How to end a networking conversation with style

By Morag Barrett on July 26, 2016

Posted by Morag Barrett | July 26, 2016How to end a networking conversation with styleNetworking advice tends to focus on how to get started, work a room, talk to anyone. These are important skills to cultivating winning relationships, however it’s also important that you can exit a conversation gracefully. We all want to avoid appearing rude, especially if you are exiting a conversation that has been a little dry. Try, at all costs, to avoid the abrupt and sudden exit. You know what I mean, when you glance at your watch, suddenly remember you are late and blurt out:“Sorry, I have to go.”It feels awkward. It feels insincere – even if you really, really do have to go!Whether it’s been a great conversation or one that you are trying to escape from politeness is key. Here are 10 suggestions for ending a conversation gracefully.“Sarah, it’s been great talking with you. Thank you for sharing your experience of… enjoy the rest of the event/evening” – offer a handshake (unless you are also balancing a drink, plate of food etc) and move on.“Please excuse me, I promised I would call home” – as you exit make sure you do make a call (or appear to make a call).“I promised myself I’d meet 3 new people this evening. Who would you suggest I talk to next?” this can be a great exit strategy if they know others at the event they can make the next introduction. This breaks the ice in starting the new conversation. If they answer “I don’t know” then simply thank them and move on.“Have you met Stephen? Let me introduce you.” – this is the opposite of my previous suggestion. Here you are initiating the new introduction and once you have done so you are free to move on.“Do you know where the rest rooms are?” – a simple excuse and signal that the conversation has come to an end. However, do head to the restroom and not the bar to avoid any misunderstanding and offence!“I enjoyed talking with you. Will you be at the next event? Maybe we could meet there and continue our conversation.” – short and sweet that leaves the door open for future casual connections.“Do you have a card?” – sometimes the obvious approaches are the easiest! Ask for a card, look at it, then thank the person for their time.“Thanks for spending time with me.  May I connect with you on LinkedIn?” – I do tend to ask, or mention LinkedIn before sending an invitation.“I’d love to talk in more detail. Would you be open to coffee next week?” – where it makes sense be proactive and plan for a following up meeting. This allows you to exit the current conversation.“Let me give you my card. Please do let me know if I can be of any help to you or your project.” – if you aren’t offered a card, or don’t need their card, then offer yours, it’s a standard signal that the conversation is ending.There you have it. 10 suggestions for exiting a conversation at a networking event with grace.Do let us know what advice you would add in the comments below!*************Breaking News!Are you looking for more professional relationship tools and resources? Want to develop Ally relationships but not sure how?Then join our Cultivate@Work Community! The Cultivate@Work Field Guide is packed full of articles, activities, videos and podcasts to support you in cultivating your winning relationships.You can also order your copy of Cultivate. The Power of Winning Relationships from all booksellers. It is available in hard copy and digital formats.Related ArticlesTags »Cultivating Winning Relationshipsnetworkingprofessional relationships Share
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