Never wear a name tag when you speak

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 they can get us out of a jam when we have forgotten the name of someone we met earlier during the coffee break! But on stage, name tags have no place.

Speakers often wear their name tags when they go up to speak. They shouldn’t. Name tags serve no useful purpose when a speaker is on stage 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 you will introduce yourself—and you’ll be listed in the programme if there is one. So the audience will know who you are.
  • Even if people could read your name tag, 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 on stage, you won’t need a name tag for people remember you.

Photo courtesy of Student Veterans of America

About John Zimmer

International speaker, presentation skills expert, lawyer, improv performer
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6 Responses to Never wear a name tag when you speak

  1. Oh! Good to know! Thanks for penning down an informative article, John!


  2. Quite right! I don’t recall if your checklist for speakers mentions it, but one tip related to this I’d mention is to look in the mirror (e.g. in the bathroom) shortly before going on stage.

    That way, you’ll see if you’re wearing your name tag, or your hair got messed up by the wind, or your zip’s undone!

    Liked by 1 person

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