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Associations Now

The Great Shirt Debate

ASSOCIATIONS NOW, December 2012 Meetings

By: Samantha Whitehorne

Summary: Is matching staff attire right for your event?

You want your association's staff to stand out when they're onsite at one of your conferences or events. So what's a meeting planner to do to make that easier? For many, including Kay Granath, CMP, CAE, director of meetings and conventions at Association Management Center, the answer includes matching, association-branded shirts for staff.

"I have found some people love it—both members and staff—and some people are not fond of it," she says. But before you jump online and order matching shirts for everyone on your team, keep these pros and cons in mind:

Pros

  • Members, exhibitors, and other attendees will be able to identify staff easily and find assistance quickly when needed.
  • Staff won't need to worry about what to pack or wear each day. Also, planners can rest assured that staffers will show up dressed appropriately.

Cons

  • Everyone's built differently, so requiring everyone to wear a button-down shirt may not be a way to make fans among staff. Instead, give them the option to choose from a golf shirt, long-sleeved T-shirt, or fleece vest. Also, keep color in mind. Avoid pastels and neon, and stick to basics like blue, black, gray, and white, which flatter just about any skin tone.
  • Staff need to be on their "A game" onsite. If they're uncomfortable in what they're wearing, they may not project the best image for your association.

Samantha Whitehorne is deputy editor at Associations Now in Washington, DC. Email: swhitehorne@asaecenter.org

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