Have you ever been to a networking event only to find yourself trapped in a conversation from which you could not escape? Here are a couple of suggestions on how to disengage from a conversation without appearing rude.

Some folks are happy to meet just a couple of people at a networking event and spend the entire evening getting to know those individuals. Others make a list of people they want to meet, or set a goal of meeting a certain number of people. There is no right or wrong objective to networking, but if you want to meet more than one or two individuals, it helps to know how to break off the conversation politely and professionally.

  1. Summarize next steps. “I’m looking forward to speaking with you next week, I’ll give you a call on Tuesday. Enjoy the rest of the evening.” If you’ve enjoyed your conversation and are looking to connect at a later date, this is a great way to wrap up your discussion.
  2. Connect them with someone else. “Do you know Sally? She works in the same field as you, I think you’ll have a lot in common. Here she is now …” This is a great way to connect people, which is something a good networker will often do whether they want to disengage or not. If they’ve asked you for your opinion on a certain topic but you’re not sure of the answer, here’s a great way to redirect the question: “That’s a great question. I’m not sure of the answer, but I think Ralph might know … hey Ralph!”
  3. Connect yourself with someone else. “I see my boss over there and I promised I’d check in with her. It’s been nice chatting with you.” It’s tough to make this one sound as polished and polite as the first two suggestions, but it works in a pinch.

Networking is a fantastic way to develop your career, whether it’s finding a mentor, supplier, or a potential customer. Focus on the person you’re speaking with, be curious, and have fun!

Want to put these tips into practice? There are plenty of networking opportunities for supply chain and logistics professionals happening right now. Connect with us and let us help you get in touch with other talented supply chain and logistics professionals.

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