How to Politely and Effectively Close a Conversation at Your Next Networking Event

We spend a lot of time talking about how to start a conversation. But what we often forget to spend time with is how to also leave that conversation just as easily as we entered it. When you attend a networking event, it’s important to connect with multiple people rather than spending the entire time with just a few.

Everyone knows and understands this part of networking, but sometimes we get stuck. These tips will help you step out smoothly, allowing you can continue networking with ease.

Use a common excuse

Most networking events provide you plenty of outs in case you get stuck somewhere too long. You could say you need to grab a refreshment, take a break to use the restroom or make a quick call.

Ask for a business card

A natural way to close the conversation at a networking event is to ask for their business card. This is the networking equivalent of serving coffee and dessert when you’d like to end your dinner party. If your conversation has reached a plateau or you’d like to network with others in the room, ask for the person’s business card. Alternatively, you could offer your card.

Introduce the person to someone else

Introduce them or bring them along as you join another conversation. If you join another discussion then the conversation you were having with the original person essentially unofficially dissolves. Be subtle and genuine when you do this. If you do things in a fake, insincere way the other person will feel like you’re blowing them off by trying to foist them on someone else.

Summarise and close out the conversation

To wrap up the conversation and excuse yourself, summarize the topic of your exchange. Say something simple but direct like “It was great to learn more about your business. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help. I’m going to get some fresh air/grab a drink/catch up with so-and-so,” Then move to another location.

Always be sure to leave things on a positive note. No matter how you excuse yourself, express that you enjoyed the conversation.

Finally, here are some more example to try:

  1. “Please excuse me, I’m going to make a quick restroom trip. It was lovely to meet you!”
  2. “I’ve had such a nice time talking to you. And I’ll definitely connect with you on LinkedIn so I can keep up with all of your innovative ventures. In the meantime, I’m going to go [grab some hors d’oeuvres/say hi to a friend/go to the next panel].”
  3. “I’m sorry to leave so quickly, but it’s been a pleasure and I hope we can reconnect soon. Do you have a business card?”
  4. “I’m going to mingle a bit more, but before I go, can I introduce you to someone? [Introduce them to each other.] I’ll let you talk”