Name badge nightmares? – Welcome to the field of event organizing!
“The badge” – seemingly an insignificant event detail – often raises a red flag during the race to the finish line. When every minute is precious in the days before a business event, you might even wonder if you should follow through with this tedious part of event prep. I have contemplated this option many times. But having considered pros and cons, I believe the benefits for the guests outweigh any sacrifices on the event prep team’s side:
I am witnessing over and over again that people find comfort in hearing their own name, and ‘warm up’ faster to those who use it. Especially at business events, a first positive association can certainly help get a conversation and a potential business relationship off to a good start.
Let’s face it: most of us are terrible with names. The name badge serves as a reminder, and helps avoid any potential missteps. Having essential identifying information ‘at hand’ at the right time can open the door for opportunities, and provide a platform for your guests to shine and impress.
A little name badge-guidance has also been known to serve as a convenient conversation starter. I will admit, they might not be the most creative openers, but a first step into unknown waters has been known to lead to meaningful developments.
Networking is one of the major reasons people attend business events. Color-coded name badges can guide your guests, and spark interaction with industry affiliates, potential sponsors and such. Incorporating background information on the badge makes it an invaluable tool in the quest of expanding a business network.
And last but not least, social media has also been gaining momentum in business circles. I personally believe a QR code for a vCard is more at home on a business card than a name badge. But that might come from me not enjoying people pointing their cell phones at my chest, and my dislike for lanyard badges dangling at my waist. Nevertheless, I believe in adding twitter handles, and LinkedIn information to badges – with mobile devices at hand, they make connecting a quick and easy reality!
Now, let me share a few tips to avoid name badge nightmares, and to get the badge just right for your next business event:
- Get it from the horse’s mouth
Request the information for the name badge during RSVP procedures; This will keep you from having to double-check the contact’s current details, and save you time.
- Use quality badges & be sensitive to guest’s attire
The type of badge reflects on your event; There are many options: clips, lanyard, magnet … just browse the Web! Be sure to use badges that will not damage fabrics. Nobody wants to leave an event with holes, wrinkles and adhesive stains on their outfit!
- Brand your event
Include the event or company logo, and don’t be shy to reflect your CD on the event name badge. Boosting your brand recognition is priceless!
- Keep the badge clean & assure legibility
First name, last name, and organization are in most cases sufficient. Don’t overcrowd the name badge with titles such as PhD, MA, or the guest’s position – for business events in the US, that is. Social status and rules are entirely different for parts of Europe, so beware! Remember that simple is king (and queen for that matter); I prefer 24pt font or larger, and keeping the color simply black.
- Include Social Media info
Twitter handles, and LinkedIn Profile info should be included on today’s business name badges as well; It makes following-up as easy as 1-2-3! I prefer to add this info at the bottom left of the badge.
- Avoid long registration lines
Split lines for picking up name badges by alphabet for events with more than 50 attendants; Make sure appropriate signage directs your guests to their name’s table, and that there is sufficient staff for support.
- Find just the right placement
For easy visibility, encourage your guests to wear the badge above the right breastbone; In line with your handshake, this placement will minimize awkward glances.
- Ban the makeshift badge
Have a system for producing additional badges in place (today’s small printers are divine!); Just as there are always no-shows, there are also always guests who didn’t make it through the formal registration process. Don’t have those guests roam the room with a ‘scarlet letter’ on their chests.
- Support networking
Use color codes, e.g. different background, paper, or graphics, to distinguish between attendants of different professional backgrounds, interests, etc; This helps people find each other, and serves as a conversation starter.
Collect badges upon departure of your guests for ‘recycling’ – reuse! It’s good for the wallet, and the environment
Are you a lover or a hater of the badge?
Please share with your network if you find this post interesting. Thanks!
This post was also published at Social Tables