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unCon 2014 Post: Stinkin’ Badges and Personal Branding at the MassTLC UnConference

By
Patrick Rafter,
Valuecasters

“Badges?! We don’ need no stinkin’
badges!!”

Having
been to all seven @MassTLC UnConferences, I can say that the badges at this year’s
event were the best yet.

One brilliant innovation: Print name and company on both sides of the badge so
that when the lanyard turns around, others can still see your name.  Dohh!

On
their arrival at the 2014 @MassTLC #UNCONF, the more than 700 registrants
retrieved their name badges and lanyards and then noticed a table with stacks
of button like stickers to be affixed to our name tags with descriptors of who we
are:
The
stickers were:
  • Investor
  • Mobile
  • Robotics
  • Designer
  • Beer
    Hound
  • Marketing
    Guru
  • Developer
  • Active
    Lifestyle

Certainly
this is a good selection of descriptors that summarize individuals’ job
function or interests for a lot of those present, but… without going “sticker
mad” here are some suggestions I heard today from attendees of stickers that
would have described themselves:
  • Sales
  • Entrepreneur
  • Renaissance
    Woman
  • Sustainability
    Innovator
  • Problem
    Solver
  • Wine
    aficionado
  • Luddite

If
you had to distill your essence into a single phrase, what would it be?
If
you’re at a loss about communicating your personal brand, you might want to
take some tips from Dan
Schwabel
, Bentley alum and author of two definitive books: “Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career
Success
” and
“Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future.”
Some
of the people I spoke with today suggested that rather than wearing a label
that said who they are, it could be useful to have name tags that succinctly displayed
what they personally wanted to get out
of the unConference
  • “Looking
    for money”

    and their opposite counterpart VCs “Looking
    to invest”
  • “Looking for Job” and “Hiring talent”

With
color coded dots… job seekers could see prospective employers at a glance
across the room…
One
of the consistent themes of MassTLC and the unConference has been bringing
people together who might otherwise never connect. This year continues that
tradition.

Who knows what will
come next? 
Perhaps
MassTLC could follow the example of Newton, MA based Booster.com — the website that lets people
design and sell custom t-shirts in thru online
fundraisers
to benefit the causes they care about. While those shirts raise
thousands of dollars, they also function as “walking billboards” to raise
awareness about their cause.

What ideas DO YOU
HAVE to improve how people effectively and efficiently connect at these sorts
of events?

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