The Real Value of the Red Lanyard

A sea of ‘red lanyards’ at TBN this morning! Visitors are a very welcome sight. I am confident that those visitors felt welcome – because the organisers and members are nice welcoming people! However, we all know that the ‘new kid on the block’ feeling can be one of anxiety and trepidation.

I would hazard a guess that most of us recall a ‘first day’ moment. I still remember my first day at school (back in Victorian times) – not joyful memories.

I fear some of us will even have bad memories of a first day in a new job.

If you have any negative associations with being a ‘newbie’, then you might have reservations about the ‘red lanyard’ system recently introduced for identifying visitors to TBN.  The bright red adornment is, after all, a very clear identifier of ‘newness’.

However, (and your comments welcome) I would argue that there is a total absence of negatives and a crate load of positives that come with this new red/blue lanyard system.

I have observed these red lanyard effects:

  • An immediate starting point to conversation and connection. Questioning with genuine curiosity – making the newcomer feel welcomed and of value. ‘Ah – you have the mark of a newcomer! How’s it going so far?’
  • An ‘engaged +’ kind of listening to the newcomer’s ‘minute’ spot. Blue lanyard wearers thinking ‘We want you to feel at ease and valued. We remember how it felt for us the first time.’ (I do need to you read this in the context of networking!)
  • The sense of shared experience between the newcomers – ‘Ah, I see you’re a first timer too.’  A sense of belonging that we all need – a relaxed non-competitive environment that makes us feel ‘safe’ and more inclined to communicate openly.

So – let’s recap.

The red lanyard identifier is encouraging us to:

  • Be curious
  • Listen actively
  • Find commonality

When you put these 3 strategies into the process of communication – particularly at a networking event – you create rapport. Rapport breeds trust and trust ultimately leads to being in a position of influence. The influence part is good – but I am not suggesting a pushy sales pitch kind of influencing – I am talking about mutual influence born out of a feeling of trust and understanding. I’m sure you’ll agree that making those relationships is one of the joys of TBN.

So – long live the red lanyard system and may the red turn to blue! (Now I sound like a politician, so I’ll end there).


Trisha Lewis

Communication Coach and Speaker

Helping organisations and individuals remove barriers to effective communication.