3 Tips on How to Make a Nametag Work for You

Situation: Most people are NOT social butterflies and don’t like, and even hate, networking.

Resolution: Engineer conversations by wearing your interests, passions, values, and skills.

I’ve got a thing for nametags. Back in 2007, I wore one every day, all day long, everywhere I went, as a part of my Nametag Project.

Today my friend Doug tweeted me a link to a video called Nametag Etiquette on bnet.com. In this video, Syndi Seid, the Etiquette Coach makes some suggestions about making a nametag legible.

In the video she also instructs her viewers to create name tags in spoken order: “first name, last night, and affilation” she says, adding “it is not necessary to provide any further information.”

I strongly disagree.

A plain nametag is like a tie – most of them are alike. If it just your name name and company, whoppe-do. Instead, you should make your nametag work for you, like Scott Ginsberg who wears one everyday and also wears a huge nametag at conferences, attracting quite a bit of attention as you can see in this video:

My friend Robbie Samuels, makes nametags work for him by using not one, but three. Robbie uses one for his name and affliation, one that says “I’m looking for” and the third stating: “I’m good at.” Imagine all the conversations his three nametags would spark. Sometime Robbie even writes his twitter handle on affiliation on his arms.


Vermont Public Radio covered an experiment I did at a high school in Vermont. Here, I asked students to write their first name and in lieu their last name, a word that described what they felt the world needs most – mine for example was: Joseph Love. Next they were tasked with reintroducing themselves to their peers and explaining their of new last name. The students reported that they learned more about each other in the 30 minutes we spent together than they had up to that point all year.


Here are my three tips on how to make a nametag work for you:

  1. Use three nametags or write on your arms like Robbie
  2. Replace your last name on your nametag with a value, interest, or skill
  3. Wear a giant nametag like Scott