I’ve spent a lot of time traveling the past month and was at a great number of events. At every event I went to they have some personal identification to attach to the body, whether that is a badge with a clip, a badge on a lanyard to hang around one’s neck or a sticker.
The badge is important. These events are often quite loud and it is hard to hear a name. Plus I found I met so many people that names ran together, so having a badge to refer back to is important. The badge itself really only needs to say one thing — the person’s name. And the first name in particular needs to be very large. Bonus information is a company name, which can act as a conversation starter. (“So, what do you do at XYZ Corporation?”) It amazes me how few conferences get this right.
Since I have been at so many of these in the last month and I repeatedly see the badge screwed up, I thought I would provide a primer on proper badge etiquette.
Hang it high as close to the face as possible without being weird.
This is the best place. By hanging it as close to the face as possible — and assuming the name is big enough — it allows me to quickly glance down to see your name without truly diverting my entire head. By being able to glance down quickly, this keeps me from admitting visually that I forgot your name already. When hung lower I end up spending the entire conversation trying to figure out how to look at your name without looking like I forgot your name, which in essence causes me to miss the entire conversation.
The name needs to be as big as possible.
Come on! You’ve got a whole card to work with. Write it big so I can see it. There’s no reason to save the rest of the card for anything. In this case the conference name is bigger than the person’s name. Do they really think I don’t know what conference I’m at?
Don’t play hide the name badge.
This one drives me nuts. The conference goes through all this trouble to provide name badges and then you stick it on a shirt and put on a jacket. The badge is behind the jacket. What’s the point of that?
Lanyards work but it isn’t the best option.
Lanyards — the piece of rope they use to put the badge around your neck — works, too, but they are usually too long. When talking to someone the badge usually ends up around the sternum, which when talking to someone is too far down to glance at and easily see what it says. Remember, at conferences we don’t talk at a normal distance. At conferences, just to hear the person you are talking to, we tend to stand at an inside-my-aura distance. This makes a low-hanging badge extra hard to see since the angle is all wrong.
Backwards name badges suck, too.
The lanyard badge above is a great design. It is very hard for it to flip backwards. But most lanyards have one tie in the middle and thus flips around backward. If you are organizing a conference, don’t be cheap. Buy the better lanyards. If you are at a conference with these flippable badges then it takes constant vigilance to keep it facing name-out.
If you are female don’t hang it on your breast.
For goodness sakes, I feel like a total creep the entire conversation if I need to look at that badge. Really. Even if you like it, I don’t.
I really don’t want to be glancing at your chest. Because of the placement I tend to glance fast — I don’t want to stare at some woman’s chest — which means if I miss the name I have to glance again! Oh, how humiliating.
And finally, never, ever hang it on your belt.
Seriously, folks, no one in their right mind wants to stare at your crotch.