Navigating Networking: The Graceful Exit

Easy Conversation Closers
Have you ever been at a networking event – in the middle of a nice enough conversation – yet secretly plotting how to move on? Or perhaps you are at a party, catching up with an old friend or former co-worker and the conversation starts to wind down but you are both still standing there. Awkward! If you are thinking, “How do I end the conversation without being rude?” then you are channeling Law # 8 – the Law of Mood Memory.

The truth is people remember how you made them feel more than anything you said. So it is crucial to the long term relationship to end on the right note. Ideally, you want to leave the conversation with the other person feeling energized, with a desire to reconnect. Here are a few ‘closers’ that will keep that energy up:

•  “I will make sure to…” and fill in the follow-up item.

•  “Do you prefer phone or email? Great, you will hear from me very soon.”

•  “I am so glad I met you. Thanks for telling me about….”

Another scenario that pops up often is when you are not sure if it is time to end the conversation or not. Try one of the following conversation curtailers—they leave the door open if the person wants to continue the conversation—but also provide an out if they feel it’s time to move on.

The More The Merrier: If you spot someone not engaged in conversation, suggest bringing them into yours. Adding a new person to the group can refresh the conversation and allow people the chance to exit gracefully if they want to.

Can I get you a Drink?: Saying, “I am going to get a drink. Can I get you one?” gives the person the choice to either end the conversation or continue on. Take your cue from their response.

I’m Headed This Way: Test out something like, “I wanted to check out the (fill in the blank). Would you like to join me?” This shows you are not trying to get rid of the other person, and that you’d even welcome the chance to explore more of the event with them. This tactic can be especially useful in a conference or workshop setting.

Shall We Mingle?: This is similar to the previous option, but useful in almost any social situation. Moving through a crowd with someone also creates opportunities to re-energize a previous conversation or open up new topics of discussion.

Have a specific networking question? Chances are many other people are struggling with the same issue.  Send me your question and I’ll answer it in a future post.

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