Category Archives: conferencecommando

Conference Commando: Networking with Nametags

Whenever I go to a networking event and see people without nametags or with nametags that only have their first names, I see all these missed opportunities to help memory and enrich conversations.

Nametags are essential at networking events. Hardly anyone can be expected to remember everyone's names after such brief introductions. Nametags help other people discreetly remember your name without embarrassing them by asking you again.

Here are some tips I've picked up from books and from experience:

Wear your nametag high and right.

Always wear your nametag high on your right shoulder. This is where the eye is naturally drawn to when you shake hands with someone. Make it easy for people to read your nametag when they shake hands with you.

Give your first and last name.

Make sure there's enough space on your nametag for your first and last name. This makes it easier for people to remember you when they review all the business cards they've received and the notes they've taken.

Tag yourself.

And why stop at names? You want people to remember what you do, too. I find that "Sacha Chua, Tech Evangelist" starts more conversations and is remembered better than just "Sacha Chua". Make it easy for people to find out and remember what you're interested in by adding a tag line or some keywords to your nametag. Use a second nametag if necessary. You can repeat some of these keywords on your business card or e-mail signature to reinforce people's memories.

Bring your own nametag.

For serious networking, always bring a nametag with your first and last name and a tag line. Many events don't provide printed nametags, and your preparation will set you apart.

Do you have any other tips for nametag success? Please e-mail me at [email protected], and I'll add it to this entry!

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Creative Thursday: Conference commando!

On the way to jazz choir practice, I thought about what I like creating and when people have called me creative. One of the things people have complimented me on is the way I hack conferences, from modding conference T-shirts to posting people's tag clouds along the wall in order to spark conversations.

I _love_ going above and beyond the usual ideas of what a conference should be like. That's one of the reasons why I'm really excited about CASCON 2006: as part of the organizing team, I can try out many cool ideas!

I'd love to start a bigger conversation around that, and I'd love to share my thoughts with more people! I think it would make a great blog. I want to share tips and ideas with participants, speakers, and organizers. It'll also be a great place to post my conference reports and pictures of hacked T-shirts! ;)

I already have a name for the blog: Conference Commando. I came across the term "conference commando" in Keith Ferrazzi's book Never Eat Alone. Good stuff, and I think I've got a lot to contribute to this space.

So I'm going to make it happen! Here's what I need to do:

  • Make a logo so that it's not just a boring WordPress install. ;)
  • Set up a blog and JUST START BLOGGING! I can probably install Wordpress or something like that on some computer somewhere. Maybe Richi will let me virtualhost on his computer. I need a MySQL database. Alternatively, I could host it on, which is currently underutilized anyway. Yup, that's also a possibility...
  • Extract some of the relevant blog posts from my main blog. For example, my notes about the social computing workshop might be of interest to organizers. A review of the relevant section in Never Eat Alone would be handy for participants, and my blog entry about keynote styles would be good for speakers.

Fun! Hooray for Creative Thursday!

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