My good friend Kristyn Brophy contributed this great piece to the blog. You should follow her!
Do you remember going to conferences and in-person events pre-pandemic? You would walk into the room, greet the individuals working the registration table, and they would search through a sea of little paper rectangles to find your name tag.
Yes, the dreaded name tag.
Whether it be a sticky label, a clip that you somehow affix to your outfit, or, if you’re lucky, one of those fancy lanyards, a name tag is an important identifier for individuals at events and conferences. Those paper rectangles act as an initial introduction and can identify other relevant pieces of information about you or your practice.
Your display name in virtual meetings is your “name tag” in our “new normal.”
First and foremost, your display name needs to be correct. I have seen plenty of people pop into Zoom meetings with terms such as “Joe’s iPad,” “email@example.com,” “homecomputer,” and “username” on display. Sure, I know who “Joe’s iPad” is during internal meetings with my firm or a virtual hangout with friends, but if I were meeting this person for the first time in a virtual networking program, I would remember them as “Joe’s iPad.”
Some questions you can ask yourself at the beginning of the meeting to check if your name is correct:
- Is my name accurately spelled?
- Is this what I want people to call me? (Daniel vs. Dan)
- Is it displayed in the proper format? (O’Brian vs. o’Brian, DelFrisco vs. del Frisco)
Your display name shows up in AT LEAST four places during any given Zoom meeting. 1. At the bottom of your video feed, 2. In the list of meeting participants, 3. In the chatbox, and 4. In place of your video feed, if you don’t have a profile picture uploaded. That’s four opportunities to have someone see and remember your name.
Now, let’s take it a step further. You can change your display name to whatever you would like it to be, so why not take advantage of that? Provide a unique identifier to help you stand out from the crowd. This helps build your personal brand and fosters more organic networking when you can’t have an in-person conversation. It also helps to customize your name for each meeting and cater to different audiences.
I encourage you to get creative and find an identifier that works best for you.
Some scenarios for custom display names:
- “Kristyn Brophy, Boston Office” This is great for internal meetings at companies with multiple or even global offices. Another option is to add your department: “Kristyn Brophy, Marketing, Boston Office.”
- “Kristyn Brophy, Director of Marketing & BD, Conn Kavanaugh” or “Kristyn Brophy, Conn Kavanaugh” A simple identifier with your title and company, or both, for networking events.
- “Kristyn Brophy, Marketing Renaissance Woman” I use this display name as a conversation starter. Many people will ask, “What does ‘Marketing Renaissance Woman mean?'”
- One of Conn Kavanaugh’s estate planning partners will use her tagline “I bring life to death and taxes” as her display name during networking opportunities. It’s creative and fosters organic conversation about her practice.
So, Mr. Shakespeare, “what’s in a name?” The answer is identity. Your name is often the first thing a connection will learn about you. It’s essential to have your name on display in our “new normal” of virtual meetings. Never attend a networking event without your name tag.
Don’t know how to change your display name in Zoom? Here’s a quick tutorial on YouTube.
This article refers specifically to Zoom meetings and virtual networking events. However, the mechanics can apply to other platforms. This method does not work for webinars or other virtual events where attendees cannot see the full list of participants. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on LinkedIn or reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kristyn A. Brophy is the Director of Marketing & Business Development at Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP. A “Marketing Renaissance Woman,” she uses her cross-disciplinary background to create actionable strategies that help attorneys become better revenue generators.