It’s just as tough to end a conversation at a networking event as it is to start one. Have you been caught in the web of a self-centered person or experienced an uncomfortable moment when you want someone’s contact information, but don’t know how to politely end a conversation? If you want tonetwork like a pro, then follow these tips on how to politely leave a conversation efficiently:

1. To Make the Best of Your Time at the Event, Be Reasonable With What You Want To Achieve and Have Some Helpful Strategies

Networking efficiently means having targeted conversations with people relevant/useful to you, as opposed to trying to speak with everyone present. If your goal was meeting potential clients but you ended up chatting with a service provider for the majority of the time, then you probably didn’t use your time in the best way possible. If you find that you have no common interests with the person to whom you’re speaking, it might be a good idea to cut the conversation short. You could politely say something like “I currently don’t know of any opportunities that would be of use to you, but here’s my card if anything comes up.” This way, you won’t waste their time.

Being polite doesn’t have to be awkward–end the conversation and move on with some standard phrases in your pocket. You can end the conversation directly by saying something like, “It was great meeting you. I’m going to mingle with some other people now.” Or, you could say that you need to refresh your drink or use the restroom as an opportunity to excuse yourself. Many people believe they need to get the person’s card before finishing the conversation, but that isn’t always necessary.

2. How Can I Get the Business Card?

The common, logical way to end a conversation would be by exchanging business cards. But that doesn’t happen all the time. Firstly, do you really need that person’s card? Is there something of value you could offer or inquire from them? Establishing common areas of interest during a conversation is the best way to start a new business relationship. However, difficulties may arise when two people have no interests in common, but one still wants the other’s card.

You will make the most impact if, in every meeting or discussion with a new person, it is clear how both of you can benefit from this association. Build conversations around what each of you can do for the other. If someone isn’t interested in your offer, don’t force them to interact or try to get their information. This will not lead to any beneficial relationships in the future.

It can feel uneasy asking for someone’s card, especially if they haven’t offered it yet. The easiest way to circumvent this is by offering your own card and saying something like, “Here’s my card. Let me know if I can help you out with anything.”

If you’re ever in a networking setting and feel awkward starting conversations, take comfort in the fact that others may approach you first. Many times, they’ll introduce themselves and hand over their business cards. This way, not only do you know their names but also have easy access to their contact information. Case closed!

3. Giving Back to Others Creates a Positive Feedback Loop

Instead of thinking about what others can do for you, think about how you can help them. What resources or information do you have that could be valuable to them? Perhaps you’ve read a book about something they’re interested in and can send them a link? The rule of reciprocity is basic – after you assist someone or even offer to help, the majority of people will do the same for you.

At networking events, focusing on the needs of others instead of your own goals often makes it easier to establish relationships. This type of approach is a refreshing way to network that allows you to meet people with diverse backgrounds.

Never forget that the purpose of attending a networking event is to establish relationships and collect business cards from other intriguing professionals. There should be no shame in being proactive and offering your card first. Also, don’t only think about what you need from people. Instead, act like a knowledge-dispenser who could help others. This makes you more desirable to them and means that you can end the event on a good note.

What methods do you find to be most effective when networking?

If you want to learn how to network like a pro, ask Sierra Tishgart.

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