Making small talk with a roomful of strangers isn’t for the faint of heart. So it’s understandable when someone clings to the first person they see at a conference. But what if you’re the person they cling to? Here’s how to get away without hurting their feelings:
Introduce them to someone else. If the person has something in common with a colleague of yours, make a friendly introduction, highlight their common interest, and then move on.
Ask who else you should meet.Steer the conversation toward who the person has already met. If they mention someone interesting, ask if they will make an introduction for you.
Level with them. Say: “It’s been fantastic hearing about your new project, but I should keep moving. One of my goals for the conference is to get better at networking. Great to meet you!” Telling them why you’re moving on will soften the blow.
Adapted from “When Someone Gloms On to You at a Conference,” by Dorie Clark