Many people hate nametags. When they attend events where they try to avoid wearing them, or they place them under their jacket. If they plan events, they rationalize all types of reasons not to provide nametags to their guests.
But this is ridiculous. The nametag is one of the best tools to making connections at conferences, trade shows, and other events. It not only makes you more approachable, but when other people are wearing a nametag it provides you with enough information to start a conversation.
My friend Scott Ginsberg of "Hello My Name is Scott" has made a career of approachability. Scott wears a nametag 24 hours a day, and it sparks all sorts of conversations (yes, he has "Hello My Name Is Scott" tattooed on his chest!). In his books and keynote speeches he shares the power of why wearing a nametag has made him more successful when attending events and beyond. He knows more about nametags than any other person on the planet.
While you do not need to display a nametag all the time, you must wear your nametag when attending an event. Not only is it often your pass into the sessions and trade show floor, it is also the only way to be part of the mini-society that exists when attending an event. It equalizes the playing field, helps eliminate cliques, and nametags at larger events are in plastic or cloth casing that provide you with a convenient place to carry your business cards.
If you are planning an even you must pay attention to the functionality of the nametags you provide your attendees. Make sure that the font is large enough to to be read at a distance and that you have the persons first name, last name, and company name. If the event includes people from across a variety of geographic areas, also include the city where the person lives. All of this information works together to allow for conversations to easily begin.
I once attended an event hosted by a law firm where the senior partners did not like the idea of nametags. They figured they knew all their clients, and falsely believed that nametags would make their event feel cheesy. Instead, the lack of nametags made the event dull. While the clients knew their lawyers, they did not know the other lawyers in the firm, or the other people in attendance. With over 200 people at the event, there was very little conversation. People sat in small groups and did not meet anyone new. Many in attendance felt the event was boring, and the it was clearly because the lawyers put their own opinions ahead of helping people connect.
When attending an event, or planning and event, embrace the nametag!
Have A Great Day.
Thom Singer is known as "The Conference Catalyst". He works with meeting planners and conference organizers to set the tone for a meeting. His presentations educate, inspire and motivate attendees to engage deeper in the event and make meaningful connections. http://www.conferencecatalyst.com