One of the “dilemmas” of business networking is how to end a conversation in a polite, yet effective way. Nobody wants to appear rude or insensitive, but let’s face it — we often find ourselves “stuck” in a conversation without a clear exit strategy.
So, how do we end a conversation gracefully?
It’s all in using their name.
Yep — it’s right there on their nametag, on the card they’ve handed you and, hopefully, you’ve been using it throughout your conversation to solidify it in your brain. Hearing our name instantly grabs our attention and stops us in our tracks. Whether talking or doing something else, the use of our name will immediately focus us on the person who is saying it.
Now, please don’t suddenly interrupt someone by shouting their name at them. That will certainly work to end the conversation, but probably not in the way you would want to.
Instead, wait for a brief pause or as the person takes a breath or a sip of their drink and say something like:
“Brenda, it’s been great talking with you. I know we’re both here to meet people, so I don’t want to monopolize any more of your time. Thanks for the great conversation (or advice, or tip or information about your business, etc.) and I hope we have an opportunity to speak in the future.”
Even if the conversation has been fabulous and you have found a reason to further your business contact, there’s something to be said for leaving a party while it’s still fun — the same is true for a networking conversation. Although we don’t want to discontinue it prematurely, we do want to take advantage of our networking time to meet others and for our new contact to do the same.
Do you have any other suggestions for ways to gracefully exit a conversation? Please leave your tip below by clicking on the “Comment” link under this post.