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How To End Small Talk Without Being Awkward? 5 Things You Can Do

How To End Small Talks

Ending a small talk conversation can be tricky business. You have other things to do — you need to go back to your desk or have another call to make. Or perhaps you’re at a party or networking event and want to have a chance to speak with someone else.

You certainly don’t want to leave the conversation with hurt feelings, but you also don’t want to unnecessarily prolong it. So, how can you increase the chances that all the work you’ve done to build a relationship won’t go down the tubes with an awkward ending of small talk?

small talk
How To End Small Talk Without Being Awkward? 5 Things You Can Do

Here’re 5 Tips To End Small Talk

Tip 1: Provide a rationale for ending the conversation.

Rationales serve two purposes: they provide an explanation for why you’re signalling an end to the conversation — which gets you off the hook; and they can also they show that you’ve enjoyed the conversation — which increases the odds of future interaction. Here are a few examples:

“I have to go in a few minutes, but before I go, I’d love to hear a bit more about (whatever you were discussing)… “

“I have to go, but I really like your advice about (whatever you were discussing). I’ll keep you in the loop about how it goes…”

“I’m enjoying this conversation, but I notice that it’s 9:30 and we only have until 10 to finish the project. If it’s OK with you, I’m going to go but let’s talk again…”

What You Do During Small Talk
How To End Small Talk Without Being Awkward? 5 Things You Can Do

Read 5 Ways Non-Verbal Skills Can Help You Build A Strong Personal Brand

Tip 2: Leverage your immediate surroundings to create the rationale.

Use what’s in your immediate surroundings to help construct your rationale. For instance, if there is a drink table nearby, ask your colleague if they want to grab a drink — knowing full well that you might either get split up in the crowd or encounter other people along the way — and thus ending the conversation “organically.”

Tip 3: Make an introduction.

Along the same lines as the previous tip — introduce your conversational partner to someone else as a way to end the conversation and also help two additional people make a connection.

Read The Eight Levels of Disclosure That Will Help You Extend A Conversation

Tip 4: Foreshadow the ending.

Whenever we deliver “bad news” it’s good to let someone know it’s coming. And although ending small talk isn’t a major case of bad news, it still has the potential to disappoint. So, cushion the blow and preview your ending ahead of time with something like:

“ I have to go in a few minutes, but I’d love to hear one last example of…”

Or: I promised my colleague I’d introduce him to someone, but before I do, I’d love to hear a little bit more about…”

Read 3 ‘Love Language’ Communication Skills That Will Make Your Relationship Last

Tip 5: Remember that you might not be the only one hoping to end the conversation.

Finally, remember that if you’re itching to end the conversation, you might not be alone. Most people mingling at a public gathering know the deal: you talk for a while and then move on.

The trick is doing it in a graceful manner that preserves the relationship you’ve built. So, don’t worry about hurting the other person’s feelings by ending small talk. They might be thinking the exact same thing.

These are easy tips to be more confident and comfortable during small talk.

Please share this article with anyone who you may think will find it valuable and helpful.


Written by: Andy Molinsky
Originally appeared on: Thrive Global
Republished with permission.
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How To End Small Talk Without Being Awkward? 5 Things You Can Do
How To End Small Talks PIN
How To End Small Talk Without Being Awkward? 5 Things You Can Do
How To End Small Talks Without Being Awkward PIN
How To End Small Talk Without Being Awkward? 5 Things You Can Do

Andy Molinsky

Andy Molinsky is a Professor of Organizational Behavior and International Management at Brandeis University and the author of Global Dexterity and Reach. His work helps people step outside their personal and cultural comfort zones. Download his free e-booklet of 10 powerful questions to help you step outside your comfort zone.View Author posts

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