Handling Awkward Encounters
Handling awkward encounters is something we’ve all had come up in business. When’s the last time you avoided attending an event because you were worried about running into someone? Did you regret not going after the fact? Maybe there was business to be had and because you weren’t there, you missed out on working with an ideal client.
Let’s face it, there will be people in your networking circles you’d rather avoid. Yet, when you miss out on new business as a result, it’s time to do something different.
There are definitely people I’d choose to never see again. Some of these people are ones I’ve hired and a few are even former clients. You can probably relate to this one, the people who always want to “pick my brain” but never want to pay me for my expertise, awkward! My list of people I’d prefer to avoid is relatively small, yet, a few of these people show up at events where I’m speaking and/or there to network. It’s unrealistic and bad business to let one awkward situation determine my attendance.
Recently, I was having a conversation with a client and she was asking for some advice on how to handle one of the situations. It turns out my answer and suggestion for each of these situations is basically the same.
How-To Handle Awkward Encounters
When you’re forced to interact with someone you’d rather not, here are a few suggestions of what to do:
- First, determine how important is it for you to maintain any kind of relationship with this person. When you need to keep things on good terms for the sake of your business, be willing to be the “bigger person” and extend yourself to engage in a friendly conversation. Act as if all is well and most of the time the other person will go right along with you.
- When the relationship is finished, maintain your professional composure. There’s no reason to be rude and yet don’t be fake either. No need to put on a big production to try to make them feel at ease.
- Say hello when appropriate and then move on and engage with the people you’re there to connect with.
- For the people who want to hash it out, talk things to death, or in some cases “pick your brain” (I hate this saying, it sounds so intrusive), don’t. These people do not get your attention. Attention includes your eyes, your time, and certainly not your voice. They no longer have access to you.
- When you are approached by this person, say something generic like, “Hi, I hope you enjoy the event. Excuse me, there’s someone I promised to connect with.” Then walk away.
For those of us who were raised to be pleasant and always nice to others, it can be difficult to follow these steps. Yet, when you’re prepared, you’ll enjoy yourself more and be strategic in your interactions.
Wishing you continued success this week.
Agree? Disagree? Additional comments or thoughts on this article? Please share.
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