Confessions of a Compulsive Conference-Goer

business events logoAndrew writes a monthly column for Business Events News (BEN) called “Confessions of a Compulsive Conference Goer” in which he discusses issues and observations from the conference front-line”
Business Events News is part of the Travel Daily group of publications which also include: Travel Daily, Cruise Weekly & Pharmacy Daily.

Andrew Klein, director of SPIKE Presentations, presents his front line observations on conferences in a regular feature in BEN.

“G’DAY Mark, Matt, Mike……….Mate???”

A plea to conference organisers on behalf of delegates. Well, at least on behalf of those of us with ordinary eye-sight. Please make the names on our lanyards a little larger!

I attend a lot of conferences and so I wear a lot of lanyards. And like many delegates from one year to another, I might remember a face but often forget a name. I only see you once a year for a few days and often all too briefly waiting in the barista queue or heading to the breakout session.

Embarrassingly, I tend to forget the names of the very people who always remember mine. So event organisers, I beg you, please help me to at least pretend to remember Phil who I sat next to during last year’s Gala Dinner on the Gold Coast Ben or Jen or Len Lanyardor Jackie who I shared a cab with to the airport after the Sales Conference.

Despite wearing glasses I have pretty good eye-sight. But at many conferences, the names printed on the lanyards are so small that I can’t tell if I’m talking to Mark or Matt. Is that Melinda or Melanie?

If the welcome function is outdoors and it’s a little dark, then I’ve got no chance of even pretending to remember your name. God help me if it’s a costume dinner and I can’t even see if I’m chatting to Arthur or Martha!And the location where the standard “around the neck” style lanyard usually hangs – or as I call it, the “OGLE” (Ordinary Geographical Lanyard End) is precisely in the one part of the anatomy where no delegate should be looking at for longer than a split second anyway.

The problem is not lanyard size. A lanyard need only be large enough for my name and possibly to store a pocket program or the business card that Josh (or was it John?) just handed me at Morning Tea. The problem is font size. Can’t we print my first name bigger – like much bigger? Perhaps dispense with all other information on the name tag altogether. Let me discover your surname, title or state through our conversation. That’s why we have our names there in the first place. To break the ice.

I know my name already. The lanyard is so I get to know your name.

Although after some wild Gala Dinners it may well help for self-identification purposes too.

Till we next meet at a conference. Andrew (or Anthony………or Anthea if it’s a little dark in your office).

© Andrew Klein 2014