I talk about event networking strategies all the time. I always start with the basics – name tags. Generally, the subject gets very little respect and some eye-rolling. I can see you through the screen.
So if this is such a no-brainer, easy thing, why doesn’t anyone get it right?
I recently attended two events in different parts of the country. One had the typical lanyards that hung the name tag down by the belly button and 50% of the time it was flipped over so all I could see was the blank back. Am I the only one that notices these things? I decided to I ask other attendees what they thought — and they agreed with me. One attendee said, “I feel weird because it’s like I’m staring at everyone’s stomach or crotch.” Plus most of the time you can’t even read it. The whole thing is just awkward.
The other event I attended had really cool-looking name tags, that were pinned on and had everyone’s first name in huge letters and then a company name in teeny, tiny letters. We were all squinting at each others’ name tags and it felt like we were taking the hardest eye test in the world.
Why, oh why do event organizers not get it about how important it is to be able to read a name tag and get the important info on it? The right name tags are critical so your attendees can get the most out of networking. When I’ve asked, they say they usually refer to the sponsor they’ve had for a million years. The event organizer gets a couple of thousand bucks and the sponsor gets their logo on the lanyard. They don’t even consider how a hard-to-read name tag can negatively affect and even hinder the networking at their events. Networking is one of the biggest reasons attendees attend events!
And it’s such an easy fix.
I will (try to) promise that this is the last time I go on on my name tag rant. Your name tags are your open opportunity to make networking easy at your event, which is a super important component for both attendees and sponsors.
Here are some keys to getting it right:
- Use magnets — NOT lanyards. With the magnet you can place the name-tag in just the right position so everyone can read it. Easy to see, no awkward viewing perspective and it doesn’t put a hole in your clothes like a pin does. Plus your attendees can still fit their handy micro-agenda, etc behind the tag.
- Make the name tag big. Put all the key networking info there upfront to start the conversation rolling. First name big, last name small. Job title, company name, city and state, all easy to read. This is all the info you really need.
- There’s still a sponsorship opportunity. Kill the lanyard with the sponsor logo. Instead, place the sponsor name or logo in a prominent position at the top of the name tag where everyone can actually see it. Sell it as a desired location for a key sponsor.
That’s all there is to it, event organizers! Please change your lame name tag ways and let the very important networking and fun begin!!!
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