Sometimes, you can meet someone at a networking session and get stuck in a rut.
You knew, within thirty seconds of meeting them, that their business interests and yours couldn’t be further from compatible, yet the conversation is still flowing, and you can’t escape.
You don’t want to make a negative impression, but staying in this conversation means both you and your parter are missing out on making useful business connections. So, what can you do?
Introduce them to someone useful
By far the most effective strategy in this situation, ideally you can listen to their pitch, hear what they’re looking for, and pair them up with someone who could help them. This tidy method of business matchmaking means that you can move on to speak to other attendees, whilst both other parties are thankful to you for connecting them.
This method, however, should be used only when you are confident the two parties CAN help one another. Introducing your new connection to people purely for the sake of making more connections yourself can backfire spectacularly if they realise what you’ve done.
Invite more people into the conversation
Similar to the first point, this allows your partner to meet more people, but here, you’re also meeting them. Cover topics that people can immediately join in with, such as the subject of the speaker’s talk, and invite opinions from anyone standing around not talking.
If you do manage to include someone else in your discussion, make sure you don’t close your body off to the existing individual. Open it up to a group conversation, and then let it split off organically.
Say a polite but firm goodbye
Walking away can feel rude, but if you do it in the right way, it can be the best thing for everyone involved. Remember, they may be as desperate to make more connections as you are, so don’t be afraid of walking away in the right way!
Don’t say ‘but’! ‘It’s been great talking to you, but I’ve got to xyz’ sounds terribly negative, and as if they’re less important. Don’t make an excuse as to where you’re going; keep it simple. “It’s been great talking to you. Here’s my business card, Gary, let’s stay in touch’ is all you need to say. Exchange business cards, thank them, and then walk away.