Name badges are one of those items that we have become so used to seeing that we have gotten to the point of taking them for granted having forgotten exactly what a great service they provide. Name badges are used in all sorts of different scenarios. These include social gatherings, seminars, conferences and the workplace itself. In each of these the purpose of the humble name badge is slightly different. For instance, in the workplace the name badge usually comes in the form of an identification card that has the users photos and department details in addition to the user's name. Many workplaces have a security element where the employees need to have a certain level of clearance to be able to enter the building, particular floors and even specific departments on each floor. This is particularly the case with information technology companies that want to protect their intellectual property.
In these situations the id card also has a magnetic that provides the security. Each time the staff member wants to enter the building or a different department that has security doors, the id card is swiped which checks the security clearance of the user. If their clearance is high enough, they are allowed through the door. One special type of name badge that is perfect for this is the retractable badge holder. A retractable badge holder holds the name badge and by means of a retractable wire, allows the name badge to be pulled away from the body for swiping, without it having to be detached from the body. The retractable badge holder therefore resolves a great deal of frustration where before, the name badge had to be detached to swipe it or placed in a less than attractive spot on the torso where it could reach the card reader.
In social situations, name badges have an entirely different purpose. The obvious one is that they let everyone know what everyone elses name is. This has many advantages. For instance, by knowing someone's name, you know a little piece of personal information about that person. If they also know your name then they also know something about you and you both therefore have something in common. This may be small but psychologically it acts as an icebreaker because we would not normally know someone else's name unless we had been introduced to them. The second purpose of name tags in a social situation is to relieve us of the burden of remembering someone's name and the associated embarrassment if we were to forget it. In other words, without name badges, when two people were introduced to each other they would likely be concentrating on what to say next for the next few minutes, during which they probably will have forgotten the other person's name. They then either have to pretend they know it which is stressful and feels slightly dishonest, or ask the person again for their name thereby admitting they had forgotten it and having to go through the embarrassment associated with this.