What would happen if you never took off your name badge?
Everyone knows the benefits of wearing a name badge at work, especially in a corporate environment. But if we took name badges out of the traditional workplace, how would the world react?
This is a question that author, public speaker, and entrepreneur Scott Ginsberg sought to answer. In fact, his passion project for the past few years has grown into so much more. His public speaking engagements, best selling books, and interviews all cover the story of his success. He attributes this success to this decision: to never take off his name badge.
“HELLO, My Name is Scott”
Scott’s experiment revolves around the belief that everyone should wear name tags, all the time, everywhere. He came to believe so strongly in this that several years after his project begun he has yet to take off his name tag. Ginsberg even has a timer on his website that counts off the number of days he has been wearing it. He is now a Ripley’s Believe it or Not World Record Holder. He even carries multiple name tags at any given time on the off chance he might lose the one he is wearing.
So, why put so much dedication, time and effort into wearing a name tag? Scott answers this in his “Nametag Manifesto”. In it, he details 18 reasons why something as simple as a name tag could have a grand societal impact. Here are the first 5 reasons below.
1. The End of Strangers
“If everybody wears name tags, there is a higher overall intimacy level.”
In short, no one will have to resort to impersonal terms such as “you”. By removing that barrier, you essentially turn what could be a formal interaction into a real connection. The name badge simply acts as an entry point. Scott refers to it as an “interactional accelerator”.
2. The End of Exclusion
“If everybody wears name tags, there is an overarching sense of social belonging.”
When we remove the barrier of knowing someone’s name, we instantly become more united, which prevents the possibility of exclusion. Knowing the identity of a stranger naturally fosters inclusion.
3. The End of Anonymity
“If everybody wears name tags, nobody is winking in the dark.”
When everybody wears name badges, everyone is acknowledged and seen. No one is forgotten. This is especially helpful for people who suffer from memory loss, Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other similar disorders. Name badges are both a visual aid and a trigger for the memory.
Scott describes this as “Most of what we do has no witness. But it is the sum of our witnesses that creates the complete picture of who we are. By wearing name tags, we now treat everyone we encounter with a spirit of acknowledgement.”
4. The End of Commoditization
“If everybody wears name tags, it’s impossible to put each other into boxes.”
As we said before, wearing a name badge removes the need to address each person we meet with an impersonal name. But more than that, they also remove the need to address each other by a label. We begin to perceive that person as an individual.
5. The End of Societal Conflict
“If everybody wears name tags, the awkwardness goes away.”
Basically, when you’re forced to accept the humanity and identity of another person, you get a greater sense of connection. You remove a barrier that would normally cause a conflict, and you can accomplish this with a simple name badge.