Last updated: April 26, 2023
A party without name tags is like a museum without labels for the paintings.
You may think that name tags make events cold, bland, formal, or fake.
I’ll try to convince you otherwise!
Which name tags to buy? I like the Avery 5154s and Cualfec. See my favorites here.
The One Where I Forgot Her Name
I know from experience how embarrassing it can be to forget the name of someone who has just introduced themselves. Some years ago, my then-girlfriend and I attended a large corporate event in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan.
When we arrived, we bumped into a woman who I’d met a few times before. I knew she ran a successful business in New York City with dozens of employees and Fortune 100 customers. But I blanked on her name. It totally slipped my mind.
As I was walked up to her, she greeted me warmly and said, “Hello, Nick. It’s so nice to see you again.” Her arms were open, ready to give me a big hug, and I couldn’t remember her name. I was mortified. Thinking fast, I introduced her to my girlfriend in the hope that she’d mention her name back. She didn’t.
… (story continues in my book!! this is just a preview –Nick)
The Big Benefits of Name Tags
On a practical level, name tags make it nearly impossible for guests to forget each other’s names. This reduces potential embarrassment. I’m not great with names myself, so I rely on name tags heavily as a host.
Name tags also boost your guests’ confidence because they:
- Reduce social anxiety and make introductions easier.
- Show that this is a safe space to approach strangers.
- Place everyone on equal footing. Even famous celebrities and public figures have to wear them.
The Deeper Purpose of Name Tags
Let’s get philosophical for a moment. Why are you interested in hosting parties? Probably because you want to meet new people and bring your friends together. You either are or want to be a “people person.” You’d like to make new connections and deepen existing relationships.
Perhaps you’re also interested in improving your public speaking. Or you want to get better at facilitating groups for some professional ambition. Maybe you want to find a new job or recruit new clients.
Cocktail parties can do all of this and more. They’re places where you, your colleagues, and your friends can meet great new people. It’s easier to meet people in an environment that facilitates and supports that goal. Name tags signify that there are no cliques at this party. It’s important to show that guests haven’t walked into a group of best friends who already know each other. They’ve walked into a room of potential new connections.
Name tags are a badge guests wear that say they’re ready to talk to other people. They’re a welcoming and unifying visual signal. Name tags are a humbling feature that tie your party together and put everyone on the same level.
Imagine a charity sports event where everyone is wearing the same color T-shirt. Or a business conference with branded name badges and lanyards. Participants are aligned. At a structured cocktail party, name tags play the same role. When everyone wears a name tag, everyone is on the same team.
Party Pro Tip: Name tags are especially helpful when you mix friend groups. Your guests will talk to new people and not stick to their cliques.
The Best Name Tags to Buy for Your Party
As of 11 June 2022, my two favorite name tags that you can buy online are:
- Avery 5154, good for more formal events
- Cualfec “HELLO MY NAME IS,” good for more casual events
See this page for links + photos of each.
FULL SUPPLIES LIST: Stuff I Buy on Amazon For My Parties, Including the Best Name Tags
Best Practices for Name Tags
When your guests start to arrive, your number one priority is to warmly welcome them into your home. Give them a hug, a fist bump, or even a very animated smile. Say that you’re happy they came.
Your number two priority is to give them a name tag. That’s how important this step is.
If you see people walking around your party without name tags, pull them aside and get your naked guest a name tag as soon as possible. Don’t let them move a muscle—except their name tag-getting muscle.
Write first names only.
Don’t use your guests’ surnames. Their first name is faster to write and easier to read.
Use large, capital letters.
Your priority is legibility at a distance, not penmanship. Write names with a black marker.
Thanks for reading this sample page.
I’m suuuuuper passionate about name tags.
My party hosting handbook has a bunch more best practices, notes, and stories about why they’re important.
Was this helpful? Or interesting?
Do you want to read the rest of the chapter, or other parts of the book?
Email me! My email is [email protected]