I had the opportunity to lead a Networking 101 seminar for YPC last week. During that event we covered a lot of topics. The most popular seemed to be the tips on how to exit a conversation. There was great feedback immediately following the event and I even received a couple emails mentioning how people have used these tips in the past week. Here’s a brief synopsis of what was covered.
Use drinks to your advantage - it’s pretty simple. Drinks need refilled when they’re empty. When I find myself in the middle of a conversation that is either unproductive or needs to end I simply excuse myself to refill my drink. The other party is free to join you in your refill or can continue networking.
Introduce a useful connection – as the conversation progresses and reaches a natural ending an easy transition is to introduce a useful connection or friend. I’m not recommending putting a friend in a situation you’re not enjoying, I’m recommending only introducing someone if it makes sense both parties meet. For example: I would introduce a mortgage banker to a real estate agent I was talking to if the conversation was at a close but we couldn’t figure out how to end it.
Do them the favor of ending the conversation – this is my personal favorite. When a conversation is coming to a close I will use the following dialogue:
“It was so nice to meet you this evening. I don’t want to monopolize all of your time tonight and I know you want to make other conversations. Let’s connect later. Thank you so much for your time and happy connecting!”
This allows the other person to feel good about the meeting while ending the conversation on a high note.
The purpose of these tips is to make the end of the conversation as positive as possible. This way the relationship can continue and the opportunity for future conversations remains strong. Leave the other party feeling good and make sure to follow up when the conversation can truly be used to build a long term relationship.