There is a bank here in Kansas City for which I do some work. One of the organization’s HR policies is, “Wear Your Name Badge.” And, in fact, when visiting any of the bank’s locations, I have yet to meet an associate of the institution who is not wearing his or her name tag It makes each member of the organization seem a little friendlier, a little more approachable… kind of like we already know one another. Name tags are wonderful tools for networking that we should all utilize in everyday business. They help others know who we are and to encourage connections.
In terms of wearing your name badge, always make sure it is visible to others. A name tag is a tool – not a piece of jewelry! It should be worn on our right side lapel since we traditionally shake hands (or fist bump!) with our right hands, whether we are right or left handed. When we go in for that handshake or fist bump, our name tag should be visible, front and center, positioned high enough to be seen and not encumbered by clothing.
At events, it is always so helpful when conference planners provide attendees with well-designed, legible name tags so that participants can get to know one another. Often, in addition to the “standard” name tags, speakers, sponsors and other dignitaries are adorned with ribbons that call out their special designations. The ribbons let everyone know how important that particular individual is, at least relative to that event. And, c’mon, let’s face it, they provide a tiny little ego boost to the person wearing them!
Recently, I had the privilege of presenting two networking workshops at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy (STLCOP) women’s conference. It was the inaugural conference for the “Ladies in Pharmacy” affinity group that the school offers its community and drew an enthusiastic crowd of both current students and alumnae. What a treat it was to be there!
Of course, upon registration, I was provided with my name tag and a ribbon emblazoned with big gold letters identifying me as a “SPEAKER.” Yep, I felt important. But, wait, there’s more! Once I completed my registration, I was directed to another table where a vast assortment of additional ribbons was available. They included a variety of words and phrases, everything from “Queen Bee” to “Party Animal,” from “Goddess” to “Princess.” So fun. So cool.
The ribbons were incentive for a fundraiser that the school was sponsoring for a local homeless shelter. For $1 each, participants could express themselves with as many ribbons as they wished for. I dove right in! With my $5 donation, I purchased “Attitude,” “Glass Half-Full,” “Trouble Maker,” “iTweet” and “Rock Star” and proudly added them to my name tag.
What I loved most about the ribbons is that they made everyone feel special – they provided participants with an opportunity to express themselves – they offered wonderful conversation pieces to help facilitate introductions. It was such an easy way to get to know other conference goers while celebrating what makes each of us unique. And, I must say, the hot pink “Pharmacy Girls RULE” blew away my black and gold “SPEAKER” ribbon!
So, which ribbon would you choose? Feel free to make your own!