Sara's Career Tip of the Month: How do I gracefully exit a conversation at a networking event?

Image of Sara AyaziHi there! I'm Sara Ayazi. As a career counselor at the Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD), my goal is to help you navigate your career successfully!  Each month, I will be sending UCSF health professional students a career tip.

This month’s tip is on networking. We recently received a question about how to gracefully exit a conversation at a networking event. This tip can also be helpful at any number of events including conferences, residency showcases, and pre-interview dinners.

The process of ending a conversation with another person is like the rolling credits after a movie. You want to signal it is over AND give them time to recognize this. It generally takes a few minutes. 

The person who ends the conversation needs to engage in all of the verbal and non-verbal cues to signal its ending. That can include: 

  • Thanking them for their time
  • Exchanging business cards/contact information
  • Making a plan to connect in the future 
  • Introducing them to another person at the event 
  • Holding out your hand to shake theirs

Here is an example:

Dr. Lannister, thank you so much for this information. It has been a pleasure to meet you. I would like to say hello to several more people before I leave, but I would really like to keep in touch. Can I get your contact information so I can schedule a time to continue our conversation?

Want more information on networking? Feel free to review our online resources, or make an appointment.

Next month’s tip is on interviewing. If you have an interviewing related question, send an email to [email protected]with the subject line “Career Tip of the Month.” Your question may be featured in next month’s Tip of the Month!

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