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Good Name Tags Help with Networking: Make it Easy to Know Your Name at Business Network Events

Name tags serve an important function at chamber of commerce mixers and other networking events, helping participants identify which attendees are of most interest to one another. This important tool, however, is often poorly designed or improperly used. Investing in and using a quality name tag properly is well worth the effort.


Bad Name Tag Design

Networkers will glance at name tags at a distance to identify persons or professions of interest. A good name tag will make that task easier, by avoiding some classic problems that have been institutionalized in business networking events.

  • Handwritten. In the computer age, handwriting is no longer an art. The stereotypically bad handwriting of doctors has expanded to anyone that uses computers more often than they use pens. Moreover, even a neatly-written name is not visible at a distance if a ball-point pen was used.
  • Business Card Holders. Just because a business card is well designed doesn’t mean that it should be crammed into a holder to serve double-duty as a name tag. Business cards are usually written in too small a font to be read at three to five feet. If the layout is vertical, it’s even worse.
  • Lanyards. One effective business networking organization, BNI, supplies a lanyard to its members for wearing the name tag over the head. Even those members that make a readable name tag instead of using a business card find themselves turning it over constantly, as it flips and bounces as they walk around. This detracts from time spent networking.

Best Practices for Name Tags

  • Make it magnetic. Invest in a magnetic-backed name tag. This can be worn on virtually any type of clothing without wresting with pins or the sticky back of a “Hello My Name Is” badge.
  • Test the font size. When you’re looking at name tag options, take a step back to see if it’s legible. If you’re under forty, take two steps back – older eyes will thank you.
  • Remember who you are. Your name and your business should both be prominent on the tag, and it should be easy to tell from one or the other roughly what you do. Your name tag will be used to decide if you’re worth talking to, so make sure it represents you fairly.
  • Wear it on the right. Most shirt logos and name tags are seen on the left breast. Wear your name tag on the right side so that it’s easier to read when you’re shaking hands.

The purpose of a name tag is to make its wearer’s name easy to read and remember. If it is hidden, too small, or illegible, it will not reinforce the message that is delivered through a warm smile and a firm handshake.

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