It’s almost embarrassing to write this blog post! Such a simple thing… but we’ve seen this done so badly over the years, we thought it was worth putting a short post together. What are we talking about? Name tags of course!
We’ve all been to a workshop or conference, and had the dubious pleasure of not remembering the name of the person we’re chatting to and finding it almost impossible to read the name tag because it’s too small, covered up, or my pet hate, hanging on a lanyard that is so long you have to awkwardly look well below eye level and if they’re sitting down, it might hang below the table and be totally invisible. Sometimes you just can’t read that name on the name tag!
Often people think that doing things “properly” means printing things out and making them look really neat. While we do think that is important at times, when it comes to name tags, sometimes the simple ideas are the best. Here’s a few tips from us…
Firstly if you’re going to print out name tags – make sure the person’s first name is large and readable at three paces! Often there’s a whole lot of information crammed onto name tags: first and last name, organisation, location and of course a few logos to fill in any empty space. I think it’s important to keep it simple and have an easy-to-read first name. So make it large and bold, use upper and lower case text (because that is easier to read), and have it on its own line towards the top of the name tag. Check to see who has the longest first name and make that fit on one line, and then use that size for all the others.
In fact, sometimes it’s not all that important to print things out. Just grab a roll of 24 mm masking tape and a black sharpie (what others might call a permanent marker!) and write out name tags on the spot as people arrive. You can write along the tape while it’s still on the roll, and then tear it off. Some people prefer to cut them into equal lengths and stick them on a table top and then write the names there and then peel them off. You can get people to write them out themselves, or, as you’re introducing yourself, you can ask them their name and how it is spelt. That way everyone has the same name tag.
Masking tape is surprising good at sticking on most fabric, without leaving sticky marks or holes. And the best part is that you can get people to put them high up high on their chests, so the labels are always easy to read.
Denise has a colleague who uses the same approach and she told the story of having a visitor to their group one day and they wrote out a name tag on masking tape and gave it to the visitor. He commented that he felt like he was part of the group – he had the same name tag as the rest! And that helped set things up for success as he could slot into the group with no problems.
Another tip is that if you do print out name tags for lanyards, then make them the same on both sides. Lanyards have a habit of twisting themselves around and if the tags are one sided – even if they are nice and clear – you still end up with the problem of not being able to see the name!
And now you can even get fabric printed name tags! These are made by Avery (and are available at Officeworks stores, though there are probably similar ones made by other companies available at other stores too). They come in sheets of 8 labels per A4 page and you can put them through a laser printer. Alternatively, you can just write on them with permanent markers. They’re just like the paper labels only they’re fabric and they stick really well to clothing, unlike the paper ones which often peel off after an hour or so. They do look good, but they are a lot more expensive than good old masking tape!
We’ve covered a lot of ground, but name tags are a useful item, so it’s worth doing them well.
You’ve read our thoughts, now we’d like to read yours! Add a comment below this blog post and tell us your experiences with name tags! What’s worked for you? Any tips or ideas? We don’t want this to just be a one-way conversation – join in by sharing your thoughts with us!
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