You’ve encountered this individual at every networking event – Boring Bob – the most belligerently boring person in the world. His dull demeanour is enough to bring you to count the number of hair follicles on your hand just for a little excitement.
You look for the nearest exit, but it’s still 100 yards away. You wait for a break in the conversation in order to say, “Excuse me, I see the last 40-years of my life fizzling away” but Boring Bob rambles on and on.
You start shifting your weight and it takes everything within you not to just turn on your heel and walk away. But no matter how unexciting a person can be, you just never know who’s in his network and whom he can put you in touch with. The whole goal of networking is to build rapport and gain trust, therefore, choosing to be ill-mannered may offend Boring Bob. Knowing how to exit a dry dialogue and ditch a boring person takes a lot of skill and finesse.
Here are 3 simple tips you can use to escape a dreary conversation without being rude or impolite.
- Introduce him to someone else. If you have determined that Boring Bob is just too humdrum to keep your eyelids open, start scanning the room. If you spot someone you know who’s in the same industry as your lifeless pal, quickly say to Boring Bob, “I just spotted Ann and she’s in the same industry as you. Would you mind if I introduced the 2 of you?” Quickly call Ann over, make the introductions and as they begin to chat to one another, politely excuse yourself.
- Grab something to eat or drink. Food is the best pal you can have when you’re engaged in a monotonous chat with Boring Bob. When he takes a breath, quickly say, “I’d like to grab a drink. I may be awhile because I’m very fussy about what I order. Feel free to mingle with others.” Shake hands with Boring Bob, tell him that you’ll catch up with him later, and then head over to the bar to soothe your frazzled nerves.
- Explain that you see someone you must meet. This is a classic and it works every time. Wait for a break in the conversation, then tell Boring Bob that you see someone that you have to talk to. Shake his hand, tell him it was nice to meet him, and then encourage him to mingle with others. You’re now free to walk over to the person you’re dying to meet, whether you know her or not.
Boring Bob may challenge your ability to stay focused and engaged, but don’t feel obliged to suffer through his monotony at a networking event.
Instead, use one of the techniques above to ensure that you don’t get trapped into a boring conversation with the cure for insomnia. Being courteous and considerate means that you will be able to tap into Boring Bob’s network, even if you do have to brush him off.