We’ve all been there. That conversation that should’ve taken a couple of minutes, but has somehow droned on for much, much longer. How do you get out of it? Well, you could just be a rude bastard and sledgehammer your way out of it. That, however, doesn’t sit well with most people, who’d rather find a classy way to make their exit without coming off like a total doucher…especially if it’s a conversation that has workplace ramifications. Try some of these techniques to give yourself a smoother exit.
- Purpose –Knowing what you want to accomplish with the chat gives you an exit strategy when you’re done. Once you’ve got what you came for, say thanks and move on.
- Lull Words –Listen for words like “well,” “OK,” “anyway,” and “so.” They pop up with the conversation is stalled. When you hear them, make your move with a perfectly timed, “It’s been great talking to you. Let’s do it again.”
- Full Circle –This is a smooth move when the conversation started with a certain focus, like looking for a tip on a class to take. If you find the right moment, just try, “Hey listen, that’s for the tip on that class. I will keep it in mind next enrollment.” And you’re done.
- Exit Lines –Get a few on your back burner for just this reason. You need to get to the can before the show starts. You have a question for the teacher before they leave. You’ve got to get back to work. The kids need dinner. Whatever is believable and works.
- Introductions –Pass them off onto someone else. When the welcome’s been worn out, just introduce them to someone else you know nearby and leave them to it. Or, get them to introduce you to someone and then turn things that way.
- Invitations –Just because the chat is done doesn’t mean they’re bad company. Invite them to check out the buffet, meet the speaker, or leave to hit a bar.
- Wait For Others –Eventually, other people might join in the chat. That can be your point of exit.
- Appreciation –No matter what your exit strategy, try to end with something positive and appreciative. It’s hard to view someone who’s complimenting you in a negative light. Then, shake hands and move with purpose to your next destination.