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How to move on courteously and politely…


“We’ve agreed no-one likes rejection. We also don’t like rejecting others as we know how it feels ourselves. That is the reason you stood next to Betty, even though you knew the conversation had finished.”

“Absolutely correct.”

“And when she said, ‘I’m off, bored with you, I’m sure there are more interesting people here,’ you didn’t like it, did you?”

“Hang on, she didn’t say that.”

“Not in those words exactly, you’re right. But that was the subtext of her ‘Brian, it’s been very nice etc.’ ”

“So, what do we do to ensure everyone feels comfortable with the moving on process?”

“I can’t teach you when it’s time to move on, we all know the moment. As you’re thinking you’d like to go… so too is your partner.”

“Yes, I see that.”

“When it’s time to move, there are a few lines to try: ‘Betty I could do with a refill,’ or ‘I see they’re serving food,’ or ‘I’ve seen my friend Trudie over there, would you like to join me?’ By using the last phrase, that way you give Betty the option. Most of the time they want to move on, so they decline your offer. But you’ve been polite, courteous and haven’t rejected her.”

“That’s tremendous… But hang on a minute, what happens if she comes with me?”

“No problem. The key point here is to move off the spot, down the room and guess what’s likely to happen?”

“I meet someone and pass her on?!”

“Or she meets someone and introduces you. Whichever, there is no embarrassment …and no rejection.”

“Sounds too simple. But, wait a minute. What happens if you take her for a drink, she’s still with you, then some food, she’s still with you, then you introduce her to someone and that someone moves off…and she’s still with you? You’re stuck…really stuck! How do I get out of that one?”

“Now Brian, the phrase I am going to ask you to use will be your life-saver. Not only when you meet someone for the first time; it might be when you are with a client at an event or with anyone you already know. Unless they are a confident networker, they will find comfort in staying with you. Now that you’re beginning to rethink this networking stuff, you probably want to move on.”

“True, so what’s the phrase?”

‘Come on Betty (or Mary or John) ‘let’s go and meet some others’ or ‘Why don’t we join that group over there?’. You simply take them with you; in other words you include them.”

“Who are these ‘others’?”

“You aim for an open two or three and say, ‘Please may we join you?’ All of a sudden you are in a closed four or five. Everyone introduces everyone else and at that moment you have tied Betty into this new larger group. You’ve done your charity work for the evening! It’s time to move on when you’re ready.”

“Wow, it all seems so easy.”

“It is, but only when you practise. Brian, I am only giving you tips and ideas, but unless you implement them, that’s all they’ll be, tips and ideas.”

“Right, I think I’ll go and find another ‘Betty-no-mate’ and hope she comes with me for a while. Then I can park her into a group!”

“You really are getting into the spirit of this, aren’t you?”


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