If you’ve learned anything from Spark News, hopefully it’s that networking is a huge part of your job search these days. In fact, if you have a high number of professionals in your network you are much more likely to get a position in a short amount of time than if you had barely anyone in your network. That said, the networking process can sometimes get a little odd or uncomfortable. For one, not everyone is a great communicator. You may the type of person that can walk into a room and own it or you may be a shy person at heart that doesn’t feel comfortable just striking up conversations with anyone. Either way, there is always the possibility of you running into an odd situation while networking. Perhaps the most uncomfortable situations arise when we try and end our networking conversations. Hopefully some of these tips I provide can help you end your networking conversations gracefully and seamlessly.
Let’s be honest with ourselves here. Even the best communicators have experienced awkward conversations. The conversation may have started out great and smooth, but at some point it went sour. The conversation doesn’t even have to go sour for it to get awkward. Finding a way to exit the conversation gracefully can be what’s making the situation awkward. To avoid this kind of situation, follow some of these tips.
-If you find that you were having a great conversation, but know that it’s time to move on to another person or check out another area of the event, then you can easily do so politely and gracefully. Tell the person it was great meeting and speaking with them. Tell them you are going to take some time to walk around the event and if you don’t run into them again later in the day then perhaps you’ll run into each other at another event. This is also a great time to hand off a business card you have and to take theirs.
-Often times, we meet people that we want to get advice from but don’t have the time to sit down right then and there and get to it. In the event that this happens to you, there is a great way to get what you want across. Let this person know that you would love to get some advice from them but that there are a couple of other people that you need to talk to at the event. Ask them if there is a time you can set-up a lunch to talk about it and give them your contact information or business card. This way, the person knows you seek their advice or knowledge and really want to invest time in meeting.
-If you meet someone that you definitely want to meet up with again at a later time or know that they are going to be attending an event that you will be at, then perhaps suggest that you can go together. Not only will you have someone to go with, but it’s a great way to strengthen a new relationship. You can do this by saying you had a great time talking to them and ask them if they will be attending the next event. If they are, suggest going together and exchange contact information.
-If you just met someone but unfortunately don’t have the time to really speak with them like you want to, then you should try and plan a follow-up date to meet. This person may be a valuable networking asset or they may just be a really interesting person. Either way, don’t let them get away without getting their information. You can do this by telling them how great it was to talk to them, but unfortunately you have to head out. Ask them for their information to schedule a time to finish the conversation you started.
-Sometimes, and it happens to everyone, we get stuck in a conversation we would really rather not be in. The person you are speaking with may have seemed interesting at first, but the conversation took a dive and now your scrambling to find a way out. First and foremost, don’t be rude! People will remember how you made them feel and that can really work against you if you made them feel bad. Instead, let them know what a pleasure it was speaking with them but that you have to go say hello to a few more people in the room. Shake hands and, again, don’t be rude. Being polite and graceful will certainly take you a long way.
IMAGE: Courtesy of Gravity Shack