Ode to the Name Tent!

In the corporate environment, Name Tents are pretty standard. I will admit to not liking them at first, but now that I’ve had the opportunity to use them more, they have grown on me, and I have found there are some benefits to using them. Clearly these are not a tool of choice if I am working in an outdoor environment, but if you are in a classroom setting, they can be pretty useful! Here are some useful tips for Name Tents:
  • Have participant’s sign their name on the front and the back of the Name Tent. This allows you to see their name from all angles of the room. If I’m at the front of the classroom, it helps me learn their names more quickly. If I’m at the back of the classroom leading an activity and I have forgotten someone’s name, I can glance over at where I remember them sitting and use it as a quick reference tool. This trick has saved me multiple times.
  • There is nothing more personal than someone’s name The quicker we can start calling people by their name, the quicker they feel connected to the group.
  • Name Tents can also be their first invitation to participate in your program. By signing your name you have just ‘signed in’ to the room.
  • Learn about people’s style based on how they sign their name. Although this is not backed up with scientific data, I can start to learn who might be my introverts and extroverts based on how they sign their name.  (See the picture above for reference.)
  • You could also print your Feedback Form on the inside and have them complete it at the end of the training. No need to sign their name as they already did when they started!
Use the inside of the name tent to write or print discussion questions or review questions relevant to your course. You can also use it as a way to check in with your participants and leave them short notes on their performance or connect with them in a different way. One of my favorite ice breaker questions to ask is, “What is the significance of your name?” Usually this is the third or fourth question I ask, as I feel it goes a little deeper than a surface level ice breaker question. Obviously our names are very personal to us, and there is usually a short story to tell about how you were given your name.What I like about this question from a programming point of view, is that it helps us make a connection with that person, and it also helps us remember their name. There are many name games out there in our industry, and I have a few others that I really like, but from a one-on-one connection point of view this question by far has the most impact for me. Ode to the Name Tent!  I hope this was a helpful tip for you!