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In the words of Henry James, “To risk is to risk being shattered. Human beings avoid conflict, and nametags are natural eliminators of conflict. What are you doing to reverse the trend of unfriendliness and interpersonal fear in your daily actions? Like the new yoga teacher who had thirty new students, yet only 29 new names to memorize. How are you practicing mini-sacrifices each day to make other people’s lives (even a LITTLE) easier? Apparently, listening is so rare these days that people will jump at any opportunity, any opening, to actually have someone open their ears to them. How often does your state of being inspire others to be comfortable with theirs? So, wearing a nametag means one less name people have to worry about remembering. If you’re not, people will know that “Dave” is a jerk.
By way of self-disclosure, by way of forgoing anonymity, wearing a nametag LITERALLY causes you to “stick yourself out there.” Sure, it might be uncomfortable. How did you step out of your comfort zone yesterday?
But without the shattering, there is no glory.” What are you shattering? Think about it: Ever avoided someone because you couldn’t remember their name?
Either way, when the cashier or person behind me says something like, “Scott, you’re next in line! How are you reducing the distance between you and the people around you? A reminder that it’s important and necessary and powerful to be open and transparent with everyone.
And when you, how does that positively affect productivity? I beat them to the punch, and all they can do is agree and say, “Well, I guess this guy’s name is Scott.” How are you silently disarming strangers? Simply stated, names reduce the distance between people.
It’s the difference between interruption and interaction. Are you interrupting people or interacting with them? When nametags are worn CORRECTLY (which means no last names, logos, titles, acronyms, degrees, positions or designations – just the first name your mama gave you) you successfully level the playing field. The nametag excavated and amplified who I always was as a person.
Wearing a nametag hasn’t created my identity; it’s revealed it. Even in the most serious and formal and professional situations, the hand-written, casual, relaxing – yet curious – nature of an adhesive nametag is impossible to ignore. Do you give others permission to be playful around you? Instead of being a nameless statistic or just another face in the crowd, now I have an identity. How are you shining (and helping other people shine) in a sea of sameness? I’ve labeled myself before they got a chance to do so. The minute you know someone’s name, you immediately feel closer and more connected to that person. And how much money are you losing by not being totally open? What’s fascinating to me is when people look at me with a furrowed brow and a finger on their chin and ask, “Is that your REAL name? But in the back of my mind I’m asking two questions: (1) “Why would I lie about my own NAME? ” and (2) “Has our society demonstrated SUCH a consistent pattern of dishonestly that a stranger would be skeptical about another stranger’s willingness to share his real name? Which, in a fast-paced, overpopulated society, is almost an accomplishment. Instead of people looking at me and making a judgment about my identity, gently broadcasting to them that I’m simply, “Scott” gives them nowhere to go. and (increasingly) socially isolated culture, openness isn’t just valuable, it’s demanded. How transparent do your customers perceive you to be? In a world of mistrust, dishonesty and non-stop bullshite, it’s refreshing to see even the tiniest symbol of truthfulness. It’s also like walking around saying, “Alright world. All you have to do is say hello.” How could you make it really, really easy for people to start a conversation with you? A nametag is a simple act of self-confidence and comfort. Ultimately, if reading this list inspires you to wear nametags more often, cool. The goal is for you to use these elements, lessons and questions as mirrors for your own personal growth.