gives the impression of self-importance. These include Mr., Mrs., Ms. Dr., PhD., or M.D.; General Manager, President. Because name tags are intended to quickly show a person’s simple identity, they should only indicate first and last (surname), and affiliation.

4. “Hello, my name is” name tags: I confess to personally not liking this particular style of name tag. To me they only serve a purpose for kids, is a waste of space, and is out of place in professional settings. Its best to use clean, professional-looking sheets, either with or without colored borders.

5. Squint Factor: There is nothing more disappointing than to arrive at check-in to see the name tags terribly under-presented — names are printed too small, company affiliation so small you can’t make it out, and every other detail shy of your birth date is loaded onto the badge, plus the logo of the hosting organization is displayed really big. For information on how to properly print name badges, please see a separate article exclusively dedicated to how to print badges properly.

6.Handwriting your own tag: Write your information in a size at least one-quarter inch high.  Allow as much white space as possible; it helps others to read the badge more easily.

7. Printed Tags: When generating pre-printed tags on a computer,  take care when choosing an appropriate font and font size.  For tags I produce personally, I find 40-point Ariel type is a good starting point for first and last names and affiliation.  Sometimes it take a little extra time to employ a little trial and error to find the correct font size and balance.  I assure you it will be well worth the effort for the optimum results.

8. Use of an affiliation and logo: Even though it’s important to give due attention to the sponsoring organization, always remember that the most important information on the name tag is the person’s name.  By this I mean, the bulk of the space should be devoted to presenting the person’s full name; thus, the scale of the logo or sponsoring affiliation should be much smaller in comparison to the attendee’s name.  It should never be the reverse.

9. Printing the first name larger than the last name: While there are no hard and fast rules governing whether to enlarge the person’s first name, I submit that it’s best to print both the first and last name in the same size font.  With so many men and women sharing the same first name, it can be confusing seeing lots of Susans or Stevens walking around. This underscores the value of regarding one’s own name as one’s personal branding vehicle.

10. Using your own reusable name badge at various events: While arriving with your very own custom-designed name tag assures your name and affiliation will be printed to your absolute liking, it may not be in your best interest to do so. Consider this: event planners usually create name tags specific to a particular occasion as a way of identifying—at a glance—those who legitimately belong at the event and those who don’t. By wearing your own personal name tag, you may inadvertently convey the impression of being a party crasher.

11. Where to place a name tag or badge: Networking — whether at professional functions or at social events, always wear it on your upper right shoulder. Here’s why:

  • By wearing the tag or badge as high up on your right shoulder as possible it gives other people the best and easiest view of both the tag and your face.
  • As you extend your right hand for a handshake, your eye and arm are already being drawn to the right side of the person you are greeting.
  • Because the upper most part of your chest is the flattest area below your shoulder, this helps your tag to lie flat and be more secure.

This third point is especially relevant to women.  Most of us feel awkward drawing attention to an area of our body most people prefer not be stared at. By placing the tag high up in an easy to read and visible place, it keeps the focus on the tag where it should be.

12. Company ID badges:  Many companies require the staff to wear name badges for instant identification purposes. In this case, it is appropriate to wear such badges on the left shoulder.

BONUS: Placing name tags straight and in plain view:
Never allow your name tag to be worn crooked, sideways or upside down. It sends a negative message to others, usually implying a lack of respect for the occasion or lack of care or interest in your personal appearance.

Question: What other tips do you have to add to this list?  Let us hear from you!

Happy Practicing!!!

Byline: Syndi Seid is a world’s leading etiquette expert on international business protocol and social Etiquette. For more information on Syndi and other tips, see www.AdvancedEtiquette.com.

Tune in next week for part 2!