Networking Tip: How to exit a conversation without being rude
Walk into any business networking event and there are usually two types of people you are most likely to meet, the first set, these are the people who are inspiring and stimulating, they leave you feeling upbeat, glad that you’ve encountered them and you look forward to having another conversation with them in the future. The other set, these people suck the energy from you, they monopolise the conversation, only talk about themselves and frankly you wished you had never met. It can be awkward moment knowing how to end the conversation and move on, but how can you make a graceful exit?
Remember why you are networking
What is your real motive when you go to any networking event? You arrived with a purpose – one reason might be to meet more than one person, use this as a prompt or reason for moving on, don’t lose out on opportunities to form new ties.
Take control, bring the conversation full circle and assertively wrap up the discussion.
“I know you’ve got a lot of people to talk to, so let’s grab a coffee sometime”. Only do this if you genuinely want to follow up, if you actually don’t want to pick up the conversation at a later date, don’t suggest this.
Pull in another person to the discussion, introduce them to another acquaintance, stay for a while longer to facilitate the introduction and make the necessary associations for them, when they start making conversation, you can say, “I’ll leave you two to talk” and leave them be. It could end up benefiting everyone.
Ask them to introduce you to others. This is perfect for networking events and it pulls more new contacts into the conversation and it’s the reason you came to meet new people.
Anticipate when a conversation will wane, give upbeat reasons for moving on and leave others feeling good. “It’s been great talking to you and I know that you didn’t come here to just talk with me, so I’ll let you go so you can meet other people.” Say this with confidence and in a friendly manner for it to be effective. If you say this sentence in an apologetic way, it will sound like you are making poor excuses.
They may also want to exit the conversation! We sometimes forget the other person may also be ready to move on. Signs to look for:
The conversation is naturally running out of steam
The other person starts to lose eye contact and starts scanning the room over your shoulder
The conversation has been going on long enough (schedule a time to follow up if you want to take the conversation onto the next level)
Suggest a future plan, or ask for a business card, you can add this sentence to your exit: “It has been good chatting to you if you’ve got a card it would be really good to stay connected.”
There are plenty of situations that call for different kinds of exits. The only real rule that really matters is to be respectful and stay polite. No matter what the circumstances or who you’re talking to, maintaining a polite attitude goes a long way, conclude with a smile and a handshake before you part ways and try to never leave anyone by themselves.
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