How To End A Conversation At A Networking Event

Melissa Brodsky

HDA Conference

February 12, 2020

Two men networking at a conference

You’re at a conference or networking event, and in the midst of a conversation, you want to end in order to network with other connections on your list. Yet, you feel stuck, the epitome of a captive audience. And, you have zero opportunity to excuse yourself. 

It’s a situation that happens when you’re networking. Conversations carry on too long, leaving not enough time to chat with the other people you wanted to connect with. But, there are rules when it comes to exiting conversations, let’s explore them. 

How To Politely Leave A Conversation When You’re Networking

Generally, conversations during conferences or other networking events should only last five to ten minutes, unless you choose to keep it going. It is uncomfortable to end conversations, no matter where they are. But, during a networking event, you want to avoid burning bridges. The following five tips will help you end those conversations so you are able to do what you are there to do, network. 

  1. Wait for a natural pause in the conversation, and excuse yourself to the bathroom.
  2. Create a new connection for the person speaking by bringing another person into the conversation.
  3. Excuse yourself to get food or drink, and let the person know how happy you are to have met them. 
  4. Ask for a business card and let them know you’ll be in touch. 
  5. If it’s a person you’ve enjoyed speaking with, schedule a tentative coffee or drink before heading off to mingle. 

But, How Do You REALLY End Conversations At A Networking Event?

No matter what excuse you come up with in order to remove yourself from the conversation, let the person know you appreciate their time and it was so nice to chat with them. Here are some examples you could pull from.

  • I have to meet some friends but it was really great talking to you. 
  • I’m going to grab some food/drink, but thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me. 
  • It’s been so great meeting you, I have to run to the restroom. 
  • If I don’t run into you again, it was so nice meeting and speaking with you.
  • I have a few other people I have to talk to, but let’s connect again soon. 
  • I don’t want to monopolize your time, it was wonderful speaking with you.
  • When all else fails, just a “thanks for the chat” type of closing will do, too. 

Thanking someone for their time, along with the exchange of business cards will soften the blow. 

During networking events, you’re all there for the same thing. To network. And, most people want to make the most of those moments. Even long-winded people. Excusing yourself from a conversation does both of you a favor. 

To learn more about networking, check out this article.

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