Networking is a vital part of social capital. As in all areas of business, we want to be both effective and efficient. Following are ideas for disengaging from the prolonged networker.
Set limits. If there seems to be no end to the saga, hold your hand up as if to indicate, “Stop”. Jump in with the assumption that this could take awhile and that you have other obligations. Smile and graciously go on your way.
Ask for a conclusion. Assertively set boundaries by asking him to skip the details and briefly give the end result. Firmness shows respect for you and kindness shows respect for the bore.
Use Archer Bunker humor. Rather than gesture hanging yourself, in a playful manner act as though you are dozing off. Make your exit and go home to go to bed or the washroom to splash cold water in your face. No other explanations necessary.
Act as if. Give the individual an easy out by acting as if you have been monopolizing his time and offer to let him go. Then do it.
Stand up - physically as well as for yourself. If you are seated, stand up. Whether in an office setting, your living room or a barstool, when you stand up it gives a powerful non-verbal message that the encounter is over. In a standing encounter, give the physical stance of departure.
Pass the buck. I hesitate to suggest this, even though I have used it on more than one occasion. Using the networking strategy of acting the host, draw another person into the conversation then make an amiable exit (to entertain others, of course). Later, make it up to your unsuspecting pawn by taking her to lunch.
Even though bores are boring, they are still human beings so treat them kindly. Be firm without being rude. Be more cautious the next time you are around them to practice amiable avoidance.