All in the name badge…

Liz Wooton found that one simple thing made a huge difference in creating an equal space for people to connect at #seeme14…

It’s a small thing, but one of the biggest items of note for me from the see me event has been the name badges. Because that’s all they are. There is no labelling on us, identifying us as working for a particular organisation or doing a particular job, or identifying us with the (possibly contentious) label of ‘service user’. We are here on an equal footing. There is no status. We are identified by our names only.

I’m struck by this in particular, and I know I’m not the only one, because it speaks to me of how much labelling can hold us back. Not just labelling of ourselves, but seeing the labels on other people, which might intimidate us, or give us preconceived ideas of who they are or what they know or how they might behave towards us. Identification and labelling have been themes that have emerged from this event, and I’d love to see further discussion on how labelling (by self or others) in a wider sense affects people.

The lack of labelling here has allowed people the freedom simply to be people. To share ideas and experiences openly and confidently as human beings, with other human beings.

Lines and distinctions so often get drawn in life. I suppose we often like to put things (or people) in neat boxes. But this event has shown how effective breaking down barriers, blurring the lines, and removing our usual tendency to label can be. Perhaps this small thing can be more important in getting rid of stigma than we give it credit for. It opens the door for treating each person as an individual, another theme I’ve heard over and over for the last couple of days.

Thank you, see me, for starting as you mean to go on.

Liz Wootton is a Small Business Coach with Human Nature. She works with business owners and teams on personal development, with the philosophy firmly directed towards the role of human beings in business development. Her work often delves into self-confidence, self-esteem, stress resilience, productivity, and the ways that personal perception of self and others can affect positivity and behaviour.