It happened again last night. The name badge dilemma.

I arrived at an event being held by a local industry group and looked in vain for my name among the pre-printed name badges. I’d booked for the event last week but apparently my name was still “in the system”.

substitute name tag for networking eventSo I was offered the usual substitute name badge, my name scrawled in marker pen on some flimsy paper.

Not a great look.

At least it came with a transparent, clip-on or pin-on holder. Better than the stick-on ones which are more often than not “fall-off” tags.

But even with the pre-printed tags there can be a problem for those of us who don’t have 20/20 vision and can only read smaller print with the benefit of spectacles, or by peering at the person’s tag in a not very elegant way.

And I hate having to fumble to get my specs out while attempting to balance simultaneously the whole glass of wine and canape and shaking of the hand routine.

Des Walsh magnetic name badgeWhich is why I spent a few dollars to have a personal name badge made, no logo, no picture, just my name, in large print, black on gold.  Easy to read and with a good strong magnetic clip so I don’t have to damage my clothes or prick my thumb with those safety pin arrangements.

They are not expensive. I’ve seen them advertised for less than $10 and more fancy ones still under $20.

Even with postage, which is not always added on, it’s still a modest investment to have an easily readable name badge. You should be able to get them from a local office supplies store or online.

You can get your logo included. My aim was legibility and a logo was going to take up reading space, which is why it’s just my name. (The name actually stands out more than is evident from the rather dark photo here)

It’s also got some “stand out from the crowd” value.

And a tip. Put the badge somewhere which will make it easy to find when you are off to an event, not something you have to look around for and finish up going without. Maybe leave it the glove box of your car: it won’t take up room and it will probably be easier to find when you want it.

By the way, although technology transforms our lives and our businesses with astonishing speed, there are some business challenges where the solution “back when” can also be the solution for today: a thought prompted by the fact that I first posted about the name badge issue back in 2005.

Other tips for handling the name badge challenge will be welcome.



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