Our busiest time of year has always been from Labor Day through the first week of November and 2018 has been no different. I've been to five conferences in the past seven weeks. It's been fun, rewarding and exhausting all at the same time! It's a challenge to balance business and travel with family and other commitments-even in the age of technology.
At each event, a name tag tells everyone my name, company name and location. A name tag is designed to help us catch up with old friends and meet new ones. Conversation is easier because we know what people do, where they work and where they are from. We rely on name tags because they make networking easier!
In my opinion, name tags can also have a negative effect. First, we often lose eye contact because we're too busy looking downward. We glance at the tags, jogging our memories for information about the person we are talking to.
A bigger issue than eye contact is how name tags turn people into hunters. As conference attendees, we can forget how to socialize naturally and instead, we walk around searching only for the names of potential clients. No one else matters!
This behavior creates an awkwardness and short sightedness about how we work the room. We never know where new business might come from and to focus only on potential sources of business closes the door to other opportunities.
For example, one of our law firms (Law Firm A) told me that its biggest referral source for new business was a competitor (Law Firm B). I was confused and didn't understand. It was explained that while Law Firm A competed in the commercial space with Law Firm B, Law Firm B did not handle consumer collections. Because of this, when Law Firm B received inquiries about consumer matters, it referred them to Law Firm A.
Don't get caught up in hunting down only a few people based on who they are and where they work. Talk to everyone. When a room full of industry people get to know us, it will only help our profiles and make business development easier in the long run. Word gets around quickly enough and the names we make for ourselves are much more than what they say on a name tag.