The Importance of Name Tags

nametag_jeffloweflickrDo you cringe at the idea of donning a name tag? Whether white and sticky or plastic and magnetic, there is just something so mortifyingly geekish about wearing a name tag. Or maybe it’s ego: everyone knows my name. Or the opposite: no one needs to no my name.

But the humble nametag is so very, very important.

This weekend I attended a writers conference. Talk about the ultimate in geekiness… conference name tags are the worst. (And is it just me or does wearing your name around your neck make you look down at it, as if to recall your own name, whenever someone asks you?)

Anyway, I’m at this conference dutifully wearing my name tag when I spot another full-on soulmate geek with a different sort of name tag. Hers is from her graduate program. I might not have thought anything of it if not for the fact that my good friend who happened to be across the room at the time talking to the crazy cat ladies other writers had graduated from that very same program not long ago.

Suddenly we all became fast friends. My friend and the just-a-moment-ago stranger had instructors and mentors in common, and we all had a great time combining our little tribes. This new friend even invited my pal and I to lunch with the literary agent she was hosting. And that is a very big deal at a writer’s conference. The result of a silly little name tag was new friendship and professional connections.

Which is why today, I bit the bullet and donned a nametag on my way into a lunch meeting where I knew nobody knew my name. Even though they probably should – by now.

What are you missing out on when you don’t identify yourself?

Image Credit: Jeff Lowe, Flickr

  • “What are you missing out on when you don’t identify yourself?” – This is a deeper question than originally intended?
    I think it takes more than a nametag, but this post got me thinking. Even at my company with 3-400 employees everybody knows everybody, but not their names. Seems like if you nod two times it’s to late to ask for someones name. A name tag solution at work could actually be a good thing. Easier to find someone, because you have a name to the desk. Better friendship and so on.

    I will leave out the discussion about idendifying yourself, as that might take books to describe. But the benefit of nametags might be something interesting to try out.

    Have a super nice day.

  • Lela Davidson

    That’s always a terrible situation – social or professional – when you really ‘should’ know the name but don’t. I wonder if there’s an app for that…..?

  • Nametags are seen as a nuisance by many, but really if you think about it, its the only way to identify yourself in a conference setting, so why not make it fun, use a tactic that becomes a topic of conversation, such as… First Name and then a word that describes the person…it would be an icebreaker as well.