How to STOP a conversation you don’t want to have

4th July 2017

Ever been networking, and got stuck talking to someone you can’t get rid of?

Or been to a meeting that’s dragged on, and you couldn’t escape?

Well, it’s important you know how to stop these. Or, they won’t…. well, stop.

And the key to mastering this is to know in advance how you’ll stop them. After all, it’s unlikely you’ll think of the right words during your conversation. So, it’ll keep dragging on. And on.

Here are three easy ideas for you:

#1 Use the past tense

When you use the past tense, it shows the conversation is over:

  • Thanks for calling. I’ve found our chat useful
  • It’s great to speak with you. I enjoyed our conversation

When you say this, people reply using the past tense too – “Thank you. I did too.”

And your conversation is now over!

#2 “I’m conscious of time”

“I’m conscious of time” works well in meetings. You can use it:

  • To stop an agenda item that’s taking too long. Saying it hurries people along; and/or
  • To stop your meeting on time, say it a few minutes before the end. This gives you time to agree everyone’s actions before you go

When you say it, people tend to do two things:

  1. Look at their watch; and
  2. Stop talking

So, you can now control how the meeting ends.

#3 “Offline”

If you and I were in a meeting, and I said to you “you’re going into too much detail. Shut up”, you’d think I was rude.

However, if I said “we’re going into too much detail. Let’s take this offline”, you’d probably say “ok then.”

So, “offline” is a polite, corporate way of saying “shut up”!

Action Point

Simple one: identify the phrase you’re going to say next time things drag on. Since, once you know it, you’ll say it when you need to!

Also, if getting out of conversations is important, so’s getting into them. Here’s a free short video showing how to work a room when you’re networking.

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