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Hello, What’s My Name?

By Lance Trebesch June 14, 2011

Event Badges for Mixing and Mingling

I have a secret.

I am terrible with names.

Say what you will about mnemonics, making an effort, and repeating names two or three times upon original introduction. I just can’t remember your name. It’s nothing personal. Sometimes I forget my husband’s name—just for a moment. Actually, he’s a real lifesaver. Seeing that I’ve clearly forgotten the name of the person to whom I’m talking at a party, he’s fast to introduce himself, thus allowing my conversational partner to share his or her name without making me look ridiculous.

But my husband can’t accompany me everywhere.

For instance, chapter meetings for a national organization in which I have a position of some responsibility. I should remember all these women’s names. I know I should. But I don’t.

That’s why I ordered a stack of fancy event badges for our meetings. I explained it as a courtesy to new members, and everyone seems to love the idea, but mainly, these event badges—ID badges, really—have saved the day in many ways.

Event badges, printed with the names of group members serve several purposes:

  • Help members remember each others’ names
  • Keep unwanted non-members out of our snacks
  • Make taking attendance a breeze

Before every meeting, I just lay the badges out in alphabetical order on the table at the back of the room. Everyone picks up their own badge, and our secretary can take a quick scan of those badges unclaimed at the beginning of the meeting to determine who hasn’t shown up. At the end of each meeting, she collects the badges again.

I was able to print these event badges online for just pennies a badge. I sent the company our organization’s design files, so we could use our own logos and background. I included a file with every member’s name, and every few months, as we attract new members, I collect those names up and send them back to the printer. They keep my files forever, and anytime I want to make a new order, it’s simple: I just ask for the same product, with these new names. They know exactly what I want, and everyone’s badge looks the same whether they’re old or new.

There was some talk about printing different badges for officers, which, it turned out, would also be simple, but we decided that we should all keep the same identifiers.

Now, no one has to spend time filling out names on paper stickers. And best of all, I never look like an idiot because I can’t remember the name of a lady who’s invited me to her home many times. I just glance surreptitiously at her name badge and no one’s the wiser about my little problem.