"Even though I sort of half guessed what the answer might be, I went ahead and asked the question anyway.
"Why do you have Cardiff, Wales written under your name?"
"Cardiff is where I was born." replied the waiter.
The conversation then continued for a couple of minutes centring on how long she had been in Australia, why she had left Wales etc. She also explained that everybody in the hotel had their birthplace inscribed on their respective name badges and how positive the idea had been in creating conversation between guests and staff."
Although Graham is looking at this from a sales and marketing perspective his point is relevant to any group that is trying to build relationships. A key step in establishing rapport is engaging in conversations on a first name basis as quickly as possible.
You could have a lot of fun with this. Here are a few possibilities from the conventional to the quirky:
* your nickname
* sports you love to play or watch
* the footy team you follow
* your favourite biography
* what's on the cover of your diary
* a thought provoking quote
* your personal motto
* the beginning of an interesting story
Can you suggest any better ones?
Add something interesting or unexpected to a name badge at your next seminar, conference or community of practice kick-off meeting and watch curiosity get those conversations started.