So far, all is well – with the right mindset and clear goals you’ve approached a group of people at a networking event, made a smooth entrance and enchanted them with your conversation skills – and now you want to move on to the next group of people.
But how to do that without seeming rude or abrupt? After all, the way you leave is the last impression that they have of you and it might override all positive efforts made so far. On the other hand, monopolizing other people’s time can also be seen as rude. Doesn’t that sound like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place?
That’s where today’s article comes in handy, bellow you will find successful networking tips and strategies on how to manage the time that you spend on each conversation and how to make a graceful exit.
Brevity is the soul of wit – a brief but memorable encounter will give you the opportunity to approach more people and therefore make the networking effort worthwhile. The ideal time would be somewhere around 8 to 10 minutes.
Why this specific number? Try to have a conversation with a friend and time yourself. 10 minutes is enough for two parties to exchange stories. If you make it too short then it would seem as if you are treating conversations like items a conveyor belt – just another quick stop before the sales point. Aim for quality, not quantity.
That being said, you don’t want to talk with just one person for the entire event – giving yourself a time limit helps keep you on track and reminds you when it’s time to disengage.
If you’ve found your knight in shining armor – a.k.a. a person that you would want to talk to more than the time limit you imposed on yourself, a simple way to do that is to suggest meeting up at some other time to get more in depth with the subject.
This is a nice way of signaling a draw to the conversation – the other person will not have any reason to feel offended since you already made an appointment to meet up at a later date.
What if instead of the knight in shining armor you’ve come across the dread of the networking event, the “network bore” complete with their arsenal of sales pitches? In this case, a well timed excuse can come in handy and help you make a dignified hasty retreat – the accent falling on dignified.
In this case, a drink is your best friend – with a glass of something in hand, you always have the option of cutting off conversations to go get a refill. Just point to you glass with a gentle tilt of the head and offer up “ It’s been great talking to you, hope to catch you around at some other event/later time”.
You can also make a polite exit with the aid of a friendly face – spotting an acquaintance gives you a good reason to leave the conversation to go catch up. Alternatively, it gives you the opportunity to introduce your conversation partner to your acquaintance and then let the talk center on them while you gradually fade out.
Asking for a business card is a simple way of signaling a desire to end a conversation. You can follow it up with an offer to catch up later at some specific time. For this stage, the best would be to plan for an e-mail or a phone call follow up. Remember to always honor the promises you make – it helps builds rapport.
Another nice way to exit a conversation is by wishing the other person good luck in their endeavors. Make sure to provide details when you use this line – it will make the other person feel good, since you will give the impression of having attentively listened to their story. While on that note, if you want to build additional rapport, offer up to be on the lookout for anything that might be helpful to your conversation partner.
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