BizBash C.E.O. David Adler: Do the Name Tags at Your Event Suck?

By David Adler July 29, 2014, 7:30 AM EDT

David Adler (@DavidAdler) is the C.E.O. and founder of BizBash.

About a decade ago I co-founded a group called G.I.A.N.T.T. (Group for Increased Average Name Tag Type). We had a 24-point challenge program that included such things as no type smaller than 24 points; always include name, title, and company; and no “first name only” name tags unless at AA meetings.

It failed. Maybe because we didn’t have social media then or that people just didn’t take name tags seriously. Our surveys pointed out that event attendees spent their time looking like they were staring in the wrong places because they couldn’t read the type. I still go to conferences and events today and have exactly the same issues.

Maybe now it’s time to take reinventing name tags seriously and try it again. How should they be displayed? How big should they be? Do we need the plastic covers? What data should be included? How do they become interactive?

Tools like business cards and name tags are the hardest working elements of high-performance collaboration in meetings, events, and social occasions, and we barely give them a thought when we design them.

One shocking thing I recently heard was that Google Glass will make the print name tags irrelevant. I am not sure how the elite planners who turn their noses up at any type of name tag will react to that development, but I’m interested to know.

It may seem trivial, but we are obsessed with these kind of details as events are really “the new town squares.”  Having an initial visual clue about a person that you identify at an event can change your entire world. If what Scott Heiferman, the C.E.O. of Meetup, says is true and that contact is king not just content, then the most important part of an event is knowing who you want to meet, making a name tag is more critical than ever.

At this point, I’d love to hear what you have to say about name tags and badges. Take the survey below, and you can enter to win a ticket to a BizBash Live: The Expo or one of our Event Innovation Forums. Come to the Expo in New York in October and see how we take this feedback and reinvent the name tag.

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