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!

Giving and Receiving Gifts Year-Round

by Syndi Seid

Anthropologist Terry Y. LeVine said it best: “The practice of giving and receiving gifts is so universal it is part of what it means to be human. In virtually every culture, gifts and the events at which they are exchanged are a crucial part of the essential process of creating and maintaining social relationships.”

December is the biggest gift giving month of the year. Yet there are endless reasons to give gifts throughout the year: personal gifts for birthdays, weddings, graduations and holidays, as well as business gifts to say thank you for a job well done, congratulations on a promotion, or I’m sorry for not performing as expected.

The purpose of giving gifts is to bring joy to both the giver and receiver, promote goodwill, and make for a closer relationship. However, if gift giving goes amiss, there is a risk of making the receiver uncomfortable and creating an unpleasant situation for both sides. To avoid any ill-effects from your gift giving practices, keep in mind these simple tips.

WHEN YOU GIVE:

  1. Be sure of the true purpose of the gift. Beyond saying the gift is for a particular occasion, think through how well this gift will express your feelings for this person. To figure this out, ask yourself: how much do I really are about this person? How much time, energy and money am I willing to spend to select just the right gift for them? Let the answers guide you throughout this process.
  2. Do your homework about the receiver. Be observant about his or her favorite items, things he or she might need, or things that would be a meaningful expression of your relationship. Try to remember comments about favorite colors, foods or beverages. As needed, ask someone else who knows the person, explaining that the purpose of your inquiry is to help learn something that will help you select a special gift. I think most people are willing to help with ideas.
  3. Be sensitive to personal and cultural differences. With such a diverse population in our society, it is important to learn something about a person’s ethnic, religious and cultural practices along with their personal likes and dislikes before you present a gift. Take time to learn what’s appropriate and what’s not in different communities to gain insights on what a person would or would not appreciate as a gift. For example, giving a bottle of wine to someone who does not drink alcohol could make the receiver less than overjoyed with your gift.
  4. Know when corporate logos are appropriate. Sometimes a gift with a company logo cheapens its appearance. The best gifts are those without any logos or promotion on it, especially when given as special thank-you gift. Logo gifts are fine as small remembrances for meetings held; not generally as the sincerest form of a thank you gift.
  5. Use simple and elegant wrapping. Japanese-influenced, understated wrapping is best in my mind. Avoid using brightly colored, bold, heavily patterned paper and a lot of brightly colored, fancy bows and ribbons on the package. Instead, use solid stately colors and quality paper with simple ribbon.
  6. Present your gift with style. The best way is having it gift beautifully wrapped and given in person. In business situations, when sending the gift by messenger or mail, include your business card with the gift, along with a handwritten note on personal note card or stationary.

WHEN YOU RECEIVE:

  1. Show your appreciation when receiving a gift in person. Always put a smile on your face as a gift is being presented and say thank you along with a brief expression of appreciation.
  2. Let the giver know as soon as possible when a gift has arrived. Make every effort to let the sender know you received a gift sent by mail or messenger (email, fax or telephone call is fine). Then follow it up by sending the proper thank-you note as soon as possible.
  3. Be sensitive to opening a gift in front of others. Americans typically open gifts as soon as it is received, even in front of an audience and other groups of people. Know that in many cultures it is not customary or appropriate to open gifts in front of guests. They are kept to be opened alone.
  4. Know the bottom line. Always hand write a thank you note for every gift you receive, no matter what…period. Sending a thank you note is the right thing to do.

Happy Practicing!

Syndi Seid is a regular contributing writer, professional speaker/trainer and founder of a San Francisco-based business that offers free monthly etiquette articles.

Donation to the Granite Education Foundation

This marks the third consecutive year that Name Tag, Inc. has donated to the Granite Education Foundation. This year, we donated $5,000 which was used to help purchase Walmart and Payless ShoeSource gift cards. The gift cards will be distributed to needy children in Salt Lake City’s Granite School District who need warm coats and shoes this winter.

We here at Coller Industries are happy to help the foundation again this year.

“All of the people at Coller Industries are pleased to be able to help others during this Christmas season. We have been successful so it is only appropriate that we help those who happen to be down on their luck right now,” said Clyde Coller, founder and CEO of Coller Industries.

Some samples of little notes and cards from students and families who benefited from our donation last year:

“I really needed the clothes. You helped me a lot, Thank you.”

“Thank you for helping us with the gift certificate for my children. My children were very happy. I am very grateful for the help that you provided for my family. Thank you for helping us out during our hardship. May God bless you so that you can continue to help families in need.”

“Thank you so much for helping make this Christmas a good one for our girls. We truly appreciate your thoughtfulness.”

“Thank you for the stuff you gave to the school that was very nice of you I thank you I like all the things I got.”

“Thank you for the clothes, they keep me warm and I look handsome in them.”

“I wanted to let you know how truly grateful we are for your generous donation. You might view your donation as something small but to those who need a little extra help its a true gift. I’m blessed to know there are still people with giving hearts, especially in trying times like now. Your gift means everything to us.”

“Thank you so much for your help this past Christmas. Your gifts were a true Blessing, and it showed us the true meaning of the season. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

Would you like to apply for a donation? Send us an email at marketing@nametag.com

12 Points on Name Tag Etiquette

By, Syndi Seid

1.  Why Name Tags
When preparing name tags, think through the purpose for the name tags. Always show the names in spoken order that is your given name, followed by your surname/last name and affiliation. Think twice about the need to provide any information beyond these basics.

2. Writing a Name Tag
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.

3.  Using Honorifics
Except for specialized events honorifics and titles are not typically used on name tags. These include Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr., PhD., M.D., General Manager or 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…”
I confess I don’t like this particular style of name tag. Admittedly, they do serve a purpose for highly informal occasions. But, they do seem very elementary and out of place in a professional setting. It’s best to use clean, professional looking sheets, either with or without colored borders.

5. Squint Factor
Nothing is more disappointing than to attend a conference or professional meeting, only to arrive at check-in and discover the name tags are 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.

6.  Printing Name 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 Arial 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.

7.  Use of an Affiliation and Logo
Even though it’s important to give attention to the sponsoring organization, always remember the most important information on the name tag is the person’s name, not the organization. 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 dominate the tag.

8. 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 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 full name as one’s personal branding vehicle.

9.  Creating your reusable name badge for use at various events…
While arriving with your very own custom designed name tag assures your name and affiliation will be presented to your absolute liking, yet 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 name tag, you may inadvertently convey the impression of being a party crasher!

10. Company ID Badges
Many companies require the staff to wear name badges for instant identification purposes. In this case, it’s customary to wear such badges on the left shoulder.

11. Placing Name Tags Straight and in Plain View
Never allow your name tag to be worn crooked, sideways or even 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.

Never wear a badge upside down. Though it may sound silly to say, believe it or not I know someone who deliberately wears his name badge upside down. He claims it’s the best way to meet women. Why? Because, he says women will go out of their way to approach him just to help him correct what they perceive as his oversight. My friend claims men are far less likely to mention it or bother helping. Needless to say, I don’t recommend this practice to anyone. In my book this tactic sends the signal: here’s a person who cares little about the image he conveys. Who would want to convey the impression that something as simple as properly wearing a name badge was purposefully missed; what else might be missing? In other words, while it is possible that one person may take this for humor; another person may take it as incompetence. Why risk creating this kind of confusion?

12.  Last, but not least: where to wear 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. Place the tag or badge as high up on your right shoulder as possible to give 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 on your shoulder, this helps your tag to lie flat and be more secure.

These points are is especially relevant to women, as most women feel awkward drawing attention to an area of our chests we would prefer not to do. By placing it in an easy to read and visible place keeps the focus where it should be.

Happy Practicing!

Syndi Seid is a world’s leading etiquette trainer, celebrity speaker and founder of San Francisco-based Advanced Etiquette.

Keys to a Successful Spring Event

By, Michael Green

Getting ready for a Spring event? Make sure you and your staff get your feet in all the right doors by utilizing our keys to a successful spring event.

Key #1: Communication

Did you do your research on your target audience?

Having 500 people attend your event is great, but it matters a lot less if your speakers talk about selling backpacking equipment to computer nerds. Present the right information to the right people, and you’ll yield much greater results. Did you get the best speakers possible for your event?

A lot of times you can get really great speakers just by showing you have a decent attendance rate, the better the speakers, the better the event.
Don’t hand out brochures at the event itself.

The only long term marketing materials you should expect people to hold on to after the event are your handouts. These items are things like lanyards, mugs, water bottles, anything permanent and reusable that people can get some use out of that displays your company logo and information so you stay in mind.

Key #2: Identification

Is a name badge available for every person who walks through the door?

This is crucial. People need to be easily identified–you, your staff, guests, speakers, everyone–it can help you build and maintain your brand, among other things.

Take it a step further for VIPs. Consider name badge ribbons for your speakers, board members and important guests to help them stand out and feel appreciated.This helps in the long run, as the more effective speakers will want to come back and help your cause and their own simultaneously. Give as many options as your budget allows. Magnetic fasteners are great; just be aware that some people have pacemakers. Have another option available for them (pin, clip, etc.).

Key #3: Staying Organized

Don’t try to wing it.

Do your guests know the event schedule? Have one prepared and available well before the event date.

Numbers matter. Get an accurate head count, and pass this info to your caterer, as well as your purchasing agents. Too much or too little of anything can get you into a whole heap of trouble.

Assign seating. At least organized by guest category. You’ll want all your speakers sitting up front, probably in chronological order and so forth.
Spell it out.

Are your staff and volunteers trained and prepared to do their assigned tasks? Having job descriptions for anyone involved really helps move things along without taking up your time for constant reminders and explanations.

Key #4: Remember who’s got you covered.

From (hopefully) helpful tips to all your promotional and identification product needs, Coller Industries Incorporated has you covered.