A networking conversation can be very challenging, especially when you are using networking as part of your job hunt. Professional networking events are usually intimidating for graduates, as they involve two tricky situations: entering a conversation and exiting a conversation. Exiting a conversation is actually the hardest part of networking, as you always need to be sure that you leave a good impression and an open door to develop your professional relationship.
Either you’re a shy person or you’re simply afraid of what others may think of you in a networking event, here are some tips on DOs and DON’Ts when exiting a conversation.
- Don’t use fake excuses such as “I need to go to the toilet, excuse me” or “I need to fill up my glass” and never come back to the person you were talking with. This can only leave a negative impression about your personality and it totally lacks professionalism. And sometimes, the person you were talking to can follow you at the bar, for instance… so you definitely won’t get out of the conversation!
- Don’t force the conversation to continue by approaching irrelevant topics so you can cling to the person you’re talking to. You will just going to waste your time instead of taking advantage of the opportunities available in a networking event!
- Excuse yourself in a polite way. There are several options to excuse yourself and leave a conversation properly. One line can be “It was very nice meeting you. I am sure there are other people waiting to talk to you. I hope we can keep in touch”. This line does not only make you look professional, but it also gives you the opportunity to ask or to give a business card. Another way of excusing yourself can be “It was nice talking to you and I would like to keep in touch. Will you excuse me, I see a friend/colleague I would like to talk to before the end of the event”. This can only show the person you are talking to that you are honest and not afraid of being direct!
- Introduce the person to somebody else. When it’s possible, the simplest way of exiting a conversation and keeping yourself professionals is introducing a third person into the conversation. This is a win-win situation! You can move on to your next conversation and offer somebody else the opportunity to network!
When your conversation comes to an end, don’t panic and think of it as being the end of the professional relationship you’ve just created! Leave your conversation with a smile and a proper handshake and the door will be open to get in touch again!