Be careful not to get stuck in a conversation at a networking event that won’t benefit you or the person you’re speaking with. Here are a few tips on how to stop a boring conversation with someone and move on to someone else!
Have you ever been to a networking event and got stuck talking with someone who insists on trying to sell you their product or service? Ever try to get away from this boring individual gracefully? Have you wondered how you could easily and painlessly remove yourself from the conversation without hurting their feelings? Did you ever notice how some people seem to spend a lot of time speaking without actually ever saying anything? Do they talk exclusively about themselves and/or their business? Hmmm. Guess everyone has to kiss a few frogs.
Sometimes the first inclination is to be as rude as they are and to consistently look over their shoulder for someone better to talk with. Maybe the’ll get the hint, know you’re not really interested and move on. The problem is, most boring people don’t realize they are boring. So, that probably won’t work.
Often I just want to shout, “Next!” and move on. Hanging out with a networking bore is not anything that any of us want to do. . . so, don’t do it. While I don’t want to appear rude, I also don’t want to waste my precious networking time with someone who obviously doesn’t care about me. Most bores are self-centered and networking bores are generally not very polite and are the worse because most are usually in a high-level “sell” mode. They haven’t learned to ditch the sales pitch at a networking event. They don’t know about the “Help, Don’t Sell” mode.
These are the phony bolognas who pretend to care, but who only reach out when they want something. Their talking is just noise. Nothing is more boring than someone who constantly talks without giving anyone else the chance to contribute to the conversation. Others are whiners; business is horible, etc., and some begin to rehash a litany of gripes and complaints. They dis their competitors, their colleagues, their boss, their wife, their kids, or their neighbors. Most are spinning their wheels and just don’t get it. Misery does not love company.
Your at a networking event because you are looking for people who are intelligent, emotionally mature, stable, successful professionals. No cry-babies. Successful networking is all about finding common ground and establishing ease of conversation as quickly as possible.
As long as I’m learning something, I’m listening. The moment the conversation morphs into a sales pitch, I’m outta there! My objective is to learn what’s important to them – a common point of interest – and talk about that. Networking is all about giving. Speak and deliver. First you connect and in the process, create worth. Focusing on connecting, listening and giving of your expertise and resources will always generate better results.
“Consummate networkers give the “gift of time” to those with whom they engage to provide them an escape route from the conversation.” ~ Mark Jeffries
I might add that staying in the conversation also wastes the bore’s time. Time to create some space between the two of you. Stop listening and switch to Mr. or Ms. Smooth. The goal is to connect with people you can assist and who are in a position to help you. Now you can stop “trying” to move on and really move on and seriously work the room.
Are you spending time and money on networking events without seeing measurable results? Maybe you’re conversing with the wrong networkers. Here are several exit strategies that have worked for me. Hopefully you’re savvier than the average bear when it comes to networking. Feel free to adapt them to your conversation closers repertoire. Do this well, and trust me, they will learn something from you.
You might say, “It was nice to meet you. Have a good evening. Don’t ever darken my path again you freak. You’re boring. Enjoy the event. Goodbye and good luck. That was 15 minutes of my life I’ll never get back, I hate you. I’ll follow up with you by the end of the week.” Or fake a heart attack! Or NOT! (just kidding!) 😉
Knowing how to ditch a bore requires skill and finesse. You have to think about what you might do if you find yourself in a boring senario before you get stuck in it. In other words. . . be prepared.
I often will walk around with a glass half filled with soda. When I feel cornered, I simply say, “Looks like I need to freshen up my drink, hope you find what you’re look for. Have a great rest-of-the-evening.”
I might cut the conversation short by saying, “Dave, it was nice to meet you. I’m going to move around the room and mingle a bit to meet some other people.”
I also might pretend I’m looking for someone by saying, “Stan, thanks for your business card (or thanks for stopping to chat). I going to find my friend, Chris and hang out with him for awhile. Enjoy the event.”
“I’m sure you must have other people that you want to meet. I need to move around the room now to see if there are others here that I can help. Feel free to mingle with others.”
I may introduce them to someone else I know in their same industry. Once they begin to chat with one another, I politely excuse myself.
If they are boring, after a reasonable time. . . “Please excuse me, I’ve enjoyed speaking with you.” Then smile and move on.
When you close the conversation politely – and with a smile – even though there is no invitation to speak or meet again, at least you don’t have to continue to suffer through a boring sell job and you’ve been nice about it.
A prospect turns into a lead when you start an interesting conversation with them. Great conversations are two-way. The best conversation is an exchange of ideas that benefits both parties.
Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. Larry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! Invite Larry James to speak to your group! His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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