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Trainer’s Tip: Ditch the Name Plates


Reflecting on the old argument about introductions and whether you should use name plates on courses, Paul Sinclair offers this memorable tip.

One technique that worked very well recently on a course I attended was to ask the attendees to introduce themselves and compare their first name with somebody famous. They then had to explain what they might have in common.

The trainer used this as an effective ice breaker with many amusing comparisons and it helped her to remember the people's names without using name plates.

7 Responses

  1. Fab idea.
    Similar approach used on a course I attended was to get people to give their names, together with a memory aid, e.g. someone called Marion might have compared herself to Maid Marion of Robin Hood fame, who also had long, dark brown hair.

  2. Make the print large!
    This is a great idea and I appreciate the linking up idea. In the absence of this I just like to get the person’s first name correct every time so if badges are still the preferred solution I wish the badges just focused on this and kept the font size large enough to see from a distance!

  3. Different things work for different people
    In contrast to the other respondents, this idea does not appeal to me at all, for several reasons:

    1. the only famous person I can think of with my name was a notorious brothel madam

    2. delegates with uncommon names or names from non-English cultures may be at a loss and therefore embarassed by such an exercise

    3. as someone who learns better through the visual rather than the auditory channel, seeing a name helps me remember it more than anything else, so I find name tags invaluable. Also, you can keep taking a peek at them through the day, if you forget someone’s name!

  4. Remembering Names.
    I play a reporter’s game to get people to know one another as an ice-breaker. I also use name tent where participants write the name they want to be called and place it direct infront of them. This way I(as well as others) can see their names clearly.

  5. Western Thinking
    I agree its a very Western Centric idea. If the delegate refers to a famous person from their own culture (of whom you are unaware) you are none the wiser.

    I know someone called Adolf, how about Rabindranath etc etc

  6. Names and Plates..
    One game I have found useful is to take in a soft juggling ball.

    1) throw the ball at someone and get them to introduce themselves
    2) Go round the class until all delegates have introduced themselves
    3) Continue, but asking the delegates to say another delegates name then throw the ball at them.

    it’s fun, breaks the ice, and everyone gets to remember who is who. Including the trainer !


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