You are looking forward to attending a business mixer with your friends and A+ prospects. Now, picture this: you make sure your clothes are just right for the occasion and your grooming is the best possible. Upon arrival to the event, the individual at the check-in table asks you to fill in a name badge to identify you quickly to people who wish to know with whom they are speaking. What just went awry? The name badge with your name and company name probably looks subpar.
The above scenario is repeated over and over throughout the world every day. Here are several specific ideas for putting your best name (badge) forward. If you do not like the typical name badge you consistently receive at important business socials, you need to design your own. Your goal is to have a professional name badge that matches each occasion you attend.
The customized name badge is an idea from a publicist I met while at a conference this summer. The man took me aside in the hotel lobby and did some quick "surgery" to my name badge, producing dramatic improvements. He made a believer out of me. When I wear a professional customized name badge, people make positive comments. Here's how.
Step one: do not panic. Designing your own professional name badge is easy. The materials you need are readily available from major office supply stores. Keep in mind the result you want to achieve: a professional looking name badge.
Step two: assemble the materials you need for every name badge you want to create. I have two separate name badges that are ready-to-wear (no, my badges are not "polyester") in order to fit the formality of meeting I'm attending. At an office supply, you can find clear plastic badge holders with the low-intrusive clip-style retainer (preserve your fine clothing) as well as white 70# paper. Purchase two clear badge holder sizes: 3 1/2" x 2 1/4" and 4" x 3". In addition to holders and 70# paper, have scissors and several of your business cards nearby while at your computer. You will likely have to experiment with laser printing to achieve the right placement on the badge. Remember that the long-term results are worth the exercise now.
Step three: start with the smaller name badge. At an office supply store, the 3 1/2" x 2 1/4" size is known as a "business card" size. You will print and cut this name badge to show professionalism in more intimate and familiar settings. Close to the top line of the 70# paper making up the name badge, laser print your company name in a typestyle you like. In the middle of the badge laser print, in big letters, your first name. Just above the bottom, balanced with what you did on the top line, laser print your last name. If you want to add some pizzazz, add your slogan in small print just below your last name. Cut around the print you just made and place in the small name badge for a professional looking introduction.
Step four: continue with the larger "convention" size badge holder. You will print, cut and paste this name badge to wear in networking events, conferences and conventions where business is typically of a less intimate nature. You want to create a "live billboard". Start by cutting a piece of 70# paper to fit completely in the 4" x 3" badge holder. Close to the top line of the 70# paper making up the name badge, laser print your company name. In the middle of the badge laser print, in big letters, your first name. Just above the bottom, balanced with what you did on the top line, laser print your last name. You still have plenty of room to laser print what you do and your slogan. My tag line: "syndicated author of magazine and newspaper articles on business topics and speaker" goes across the top in Times Roman 14 point. My slogan: "Building Your Business...one person at a time" goes just below my tag line in Times Roman 12 point. If you want to add some pizzazz, add your logo to the 70# white easel.
Alternatively, you can have a custom name badge made at a local custom stamp store. Due to the weight of custom badges, you will be prudent to keep the size around 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" or less. Be sure to specify a "clip" on the back to preserve your clothing.
My name badges are kept nearby for quick use. I arrive at event check-in desks with a name badge that I can be proud of in advance. My clothing also likes the fact that no pins pierce the cloth or adhesive pulls threads when the name badge is removed. Making an appearance with a custom name badge speaks highly of your good taste. Participants near you can easily see who you are and get an idea of what you do. The rest is up to you.