While some may say that starting conversations at networking events is rather difficult, many are challenged by how to close or end them. Networking situations can prove to make even the most social people nervous about the situation and how to end on a positive note. There is so much focus on how to strike up a conversation in these situations, but ending them in a way that is professional and polite while not being ridiculously awkward is rarely discussed.
Here are three ways that you can successfully end a conversation at a networking event without a bunch of excuses or awkward pauses:
- Simply ask for a business card. – A classic tactic for any networking event, asking for a business card has become a somewhat antiquated practice in the age of email and LinkedIn. However, asking for a card is a great way to cap off a conversation by both making it clear that the conversation is ending and gives you the person’s contact information. You can then end the conversation by saying something like, “It was nice talking to you and I look forward to getting in touch in the future!”
- Make another introduction. – The end of a conversation doesn’t have to mean that you and the other person must avoid each other for the rest of the event. Instead, try segueing into a new conversation by bringing new people into the mix. If you know someone else at the event, introduce the new networking acquaintance that you are talking to and start a new dialogue. After this new conversation starts, you can choose to stay and keep on chatting or can excuse yourself to move onto meeting someone else. This will also help build up your reputation as someone who makes introductions in the world of business.
- Start planning for next time. – Networking is, at its core, about laying the foundation for future business relationships. It is not about a one-and-done singular meeting. It is easy to say that you will connect and stay in touch after the initial conversation, but people rarely follow through with this promise. Instead, actively start planning for the next meeting by pulling up your calendar and finding a time then and there. This takes the guesswork out of what will come from the business relationship and will also make parting much less awkward. After all, part of what makes ending these conversations so awkward is that you sometimes look opportunistic or like you are blowing the person off when leaving the conversation. Making plans allows for you to part ways and work the crowd without anyone feeling like they were passed over.
Networking events and conversations don’t have to be uncomfortable experiences for anyone involved. Would you like to learn more about how to become a foolproof networker during a conference? Download our free article here today and improve your communication skills!