When Networking Professionally -- Keep Moving. Here's how.

I was teaching a class on networking recently and someone asked how they should deal with people who were just a bit too sticky at a networking event. It seemed the woman asking the question attracted a lot of attention at events. While it wasn't all unwanted, she was asking me for a professional way to detach herself from someone with whom she wasn't going to make a meaningful connection. Given my looks, you might correctly assume that I've never had that problem. Still, I think I can offer a solution.

Disconnect with tone and vigor
What does that mean? People get tone in your voice. If you let them know that you are drawing a conversation to a close, they can sense it. If they can't, you are going to move on anyway. You can always end a conversation by telling someone that you have enjoyed talking to them and wish them good hunting as they cast about for connections at the event. Say, "Thank you for the conversation. My Boss / Spouse / Coach asked me to make at least five connections tonight, so I'd better get to work." Everyone gets this, and for the few that don't, you simply turn away and move on. It's OK. This gets easier over time and there is nothing wrong with putting both of you on the path of making meaningful connections. That is what networking is all about.

A Connectorati Technique - The Reconnect
Yes, there is an even more powerful way to disconnect with someone and it actually leaves them on a positive note. This technique is sometimes only available to the Connectorati, that is people who have already built an extensive network of professional contacts. Still, even if you are not yet a Connectorati, you may find a lucky happenstance where you can make the technique work. If so, give it a try.

How does the reconnect work? As your conversation with someone comes to a close you look for someone close by, preferably a potentially meaningful contact, and you offer to make the introduction. It goes like this: "Mike, it's been good talking to you. Thank you for helping me understand your business better. By the way, you said you were interested in some training. Do you know Russ Davis? Well you should. Let me facilitate that introduction." You then either bring the third person into the conversation or you walk the person next to you to the new introduction. If you pick the two well then you might be doing them both an awful lot of good.

It's ok to keep moving at a networking event. If you’re a good networker you came in with both a plan and an openness to new things. While you are always keeping your eyes open for new and interesting opportunities, you also need to work your plan and meet the people you intended to meet. Use one of the techniques above to make sure your networking keeps moving.

About Phil Yanov

Phil Yanov is a Technologist, Columnist and Public Radio Commentator.

He is the founder of Tech After Five as well as the founder and President of the GSA Technology Council and the IT Leadership Council.

His personal technology column appears in Greenville Business Magazine and the Columbia Business Journal.

He co-hosts the Your Day technology shows heard on NPR radio stations across South Carolina and is a frequent contributor to technology stories appearing on radio and television.