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May 2024
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Never Wear a Name Tag When Speaking Outside the Club

By John Zimmer, ACB, ALB

If you are invited to speak at a conference or other event, you will likely receive a name tag when you register. It will usually be in a plastic envelope that you attach to your clothing with a pin, or that you hang around your neck on a lanyard.

Name tags are useful. They tell us a bit about the people we meet and can get us out of a jam when we have forgotten the name of someone we met earlier during the coffee break! But onstage, name tags have no place.

Speakers often wear name tags when they go up to speak. They shouldn’t. Name tags serve no useful purpose when a speaker is onstage and can actually detract from a presentation. Here’s why:

  • Nobody can read your name tag from that distance. Besides, you will have already been introduced—or will introduce yourself—and you’ll be listed in the program if there is one. So the audience will know who you are.
  • Even if your name tag can be read by people, often it will flip around.
  • Name tags can interfere with microphones, especially lapel microphones.
  • Name tags on a lanyard swing when you move and can make noise when rubbing against buttons or fabric.
  • The plastic envelope can reflect the stage lights.
  • They just look bad on a speaker.

The solution is simple. Before it is your turn to speak, remove your name tag and put it in your purse or pocket, or just leave it on your seat. Once you have finished your talk, you can put it back on. Of course, if you are amazing onstage, you won’t need a name tag for people to remember you.


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