August 10, 2014 Leave a Comment
It’s wonderful to go networking. We have an opportunity to meet lots of people, share our business and learn from others. There are non-ideal circumstances as well: being uncertain of our message, not meeting the ‘right’ people and being stuck with a “long talker” who doesn’t seem to breathe. I recently received a question about “how to properly disengage from a conversation during networking”.
We’ve all been in conversations that go on a bit (or a lot) longer than expected. And we find ourselves listening to someone who is so passionate about what they do that they’ve forgotten to listen to what we might want to share. Sometimes, we must get away to complete a task or meet/greet others at the event. They may be a great connection and you always want to be personable, but you need to depart from the conversation.
It’s important to be genuine and honest with your departure. You might need to gently interrupt, with an “excuse me” or say their name to get their attention. If you’ve really enjoyed the conversation, tell the other person. If you can’t use their product or service, you might be able to connect them with someone who can. That’s always a great comment to offer.
For example, you might be in a host or ambassador role at the event. In this specific circumstance, you might explain that you are ‘on-duty’ as a volunteer. (This gives you a chance to mention your organization/role and perhaps someone else will want to join you.) You could mention that “as an ambassador or event ‘host’, you’ve been asked to greet new guests and welcome current members to the event”. In addition, you could share that it’s a great way to build visibility for your business.
Here are some specific “exit strategy” suggestions:
- “Thanks for the information about your company/business. I’d like to learn more. Let’s connect after the event.”
- “What an interesting discussion we’re having! I’d like to meet/greet a few more colleagues today. I’m at table #3, if you’d like to join me there?”
- “As an host/ambassador for the event today, I’ve been asked to greet new guests, would you excuse me?”
- You could invite your new connections to join you and meet others: “Let’s both go and meet new people. Then we can share each other’s businesses with them.”
- “Thanks for the information about your company/business. I don’t know if it’s a good fit for me, but I might be able to connect you with someone else.”
- As a volunteer, you can always offer the comment, “I’d like to check in with our member/volunteer table to see if they need any help. Please excuse me.”
- “This conversation has been informative/interesting. I know we’re both here to meet new people, is there someone that I might be able to introduce you to at this event?”
And a most important comment, focusing on post-event follow-up strategy:
- “I’ve enjoyed our conversation and would like to continue it. I’d like to meet a few additional guests today. Let’s exchange business cards, connect on LinkedIn and continue our conversation after the event?”
Great networking means significant connections. Meeting and talking at an event is a great start. Following up via social media networks and continuing your conversations via phone, e-mail and in person is critical to building excellent reciprocal relationships in business and close more sales.
What’s your favorite exit strategy? Please share!!