4 Ways to Gracefully Exit a Networking Conversation

When it comes to networking events, a common challenge for people is figuring out the right icebreakers. What exactly do you say to end that awkward silence and start a conversation?

I was recently quoted in a roundup article on Ladders HQ alongside six other professionals to share my favourite go-to icebreaker – statement jewelry. Trust me when I say it’s the networking tool you never knew you needed.

But icebreakers aside, it’s not just starting the conversation that’s a challenge – it’s gracefully exiting it. You know what I mean. You need to end the conversation because you see someone else you would like to chat with – or you simply want to go home and curl up with a blanket and Netflix. (By the way, that is totally understandable and I may or may not have left a networking event to do this.)


Whatever the reason is, here are 4 scripts you can use to gracefully leave the conversation:

Be honest about work

“Sara, it was a pleasure meeting you but I do have to head out as I have a few other things on my to-do list tonight. Enjoy the rest of your evening!

Going to chat with someone else

“Pleasure chatting with you, Claire – I actually see an old colleague of mine that I’d like to say hi to before heading out. I’d love to get your card though and I’ll connect with you online.

When you want to plan a follow-up chat

Alicia – so glad we met tonight! I do have to head out but we should definitely set up a time to chat further about [insert topic you talked about here] – can I get your card and I’ll shoot you an email this week?

When you’re looking for a job and they seem like they could help

Grace – so nice chatting with you. Unfortunately, I do have to head out but do you mind if I get your card? I love the sound of the culture at [insert company name here] – by what you’ve said it seems like a great place to work! I’d love to connect and set up a time for us to grab a coffee – if you have some time in your schedule in the next few weeks?

What things have you said to exit a networking conversation?

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  • Jessica Chang
    March 31, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Such great advice! I make the mistake of going to deep into these conversations, making a “real” connection as it usually feels like, and never talk to anyone else. Sometimes I wonder if it’s my secretly telling myself “ok you’ve successfully talked to ONE person without making a fool of yourself, just stop here” and this type of thinking that I don’t start more conversation with more people. I will definitely be keeping these tips in mind next time in a networking environment!!


    • Chanele
      April 2, 2017 at 10:57 pm

      I know exactly what you mean, Jessica! Honestly, networking is not easy. So many thoughts run through your head! It took a while for me to get to the point where I don’t have to stress too much about what to say to wrap up a conversation – hopefully these tips help you at your next event 🙂