Direct communication: tips on communication

My Advice: Talk ‘TO’ Each Other, Not ‘ABOUT’ Each Otherstring(63) "My Advice: Talk ‘TO’ Each Other, Not ‘ABOUT’ Each Other"

In life, we often find ourselves navigating a complex web of relationships—be it with family, friends, colleagues, or partners. These relationships are built on a foundation of trust, understanding, and effective communication. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that one invaluable lesson stands out above the rest: clear, open, honest, and direct communication with people is the key to solving most problems that may arise in these relationships.

It’s a common scenario in our lives; when faced with a challenge or a disagreement in a relationship, our instinct is to seek solace in talking to others about the issue rather than addressing it with the person directly involved. This tendency can easily lead to the deterioration of relationships, as communication becomes less about resolution and more about venting frustrations or assigning blame. It’s a pattern that many of us fall into, and it’s a pattern that can be highly detrimental.

A wise piece of advice that has stayed with me throughout the years is the notion that when you point your finger at someone else, you have three fingers pointing back at you. This simple yet profound idea highlights the importance of self-reflection and personal responsibility in our relationships. It reminds us that instead of attributing all the problems to others, we should examine our own role and our own contributions to the situation.

The Power of Direct Communication

From personal and professional experiences, I have learned (sometimes the hard way) that the most effective way to strengthen and maintain healthy relationships, particularly those with referral partners, is to engage in direct communication. This means talking “to” each other instead of talking “about” each other. When a problem or challenge arises, the best course of action is to address it head-on, rather than letting it fester and grow through gossip or third-party discussions.

If you find yourself in a situation where you have concerns or issues with someone in your life, I encourage you to take immediate action. Pick up the phone and call them, send an email, or, even better, request a face-to-face meeting. Approach the conversation with the intention of understanding each other’s perspectives and finding a mutually beneficial solution. Remember that the goal is to work collaboratively towards resolving the challenges that have arisen rather than engage in the “blame game”.

Stay Focused on Solutions

Maintaining a “solutions-focused” mindset is paramount in these discussions. Instead of dwelling on past mistakes or trying to pinpoint fault, focus on finding ways to move forward positively. Encourage open dialogue and active listening, as these are the cornerstones of effective communication. By actively seeking solutions and addressing concerns directly, you demonstrate your commitment to the relationship and your willingness to work together to overcome obstacles.

In the context of referral partners, this approach is especially crucial. Referral partnerships are built on trust and mutual support, and they thrive when both parties communicate openly and honestly. When issues or misunderstandings arise, addressing them directly can prevent them from escalating into more significant problems that could damage the partnership.

The power of clear, open, honest, and direct communication cannot be overstated when it comes to maintaining and strengthening relationships. Rather than talking “about” each other, it is essential to talk “to” each other when challenges or conflicts arise. By doing so, we foster an environment of trust, understanding, and collaboration, ultimately ensuring that our relationships remain healthy, resilient, and mutually beneficial. Remember, effective communication is the bridge that leads to resolution, growth, and a more harmonious connection with those around us.

I invite you to tell me about a time in your life when you spoke with someone and resolved the situation OR about a time when you didn’t talk about the issue and the relationship got worse.

The Importance of One-to-One Meetings with Referral Partnersstring(60) "The Importance of One-to-One Meetings with Referral Partners"

For years I’ve said that successful business networking is about building relationships with the people in your network. In addition to attending regular networking group meetings, it is imperative that you have one-to-one meetings with your fellow members outside of the group meetings.

This allows you to get a deeper understanding about their business, their products and services, their customers, and learn how you can refer them to people you know. It is also a way for them to do the same for you.

However, some people decline to have one-to-one meetings with their networking partners. I had a conversation with Tiffanie Kellog, BNI regional Training Team Coordinator in West Central Florida, USA, and we discussed the question: When is it okay to say no to a one-to-one?

Well, the answer is: NEVER. It’s never okay to say no to a one-to-one; that is, if you still want to generate referrals from that member.

What is the Purpose of a One-to-One?

The goal is to build relationships with our networking partners — to move through the VCP Process®, going from visibility, to credibility, to profitability. If we say no to a one-to-one meeting, if we’re too busy for our fellow members, then it is stopping the relationship. Think about it – if you’re too busy for a one-to-one, how are you going to have time to take care of the referrals I want to give to you?

And you never know what can come from a one-to-one meeting, even if you don’t think that person has much to contribute to you. I once went to a business meeting and sat next to a college student. I first thought, “Geez, what am I doing, sitting next to this college student? There are all these businesspeople that I want to sit next to.” And I thought to myself, okay, buck-up buttercup. You’re an expert on networking, network with this student. So I asked her lots of questions and got her to open up.

And guess what happened. After the meeting, one of the business associates came up to me and said, “Thank you.” I said, “Why?” He said, “Nobody ever talks to my daughter like that. They all want to sit next to the businesspeople. But you got her to open up and I really appreciate what you did at dinner.” I ended up making a good connection with the father, and I hardly talked to him at all. You never know where a one-to-one can lead.

Tips to Make it Easier to Say “Yes” to a 1-2-1

  • Schedule well in advance. Find a date that is convenient for both of you. One-to-one meetings are always more successful when both members have time to prepare.
  • Schedule outside your busiest season. We all understand that certain times of year are busier for some professions, such as accountants during tax time and retail store owners during holiday season. People appreciate when we respect their time restraints.
  • Have a purpose and format for the meeting. You can ask: What is the intention for the meeting? What are we looking to accomplish? Utilizing the G.A.I.N.S. exchange is a very powerful format for a first time one-to-one with a networking partner.
  • Stack multiple one-to-one meetings on the same day at the same location. This saves you time traveling to multiple locations on different days. You can also schedule virtual meetings back-to-back. Pick one or two days a week and block off time for meetings with your referral partners.
  • When someone asks you for a meeting, it’s okay to ask what they want to talk about and how long they think it will take. Having an agenda can help you decide how soon you want to schedule the meeting, and whether you need a one-to-one or just a quick conversation.


Business networking is about taking the time to build genuine, trusted relationships.  Investing the time and effort into getting to know your networking members through productive, referral generating one-to-one meetings is the key to networking success.

The Best Way to End a Conversationstring(34) "The Best Way to End a Conversation"

We’ve all been at business networking events where a conversation with someone takes much longer than we expected (or wanted). I am often asked about the best way to end a conversation in a networking situation. My answer is a simple solution with some easy options.   

  1. You can say, “It was really nice meeting you. May I have your card so I have your contact information? Thanks.” That’s it. There is no need to apologize because you want to go and continue networking, and you absolutely don’t want to say that you just saw someone else you need to talk to. You simply thank them after you get
    their business card, end the conversation, and move on.


  2. An option is to tell them what you liked about the conversation that you had together, or recap something from the conversation that you found interesting and then say the same thing from #1, “It was really nice meeting you. May I have your card so I can have your contact information? Thanks.”
  3. If they say something during your conversation that makes you think of somebody you know who could be beneficial for them to meet, tell them about that person and offer to make an introduction. Then be sure to follow-up and do it! If the other person is also attending the event, you can make the introduction right then and there. It is always a good thing to be a “connector” at a networking event. Once those two are connected and in their own conversation, you can go network with others at the event.
  4. One more option is: You may want to invite them to be your guest at another networking meeting that you regularly attend, such as your BNI® chapter meeting. This is a great opportunity to connect them to another network of professionals. It is also a good way for the two of you to meet again and continue to get to know one other.

What about “Exit Lines”?

Some people want more ways to end a conversation. There are many “exit lines” out there and I’ve seen a lot of them. I strongly recommend that you do not use them unless they are absolutely true. I offer three efficient exit lines that work whether you’re ready to wrap it up immediately or you have time for courtesies.

Remember to keep it simple and keep it honest. 

  • I have to be home by “x” o’clock to have dinner with my family.
  • I have a deadline on a project, and I need to leave now.
  • It’s been nice to meet you, however, I need to go to the washroom.

You can use anything that is similar to these three suggestions, as long as it is true. If you really have to leave the event to do something, tell them so. And then leave the event.

Otherwise, you can simply use the solution in #1 above. It is an effective way to end a conversation without offending anyone at your networking events.

Follow-up Is Key

What you do AFTER you meet someone at a networking event is just as important as the initial conversation you have with them. I recommend the 24/7/30 Follow-up System:
Drop them a note, text, or email within 24 hours.
Connect with them on social media within 7 days.
Reach out to them within 30 days to set up a one-to-one meeting.
This approach helps you establish a powerful routine to make your networking efforts more meaningful and successful.


When it comes to ending a conversation at a networking event, remember that you don’t need to overthink it. Keep it simple. Be polite, friendly, and honest. Don’t make excuses and respectfully move on from the conversation. And of course, be timely and professional with your follow-up.

cannot remember

I’m sorry, I cannot remember your namestring(40) "I’m sorry, I cannot remember your name"

What do you do when you meet someone and you cannot remember their name? That can be embarrassing. I have observed this many times over the years during networking events. I have also observed the different ways others have dealt with forgetting someone’s name. Some have just faked it by engaging in a conversation hoping to get a clue. They try to remember where the other person was from or how they knew them. On the other hand, I have heard people come right out and say, “Hey, I’m sorry I forgot your name” or “I’m sorry I do not remember where you’re from”.

In this video, I share a story from one of my blog readers which describes a scenario of this very nature and I answer his question of what I would have done if I were in the same sticky situation.

What not to do when you cannot remember a name

If it happens to you, I recommend that you do not say, “I’m sorry, I forgot your name” or “I don’t remember where you’re from”. I have found that people sometimes take it personally that you can’t remember them. No reason to embarrass yourself and embarrass them because you don’t know who they are. They might begin to avoid you because you did not recognize them earlier.

Finally, you do not want to say, “Nice to meet you”. Even if you do not remember meeting the person, they clearly know you, so you are most likely not “meeting them” for the first time.

What to do instead

When you forget someone’s name, I recommend saying, “Hi, good to see you”, then strike up a simple conversation to help you remember based upon the current situation or event you are attending. Starting a dialogue is a great way to shake up the gray matter in your head to try to remember who they are. If you still cannot remember after conversing a while, it’s time to stop trying and move along. Before leaving tell them, “Hey, it was nice to see you again. Gotta run. Talk to you again next time”.

It can be challenging to remember names, especially if you’re an avid networker. Years ago, I was told about a four-step process that will help you to remember people’s names–and it actually works!

OK, not remembering someone’s name has happened to me too. Saying “good to see you”, then engaging in a dialogue is a great approach to remember their name. If you absolutely do not want to use this technique, a fall-back approach can be one that someone once shared with me: “Sorry, I’m having a total ‘Senior Moment’ and I don’t recall where we’ve met”. Feel free to use that if you do not feel very brave with the “good to see you” approach. However, be prepared for some bruised feelings.

If you’ve ever been approached by someone and drawn a complete blank trying to remember their name, or even where you know them from, you know how awkward and embarrassing that situation can be. Finally, always wear your name badge when networking in person so that the people you meet can easily remember your name.

Ice Breaker

Small Talk: The Mighty Ice Breakerstring(34) "Small Talk: The Mighty Ice Breaker"

One of the most important aspects of networking is the small talk that occurs at networking functions. The small talk acts as an ice breaker to open up the initial conversation between strangers. This initial conversation is important. It is the first opportunity to grow a mutual connection that may lead to future referrals.

Locubrevisphobia

This big word is the fear of making small talk, often resulting in the sufferer avoiding social and networking events. Many people simply dread the thought of having to carry on conversations with people they do not know. It is easy to label these people as shy. However, only a small minority of people are too shy to enjoy talking with others. Most people are not afraid to talk; they are just intimidated by the task of finding something to talk about.

For this reason, business owners need to stay on top of pop culture and current events. The latest issues and stories in the news are great ways to break the ice and help you find common ground with a person you may never have met before and with whom you may not have much in common. But with the media explosion, it’s increasingly difficult to have a firm grasp on water-cooler talk, particularly when it comes to conversations with people in different age brackets. So, how do you start — and maintain — a conversation at a networking or other event with someone you don’t know at all?

Just ask questions as an ice breaker

This sounds simple because it is. A great way to get people to talk is to ask a few “feeder” questions that will help you learn what the other person is interested in. Simply hone in on that subject. You don’t have to know anything about the topic to converse about the topic. You just have to know enough to ask the questions.

It’s easier you think. Online news sites have set up their pages with easy-to-read convenient categories, such as Top News, Sports, Entertainment, and Tech. Either at night or first thing in the morning, just take a few minutes to read the headlines, and maybe the first one to two sentences. You’d be surprised how much you can learn about “what’s hot” from just a cursory glance. You have enough information to start asking questions and conversing with someone new.

Make the other person feel like an expert

I still remember when I realized the value of asking questions and letting someone answer them. I was flying for business, and just before taking off, I struck up a conversation with the person seated next to me. I’m not sure what started the conversation, but I wasn’t familiar with the business he was in, and I asked a question. That question led to another, then another until the end of that two-hour flight. I realized that he had “small talked” during the entire flight. We made a good connection, I had learned something new, and, as we were gathering our belongings, he complimented me for being a good conversationalist.

A savvy networker, Susan RoAne, reads the sports section in her newspaper from cover to cover every single day, even though she has zero interest in sports. “Why on earth would you subject yourself to this?” I asked her, as I am admittedly not a sports fan, either. She replied, “My networking functions are primarily attended by men. I don’t want to stay on the sidelines while important conversations are going on, conversations that invariably start with a discussion about last night’s game.”

Take a few minutes each day to browse enough headlines to arm you with enough knowledge of current events, pop culture — and yes, even sports. Use this knowledge as an ice breaker to ask questions and get conversations flowing. Using small talk is simply a good networking strategy. As a bonus, you’ll learn a lot from these conversations you might never have learned otherwise.

elephant

How to Network with the Elephant in the Roomstring(44) "How to Network with the Elephant in the Room"

Experienced networkers understand that networking is not always a perfect 100% satisfaction guaranteed activity. A member can sometimes have a problem with another person in their networking group. However, instead of talking with this person to resolve the problem, the member avoids this person due to their personal discomfort, and the unresolved problem can grow into a larger situation. Now, the situation has created “the elephant in the room”, which could cause drama within the networking group.

Drama can occur in any group where wide varieties of people and personalities interact. This is also true in business networking groups that meet weekly for in-person or online meetings. If the physical avoidance between these two members is obvious to others at the networking meeting, the negativity from the situation could be felt by others in the group as “the elephant in the room”, potentially causing drama within the group.

What is “the elephant in the room”?

The elephant in the roomis defined as “a metaphorical idiom for an enormous topic or controversial issue that is obvious or that everyone knows about but no one mentions or wants to discuss because it makes at least some of them uncomfortable”. The member, due to discomfort, ignored the initial problem with the other person and avoided them during the group meetings. Therefore, the unresolved problem grew into a larger situation that became very obvious to the other members of the networking group. The initial problem between these two members evolved into “the elephant in the room” for the entire networking group. So, how do you tame and remove the elephant? Here are three of the most common situations why a networking group might have “the elephant in the room” and my suggestions for gracefully taming each of them:

Elephant #1: Poor Referrals

The reason for joining a networking group is to build strong relationships with the members to refer business to one another. Normally, this is a win-win for the member receiving the referral because their business grows with a new client, as well as a win for the member who gave the referral because of Givers Gain®. However, a small percentage of referrals may be poor referrals. They take up time but do not result in closed business. When something goes wrong and a member receives a poor referral, this can create the first elephant.

People who are experiencing a problem with a fellow member tend to talk about the problem to other members instead of talking directly with the fellow member that they are experiencing the problem with. This can actually make the problem worse.

Talk with the member giving you poor referrals.

In most of these situations, nothing was wrong with the actual referral. Usually, the problem was simply caused by miscommunication. Do not perpetuate problems by avoiding open, honest communication with others. Take the time to talk about it in a non-confrontational way. Talking right away will avoid making these awkward situations even worse.

Elephant #2: Personal Disagreements

Networking would be so much easier if people were not involved. Although networking is all about building relationships with people, personal disagreements are inevitable and problems occur. Avoiding each other due to discomfort and not talking with each other to resolve the disagreement creates the second elephant.

Focus on the solution rather than on the problem.

If you only focus on the problem, you become an expert on the problem. All too often, when facing a problem, the first thing we tend to do is focus on the negative situation. This tends to move us further from finding a way to fix it and that does not help the problem.

You must begin to start focusing on ways to resolve the situation by focusing on solutions. Rather than react, take the time to fully analyze the problem then make a list of possible solutions. When we think of ways to overcome our problems, we are prepared for the next problem down the road. Often, all that is needed is honest and direct communication between the two members to solve the disagreement.

Elephant #3: Breakups Between Members

Networking groups tend to attract like-minded people. Sometimes they bring two of their members together for more than just business. Over the years, I have known many couples that dated, fell in love, got married, and started a family together all because they first met at their networking group. On the other hand, this can quickly create the third elephant if the relationship ends badly and the two members remain in the same group after the messy breakup.

Take the higher ground and continue to network.

Given the value of your network, it is worth working through those feelings if you find yourself in a breakup with another member of your networking group. Do not lose your network of valuable referral sources you have built. The more professional you remain following the breakup, the higher your regard will be by your group. Therefore, remember not to talk badly about the other person or discuss the breakup situation with other members of the group.

Whatever the reason, many people involved in business networking may one day face a situation with “the elephant in the room”. Remember not to focus on growing the problem but on growing your business. Do not burn bridges with people in your group by avoiding them or the uncomfortable situation. Instead, talk to them about your concerns. You never know what the future will bring. You might end up being friends and valued referral partners with the former elephant.

Love Is Just Damn Good Business

Love Is Just Damn Good Business – Ivan’s Inner Circle Interviewstring(75) "Love Is Just Damn Good Business – Ivan’s Inner Circle Interview"

Join me as I join fellow Transformational Leadership Council member and friend, Steve Farber, to discuss topics from his book, “Love is Just Damn Good Business”. Steve is one of the best speakers I’ve seen on the stage.  His message is both surprising and impactful about focusing on finding love in creating a damn good business.

According to Steve, “Love is what leads to customer loyalty, it’s what leads to word-of-mouth and growing your organization.”

I think this advice is spot on. If your customer relationships are held in as high regard as the service you provide, you can only benefit. Customers want to love you-they want to trust and believe in you, which are foundational building blocks of love. Focus on building those blocks with the goal of creating loving, loyal customer relationships, and you’ll create a strong reputation that will hold up in the business community.

His game-changing approach to love as a practical business strategy will help you to:

  • Identify your passions and share them with others
  • Create a culture of love at work and spark innovation, productivity, and joy
  • Serve your customers, so they love how you treat them and have them coming back for more
  • Invest time in making personal connections that are mutually rewarding
  • Focus on serving the needs of others they’re going to love it
  • Do what you love and make it your business, so others love it, too

Love Is Just Damn Good Business,” is one of my favorite books and I am looking forward to these interviews with Steve. We are going to host three different sessions so it is convenient for everyone to join us:

Monday, December 9th at 10:00 AM / 4:00 PM / 11:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time)

Click here to register: SteveFarberWebinar

Steve Farber, the founder of The Extreme Leadership Institute, is a popular keynote speaker and leadership expert. Steve’s been featured on my blog before. He’s the bestselling author of The Radical Leap, The Radical Edge, and Greater Than Yourself. Learn more about Steve on his website at stevefarber.com

I hope you are able to make one of our sessions as I know this will prove to be a great use of your time.

Sentence

“No” is a One Word Sentencestring(31) "“No” is a One Word Sentence"

To network well, you really need to learn how to help people, build relationships, and support your connections in some way.  But sometimes, just sometimes, you need to also say “no” to requests that are made of you. The word “no,” can, in fact, be a one-word sentence.

Here are four more ways to say “no” and not come across like a jerk (or worse).

I don’t do that. 

Sometimes the request and my response are very simple.  For example, when someone tries to get me to have a piece of cake or pie – I simply say thanks, but I don’t eat processed sugar.  When they say something like, “oh, just a bite,” I have no problem telling them they should feel free to have my bite – because, I don’t eat sugar. To learn why, read my book, “Healing Begins in the Kitchen“.

Don’t Seinfeld it.

One of the really humorous things to see on the old TV series, Seinfeld, was how the characters would go off on some crazy subterfuge or ruse that was complicated and ended up getting them in more trouble than if they had just been candid to start with. Be polite but be honest and be direct.

Propose something else.

If you are unable to do something that you’re being asked to do, offer them something else instead.  For example, I am always having people ask me to send some communication out to my entire mailing list.  The answer is always – “no.”  However, with people I know and trust, I propose something else.  I propose that I post it on my social media instead.  That generally works just as well to post on my facebook page to maintain the relationship.

When you say it, mean it.

Be a broken record.  Sometimes, people don’t take “no” for an answer.  I try to be polite, smile, and repeat what I said before (on some occasions, I’ve repeated myself three times before they realized I really meant it).

One important thing to note is; don’t become addicted to “no.”  I look for opportunities to help people and to say yes.  It’s only when I really, truly, can’t help or believe that I’m not a good fit for their request – that I actually say “no” to people.  Many times when you say “yes,” there is an opportunity cost to you for saying yes.  You have to be clear in your mind whether this is truly an opportunity or a distraction.

Don’t get me wrong, I am totally good with saying “no,” to people when it is necessary. The secret is: how do you say “no” without sounding like a jerk? The older I get, the more I have learned to say, “no thanks!”  (Ok, it’s two words but it’s still a sentence).

opportunity cost

The Opportunity Cost of Saying Yesstring(34) "The Opportunity Cost of Saying Yes"

Although we love to say yes as often as possible, sometimes the opportunity cost of saying yes is too great. In these cases, try to be at peace with your decision to say no and realize you are protecting entry into your room. Say no and then move on knowing that you made the right decision for you. To network well, you really need to learn how to help people, build relationships, and support your connections in some way. But sometimes, just sometimes, you need to also say “no” to requests that are made of you.

Don’t Seinfeld it.

One of the really funny tropes from the old TV series, Seinfeld, is how the characters go off on some crazy subterfuge or complicated ruse that ends up getting them in more trouble than if they had just been candid in the first place. Be polite but be honest and be direct.

Propose something else.

If you are unable to do something that you’re being asked to do, offer them something else instead. For example, I am always having people ask me to send some communication out to my entire mailing list. The answer is always “no.”  However, with people I know and trust, I propose something else. I propose that I post it on my social media instead. That generally works just as well to maintain the relationship.

When you say it, mean it!

Be a broken record. Sometimes, people don’t take “no” for an answer. I try to be polite and smile, and repeat what I said before (on some occasions, I’ve repeated myself three times before they realized I really meant it).

say no

Ways to Say “No” Without Sounding Like a Jerkstring(57) "Ways to Say “No” Without Sounding Like a Jerk"

It’s important to recognize when someone’s opportunity is your distraction. These are generally situations where someone’s project is not on mission for your business or your life. In these situations, you need to learn how to say no.  The word “no” is a one-word sentence. It’s just not a full sentence that I like to use very often and I think there are a fair number of people like me out there.

Don’t get me wrong, I am totally good with saying “no,” to people when it is necessary. The secret is: how do you say “no” without sounding like you don’t care?

If I said yes, I’d let you down.

A very effective way to tell someone “no” is to tell them that you believe that you’d let them down if you do what they are asking. It might be because you don’t have the bandwidth, the knowledge, or the expertise to do what they are asking. In any case, you’re not the person to help make this idea a success and you don’t want to disappoint them.

Recognize the difference between an opportunity and a distraction.

That begins by knowing your own personal or professional mission. If you know your purpose/expertise/mission then you can say “no” when someone comes to you with something that is a distraction to that mission. I do this all the time by telling people that my mission is to do X. As interesting as their idea is, it’s not something that fits with what I do.

Refer them to someone more qualified.

When I say “no” to someone, I almost always try to refer them to someone who is more qualified or more suited to help that person.  I also try to refer them to someone who’s mission is more in alignment with their project.

To network well, you really need to learn how to help people, build relationships, and support your connections in some way. But sometimes, just sometimes, you need to also say “no” to requests that are made of you.

 

end a conversation

How to End a Conversation Without Offending Anyone Around Youstring(61) "How to End a Conversation Without Offending Anyone Around You"

I often get asked about the best way to end a conversation in a networking situation. Candidly, I think the answer is pretty simple. So, I’ll start this piece with the “simple solution.” In addition, for those of you who love to over-think things, I’ll give you some other “exit lines” options below.

The Simple Solution Saying

  1. Simply say something like, “It was really nice meeting you. Do you have a card so I can have your contact information? Thanks.” That’s it. Do not apologize because you have to go network and definitely do not say you see someone else you need to talk to. Simply thank them, end a conversation, and move on.
  2. Frame what you liked about the conversation or recap part of the conversation that you found most interesting and then state your simple solution saying above.
  3. If they say something that makes you think of someone else they should meet — tell them and promise to make an introduction.  If the other person is there at the event, make the introduction on the spot.  Being a “connector” at a networking event is always a good thing.
  4. Invite them to participate with you in another networking meeting you go to regularly, such as BNI. They may want to get out and meet more people. This is a great chance to connect them to another network of individuals and it gives you a chance to meet them again at your next BNI meeting.

The Exit Lines

For those of you who want more ways to end a conversation — I’ve read all kinds of “exit lines” and unless they are absolutely true — I don’t recommend most of them. Whether you’re ready to wrap it up immediately or have time for courtesies, here are a handful of efficient exit lines. Keep it simple and keep it honest. OK, you want to know what some of those other lines I recommend to end a conversation are — here you go:

  • I’ve got to get home by “X” o’clock to have dinner with the family
  • It’s been nice meeting you, I need to run to the restroom
  • I’ve got a deadline on a project and I need to take off

Anything similar to the above suggestions is fine but don’t fib. If you really have to leave and do something tell them. Otherwise, simply doing what I say above in your simple solution saying will work fine to end a conversation without offending anyone around you at your networking events.

Whatever you do, don’t “Seinfeld it.”

One of the really funny things on the old TV series Seinfeld was how the characters would go off on some crazy, complicated subterfuge or ruse and end up getting in more trouble than if they had just been candid to start with. Be polite, but be honest and direct. “Seinfeld-ing it” almost always fails and both you and the other person end up uncomfortable.

Remember: Don’t overthink it. Be polite and friendly. Don’t make excuses and politely move on. The real key about ending a conversation is how you follow up! 

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