Becoming Professional: A Blog

Where Do You Wear Your Name Tag?

Posted on: March 27, 2010


I was at my local American Marketing Association Chapter luncheon and, naturally, had to wear a name tag. It was one of those clip-on ones. Being in a dress, I didn’t have lapels, though I was able to clip mine onto a frill. A gentleman I know didn’t have a pocket to clip his on to and so decided to clip it to his belt and rock what I’ll call “corporate chic.” This all gave rise to the question:

Where do you wear the dang name tag?

It’s not a fashionable accessory, so most people want to clip it on and get done with it. I know more than a few folk who dislike name tags in general, but they are necessary. If we have to wear them, we might as well wear them correctly.

So, I promised my conversational group I would research this question and answer via blog post. Here it is:

Wear your name tag on the upper right portion of your chest.

At the luncheon we all had ours on the upper left portions of our chests. Not very correct of us, I know. This was probably because company name tags get worn on the upper left while a meeting sticky or other type of name tag goes on the right. We were wrong, but only slightly. Perhaps it is better to say we were just well trained by our corporate bosses?

Anyway, the reason for this placement is two-fold:

  1. When shaking hands, a person’s eye naturally travels up his or her partner’s arm to the shoulder/chest area. They see the name and then the eye travels up to the face.
  2. It can be embarassing for a woman to have her hand-shaking partner look awkwardly at her chest area. This motion is not as apparent if the tag is on the upper right side since that, as just explained, is where the eye goes, anyway.

Of course, I did see another suggestion in my research. I like this one better, too: the forehead. That way no one will forget your name, have to look at your chest, and you wont have to worry about no lapels on your clothing. Granted, you would look silly.

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4 Responses to "Where Do You Wear Your Name Tag?"

You know, we wore our name tags on the left side at MagicMouseLand. When I thought about it, it’s odd – I can’t remember when I actually wore a nametag on the right side in the places I’ve worked in the past..

You would think this kind of thing would be completely logical to most corporations (shake hands, eyes travel, makes sense!).

I agree. I don’t quite understand why corporations put the names on the left side while ettiquette at networking meetings says to place the badge on the right.

Perhaps it comes from where the military place their honors? Maybe corporations are just mimicking the military?

where does it say to where it on the upper right? I’ve only and always seen it on the left.

You say in point 1: “When shaking hands, a person’s eye naturally travels up his or her partner’s arm to the shoulder/chest area.”

When I shake someones hand I don’t start at their hand and then travel up their arm – I (think) I am looking at their eyes and our hands just somehow meet… without us having to look at hands to make sure they meet. And I keep looking at their eyes.

When I speak I HATE wearing a badge. I take it off when I’m speaking (and I empty my pockets… no wallet, keys, phone, etc. to distract)…. and by that time people at a conference know me so I don’t put my name badge back on …

I’ve never actually seen it written in a book that it’s supposed to be worn in the upper right. But whenever I talk to “ettiquette professionals” or do a poll the general concensus is “upper right.” As far as the eye traveling, I don’t think it’s something people do on purpose. I think it’s just that people tend to look down at the hand they’ll be shaking real quickly to kind of be sure it’s either out and ready or going to be shortly, and then then they look up at the other person’s face, passing by the arm.

Granted, this could all just be a bogus excuse to explain an obscure ettiquette rule. As I said, at the luncheon where this came up, everyone had their name tags on the left. And most company’s require it on the left. I know Disney does.

And name tags are truly annoying. I hate it when the sticky ones fall off and you have to restick them, which makes them less sticky so they fall off again…

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Who Am I?

I am a Digital Native who is trying to puzzle out what exactly that means. I share my thoughts on social media, digital business models, and PR here on this blog.

I am currently getting my Masters in Digital Marketing from Hult International Business School, having gotten my B.S. in Marketing from Arizona State University. Everything is on track and I am making headway towards my dream: World Domination... or being a productive, helpful citizen and marketer. Whichever comes first.

Don't hesitate to get in touch. I Tweet daily at @KateDavids and also have a science fiction and fantasy blog (maskedgeek.wordpress.com) and Twitter (@Masked_Geek).

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