Green for hugs, Red for no thank you – Colour coding strategies for your in-person events

13 May 2022 6:29 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

To encourage better respect towards people’s boundaries, event hosts are using colored accessories to help people communicate their comfort around physical touch

Lanyard system

While organising the conference, provide a green, yellow, or red lanyard to participants so they can indicate their level of engagement comfort to others.

The green means, ‘I’m fine. I’m comfortable. Come give me a hug,’

The yellow means, ‘I’m not so comfortable. Maybe give me a fist bump and stay 1 to 3 metres away from me. I’ll have a mask on maybe.’

The red means, ‘If you can keep 6 feet from me, I’d appreciate it. I will have on a mask.’”

People can display their own comfort level—and most importantly, you can see it from a distance. Creating a safe environment for you to feel comfortable and still network and make connections and do all those kinds of things that you do when you attend a conference.

Attendees will choose their lanyards when they get to the conference. Attendees, if they change their mind while at the event and begin to feel more or less comfortable, can ask staff to swap out their lanyard.

In addition to the lanyard system, the organization is considering using color coding for other things, like Reception tables.

  • Green table, they may have 10 chairs,
  • Red table, they may have four chairs.

So, people can perceptually feel comfortable and see what that looks like before they join.”

Send out an email every other week to discuss updates and safety protocols.

The hardest thing about planning for this aspect of the conference is the changing regulations, which Shanklin and meeting staff are following closely. Right now, the Fort Worth Convention Center does not require masks, so the lanyard system makes sense. If anything changes, the organisation will reflect that in their final plans and language used to describe the system.

Make the event be safe. And make sure you are also giving people the opportunity to be as comfortable as possible.

The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE)

Australian Office:
Address: Unit 6, 26 Navigator Place, Hendra QLD 4011 Australia
Free Call: +61 1300 764 576
Phone: +61 7 3268 7955

New Zealand Office:
Address: 159 Otonga Rd, Rotorua 3015 New Zealand
Phone: +64 27 249 8677


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