Gracefully Ending A Conversation

We have all experienced it.  We attend a networking event to meet some new people or reconnect with familiar faces in our industry, and somehow we get trapped in a single conversation with an individual.  The conversation may be lovely, but you have a limited amount of time at this event and you want to make the most of it.  So, how do you exit that conversation while still being polite?  There are a few tricks that you should have up your sleeve so that you can make the most of your time at the event. Here is a sampling for you to try:

  • Introduce the person you are talking with to another individual and then politely excuse yourself and move on.
  • Politely excuse yourself to make/take a call, get a drink or locate a colleague.
  • Thank them for their time and say,  “I am taking all of your time, I will let you go and enjoy the rest of the evening. Nice to meet you.”
  • Thank them for the lively conversation and say, “I could talk to you all night!  But then we would both miss out on the great networking opportunities here.  I will let you move on!”
  • Locate one of your target ‘must-talk-to’ people and tell the person you are with, “I made a promise to myself that I would meet this individual tonight.  If you would kindly excuse me.  Thank you for your time!”

The most important thing to remember when ending conversations is to be polite. The way you exit a conversation can make as much of an impression as how you behave within one.  You never want to make someone feel like you are moving on to someone more important or better than they are.  Of course, it is also important to recognize if you are the offender in these situations, and keeping someone longer than is appropriate.  If you recognize someone trying to make a graceful exit, by all means, let them go so that you both may take advantage of all the event has to offer!