Your Escape Plan for Networking: by Fred Miller

Your Escape Plan for Networking: by Fred Miller

Created: Wednesday, April 27, 2016 posted by at 4:00 am

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If you’re a regular networker, I’ll bet this has happened to you. The seminar is scheduled to begin at 8:30, and the event notice suggested to: “Arrive early and Network!”

“Great!” was your initial reaction. That’s one of the reasons you attend events.

You have developed and practiced you Elevator Speech. You’ve tweaked it enough times that you’re comfortable with it and excited about the opportunity to use it with the goal of finding many prospects for your products and services.

You arrive at 7:30, an hour early, and already, people are gathering. They are introducing themselves, delivering and listening to Elevator Speeches, and exchanging business cards. Super! That is why you came early.

Everyone, when signing in, gets a big name tag, so introductions are easy, with their first name on it in bold print. Someone wearing the name tag, “Johnny” walks up, grabs your hand and starts shaking it. He then begins delivering, and delivering, and delivering his Elevator Speech. You feel like you’re being Verbally Spammed! He is bombarding you with the information you never asked to receive. You have no interest in Johnny’s products and services, but—he keeps delivering and delivering his Elevator Speech!

Not, since addressing you by name, because you are wearing that big name tag, has he asked what you do.

Your Escape Plan for Networking

Your Escape Plan for Networking
Picture Courtesy: Pixabay

What’s a great networker going to do when being held captive by a Verbally Spamming non-networker?

You need a Networking Escape Plan. Perhaps several!

Suggestion: Hold your hand up in the Stop! position. Politely, but firmly, say, “Johnny, when I was planning my goals for this event I made a personal commitment to meet ten new people before the program starts. You’re number one. I need to move on and meet more people or I won’t get to that number.”

  • Extend your hand and say, “Good luck and enjoy the program!”
  • Leave Johnny and find someone else. Perhaps, the name tags have the name of the company the person works for. It may even have their position in the firm. Find one you like and extend your hand!
  • If Johnny had been a nice person, who had asked about you, and was just one of those people who talk, talk, talk, you might exchange business cards as you pivot to leave.

If you’ve encountered “Johnnys” before, have other options to get away.

  1. Set the timer on your phone to go off for the time you’ve calculated you want to spend with someone.
    • When it chimes, take it out of your pocket and politely explain why you set it.
    • You could put the talk, talk, talk bad on yourself, and explain, “I often find myself taking up too much of someone’s time at events like this and use the alarm to discipline myself to give them the opportunity to meet more people. Come to think about it, we both should be doing that, also, shouldn’t we?”
    • Shake hands, wish them good luck, and leave!
  2. Sometimes, getting away can be as easy as saying, “Excuse me! I just saw someone walk in who I need to see right now about something important!
    • Shake hands, wish them good luck, and leave!
  3. If attending the event with a friend, especially one who has also met Johnny, you can have an agreement to discreetly signal each other when you want to break away from Johnny. When the signal is given, the friend will call the other person on their cell phone.
    • When the phone rings, look at Johnny and say, “I’ve got to take this call. Perhaps we’ll meet another time. Good luck and leave!

Use these Networking Escape Plans and your next networking event will be absolutely, positively – no sweat!

For your networking, you’ll need a great express Elevator Speech. If you want a free template to develop, practice, and deliver one with – no sweat, click here.

Fred Miller

Fred MillerFred Miller writes, speaks, and coaches networking, public speaking and presentation skills. His books, No Sweat Public Speaking! and No Sweat Elevator Speech! are bought internationally, and have rave reviews on His website,, has over two hundred articles and videos on Public Speaking and Presentation Skills. Fred has been interviewed locally and internationally and has written many articles on and off line.

See Also: Fred Miller on Indezine

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