Monday, November 28, 2005

Key Networking Skill: Saying Goodbye

Some people just don't feel comfortable networking. But with the holidays approaching - and along with them, those ubiquitous holiday cocktail parties - it might be helpful to take a closer look at one of the most-overlooked networking skills of all - saying goodbye.

Hey, it happens. Sometimes a conversation just runs its course. Other times the 'chemistry' is all wrong. And every now and then, it's just time and you're ready to move on. So how do you gracefully end a conversation so that: (a) you don't look - or feel - like a jerk; and (b) you don't spend the whole evening trying to make conversation with the same person?

Here are some ideas:
  • Excuse me, I have to go to the wash room. It's been nice talking with you.
  • Excuse me, I'm going to freshen my drink. It's been nice talking with you.
  • Excuse me, there are a few more people I'm hoping to meet this evening. It's been nice talking with you.
  • Excuse me, I'm going to mingle a bit. It's been nice talking with you.
  • Excuse me, I'd like to meet three more people tonight. It's been nice talking with you.

Notice the three-step format:

  1. "Excuse me"
  2. (some reason)
  3. "It's been nice talking with you."

Many people might say that the "reason" - that is, step 2 - is the most important part of this process. I daresay, however, that it's actually the least important - just wrap it between a respectful "Excuse me" and a genuine "It's been nice talking with you" and the rest will take care of itself.

Key words: respectful, and genuine. Go on and try it and see for yourself.

Bonus: Once you're clear on how to pleasantly exit a conversation, you might just find that the conversations you stay with are that much more enjoyable for you. It's odd how it works, but it usually does.


What are your favorite ways to politely extricate yourself from networking chit-chat? Please post your tips so that other GottaGettaBlog! readers can benefit from them.



Anonymous Viv said...

You mean "I don't like you" and 'You bore me" aren't among the polite ways??? Seriously, that was a great idea for some of the more tactless among us - sometimes I wonder if I forgot to put on deodorant or if I am so ugly that the person is looking away for someone else to talk to beause I hurt their eyes. Maintaining eye contact until you extricate yourself is also polite.
Love to you all, Viv

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 7:29:00 AM CST  
Anonymous beezee, the life coach said...

Building on Viv's post, if you're on the receiving end of someone who's ready to move on to another conversation, don't take it personally. Know that it probably has very little to do with you.

But if you're interested in continuing the conversation at a later point, ask for a business card before they go. That way you'll know how to contact them if you so choose.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 7:34:00 AM CST  
Anonymous Alvin said...

If the conversation has been fruitful, I like to include a 'thanks for the info/tip/whatever on...' and a 'we'll talk again soon' (if I mean it!).

Friday, December 2, 2005 1:07:00 AM CST  
Anonymous yft said...

I had to smile as I remembered this entry after exiting a conversation at a party last Friday evening. From across the room, I was waved to, and literally signaled over. "Oh! Excuse me - I've been summoned! It was very nice meeting you." "Thank you - you too!" was the smiling reply. Exit, stage left - and away I went.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005 9:06:00 AM CST  
Anonymous Dave said...

If you're weird enough then people will welcome any opportunity to stop talking to you. The two problems with being socially inept are (a) people are always using clever ways to stop talking to you and (b) you don't realise its happening until they've finished doing it. Ah, if only we could learn their technique! Ah, if only we wanted to stop talking before they did!

Tuesday, December 6, 2005 2:25:00 PM CST  
Blogger Barry Zweibel said...

Hi Dave - thanks for your post. see my 12/9 entry, "On Becoming a Better Conversationalist" for more on this.

Thursday, December 8, 2005 8:14:00 AM CST  

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