How many of you have had that “zen” moment…you’re at a networking function. Started a conversation with someone. And after a few minutes you realize… ummm I want out of this conversation and don’t know how! And then you start praying for an even higher power?
We’ve all been there. Here are 7 tips on how to exit a conversation – gracefully.
You go to a networking function and suddenly find yourself attached to the “cling-on”.
Do you know what a “cling-on” is? It’s that person that you meet that is determined to never leave your side. Just like the dryer sheet that is attached to your pant leg because of static cling…on.
How do you make a clean get-a-way?
We generally stay in a conversation longer than we intend to because:
- We are talkers and all wrapped up in what we have to say.
- We feel trapped or don’t want to be the first to sever the conversation.
- We are “comfortable” and don’t want to leave or be left. The fear of meeting another stranger or worse the fear of feeling like we will be rejected by a stranger.
Done properly, an authentic farewell will actually enhance your relationship.
1. THE GIFT OF FREEDOM: Wrap up the conversation you are in, as if you were wrapping a present…bring it back full circle by recalling why you originally connected.
For example: John, it’s been wonderful talking with you and learning more about your business. I came today because and I would like to make the most of this networking opportunity and keep meeting people.
- Here is my business card – - or
- May I get your business card – - or
- I have your business card and I’ll keep you in mind and hope to see you at other chamber events.
2. HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY: I’ve enjoyed meeting you. I hope you don’t mind, I want to circulate and meet some other great people.
3. LOOKING FOR THE TRIFECTA: I promised myself I would meet 3 new people before I leave here, so I have a couple more people to meet.
Or my favorite:
4. DOUBLE-FISTED NETWORKING: Carry 2 drinks, if you find yourself talking to someone you want to escape from, politely excuse yourself by saying you need to deliver the other drink.
- IF you find yourself in a good conversation, you can either share the drink with them, or just drink it yourself!
5. SHARING IS CARING. Share the Cling-on…Be the bridge, not the road block. If you know you’re not going to do business with the person you are chatting with, ask them who they would like to meet and then introduce them to someone else. Now they become THAT person’s conversationalist.
6. THE HAND-OFF: Or if they tend to be the know-it-all schmoozer, ask them for a referral… Do you know anyone here that might be interested in my product or service? And then ask them to introduce you.
7. CLING MORE: It’s ok to say, I don’t want to monopolize your time, can we meet later? Is it OK if I contact you to schedule a time to continue the conversation and learn about each other’s business, maybe over a cup of coffee? Or volunteering, I plan on being at next month’s “Schmooze.” Will I see you then?
As a Chamber person, it frustrates me to hear people say…”Yea, I went to one of your events but I didn’t meet anyone”. Or, “I went there to network and got nothin’” – Let me ask ya this…Who’s fault is that?
Did you find yourself trapped in a conversation? Were you brave enough to get out of it?
My challenge to you is to open your gate to networking. Allow others AND YOURSELF the freedom to walk up to a group and introduce yourself, and at the same time…allow others AND YOURSELF the freedom to move on and open up even more opportunities.
Here’s a bonus tip… try out your get-away this Thursday at Business After Hours. We’ll be at Studio Dan Meiners from 5 to 7 p.m. It’s a beautiful place and the networking will be great!
Got a good networking escape plan? I’d love to learn about it. Go ahead, add your comment to this blog and share the knowledge.