How To Get Out of an Awkward Conversation – Without Being Offensive (VIDEO)

 

A little break from the norm: usually, while I usually like to show you how to have conversations that are actually interesting and fun – even a short chat with a total stranger….

…Recently I keep being asked, “What do you do when the conversation you’re in dries up? How do you get away?”. Almost every new exchange has its life span – and you might need an exit strategy, even from ones you’ve enjoyed.

So, I made you a video – with a script – for these exact situations. It features a cameo by an A List celebrity. I don’t want to give too much away – let’s just say, the advice I’m giving you is more than a drop in the Ocean(‘s Eleven). In fact, you could say it’s Fantastic (Mr Fox). If you use it, any awkwardness will be Out Of Sight. Syria(na)sly, this tip is good for everyone, to a (Bat)man. No need for blind (Goodnight and Good) Luck.

Ok, this is killing me. Here:

93% of all communication is non-verbal.
Because of this, people will react to your physical cues and take the lead of how you behave.

Click here to tweet that!

Thanks very much to Kathleen Probst for inspiring this video, by asking this question on the blog! If you have any questions on networking (or emailing big shots)  that you’d like to me answer, then either comment below or send me an email.

Or, if you want specific one-on-one advice, you can book a no-cost, no-obligation chat with me, by clicking HERE.

Over To You  

What was the last awkward conversation you were in – and how did you get out of it?
Let me know in the comments below!

Do you know someone that NEEDS to know this tip? Share this blog with them, so they can learn how to channel their inner Clooney, too!

Thanks,

You rule,

xx (Yes Yes) Marsha

PS if you sometimes have awkward conversations because you can never remember people’s names, then I have an amazing trick for how to remember ANYONE’S – and become the most-liked person in the room. Pop your details in below, and I’ll share it with you:


(this also gets you access to the Yes Yes Marsha Mailer Family, where you get FREE weekly email coaching on how to do networking that’s actually FUN, along with secrets and stories that I won’t put on the internet)

Credits:

Intro/outro music: ‘George Square’, by the amazing David Berkeley: http://www.davidberkeley.com.

Extras: the audience at True Stories Told Live Toronto, March 2014 
Crowd filmed by: Sage Tyrtle

Find out more about Happy High Status:
in the very brilliant book The Improv Handbook, by Tom Salinsky and Deborah Frances-White

Everything else: copyright Marsha Shandur 2014

45 Comments

  • Finka

    Reply Reply April 3, 2014

    You are the BEST!!! I love ya!! You are AMAZING!!! You make it all look so easy and fun!!!

  • Lisa Flowers Ross

    Reply Reply April 3, 2014

    Great advice. I think it would take some practice to do this. I hope I can remember it if I’m in that situation.

    And oops, Kathleen’s last name is Probst.

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply April 3, 2014

      Lisa – yes, would deffo take some practise, as does SO much of the stuff I’ve written about behaving confidently, then the real confidence follows. But I promise that it works.

      Thanks so much for noticing the typo! Have changed it 🙂

  • Kendrick Shope

    Reply Reply April 3, 2014

    Marsha this is great. I loved it and it’s so true.

  • Fan-freakin-tastic video! Marsha, you are awesome!

  • Andrea

    Reply Reply April 3, 2014

    Could have used this last weekend, but am VERY, VERY pleased to now have it my repertoire! Brilliant, as always, Ms. M!

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply April 3, 2014

      Eek, sorry about the timing! But glad you have this string to your bow for next time 🙂

  • Amantha Tsaros

    Reply Reply April 3, 2014

    Wow! You sure know how to bring out the confidence, Marsha. It is painful to be caught in a awkward conversation – I never know if the other person is suffering and can’t wait to get away from me, too.

    I have been known to introduce the other party to a third person and then excuse myself. But this is better.

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply April 3, 2014

      OOH, Amantha, that’s a really good one! I’m totally going to steal that from you, if for some reason the Clooney move doesn’t seem appropriate. Thanks!

  • Pam

    Reply Reply April 3, 2014

    Thank you! Fantastic advice that’s also easy to implement! And excellent Clooney impersonation 🙂

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply April 3, 2014

      Thanks, Pam! Though I’m a bit confused – what do you mean by “impersonation”? 😉

  • Jennifer Kennedy

    Reply Reply April 3, 2014

    Great tip, Marsha!! I have a networking even this weekend and I’m SO going to use this technique!! I’m always confused about what to say and must admit I’m one of those who says I need to use the restroom or I need to get going.

    I love ending the conversation on a more positive note!

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply April 3, 2014

      Jennifer! This makes me SO HAPPY!!

      Do come back and let us know how it went!

      And ps, as I said in the vid, I do think the washroom/bar excuse is fine sometimes 🙂

  • Maggie

    Reply Reply April 3, 2014

    Great advice!

  • Mia

    Reply Reply April 3, 2014

    Marsha, I LOVE your “It was lovely to meet you” ice breaker – GREAT for breaking free of a conversation that’s headed the way of the Titanic – short and sweet.

    I especially like those words for the more “elegant” events (not that it wouldn’t work at other events).

    I’ve been called a “empath” so I tend to go to extreme lengths often to make sure people don’t feel hurt or rejected. Here’s a more casual attempt at a “happy-exit” strategy I’ve used with people I know – colleagues, acquaintances or event friends and family – with variations, depending on the person and situation:

    “I’m sooooo sorry to have to cut off our conversation. It was really great seeing you [I think you’re AWESOME] [I love your ideas] [you always say something that inspires me] and I really want to chat more about that the next time we get together. Unfortunately I have to scoot about and make sure I connect with a few more people before I leave. But we’ll talk soon, right? [This last line I think really helps them feel like it’s also up to them – it’s not just being presumptuous that they will (and do) naturally want to talk with me!

    Of course each thing you say may prompt a response but I found that as long as I keep my eye on the ball (that I need to leave the conversation) and as long as I say something acknowledging that they are valuable (even if the conversation isn’t working at that moment) then it tends to go well. As a freelance writer, everything inspires me to think more deeply – even a dreadful conversation – so I also feel I am not being insincere. It’s like you say; it’s about boundaries…and having the ability to see “light” in everyone. Thanks Marsha! Mia

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply April 3, 2014

      Woah, Mia! What a wonderful comment!

      I think I might be an empath too, which is why I prefer the “lovely to meet you” approach.
      But I really liked your one – especially, “we’ll talk soon, right?” and, as you say, something that acknowledges that they are valuable.

      Thanks!

  • Lynayn

    Reply Reply April 3, 2014

    Marsha…this is great! Will definately use it. Thanks!

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply April 3, 2014

      Thanks, Lynayn! If you like, come back and tell us how it goes!

  • Lori Reeves

    Reply Reply April 3, 2014

    As always, your advice is spot on, and I L.O.V.E. your video style! I get a rush of excitement every time I see you’ve published a new one!! Keep up the good (and entertaining) work! <3

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply April 4, 2014

      Lori! That comment gave ME a rush of excitement – for real! Thanks so much.

  • Heather

    Reply Reply April 4, 2014

    Hi Marsha – I am loving your site and I’m sorry that I am about to ask one of those stupid questions that sounds as though I should have been able to find the answer to myself but here goes. Yesterday when I was surfing around your site I found your article about the lady you sent the sparkly microphone to and I liked her site as well. Today I really have looked quite hard and can’t find it again. Do you think you could point me in the right direction. Thank you

  • And now I’ll be picturing the crowd of people saying “Awwwkward” whenever I get into one of those situations…which will probably help me get my smile going for my ever-so-graceful exit using your script. Your vids are useful in so many ways!

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply April 10, 2014

      Rachel, the fact that you’ll be picturing the crowd now makes me SO HAPPY!!
      As do the lovely words about the vids, thank you!

  • Ruth Ridgeway

    Reply Reply April 9, 2014

    Ok, this one’s going to take some balls but I’m going to give it a go!
    However – To put a spin on it, how would you get yourself out of an awkward social engagement you’ve signed yourself up for? When you later realise it’s really NOT the hangout for you and you’d rather be home watching Sat night TV (yeah, that bad an engagement).

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply April 10, 2014

      Ruth, I’m SO HAPPY you asked this question!!

      I am on a real tip at the moment of realising that, not only do people not care about your excuses, they actually feel worse when you give them one. So I tend to favour dropping them a note saying something like,

      I’m afraid, something’s come up and I’m not going to be able to make it on Saturday. Thanks so much for inviting me – it looks like you’re going to have an amazing time! The [specific thing they’ve decided to do with the function] was such a brilliant idea.

      Warmly,

      [Your name]

      Key points:
      (1) If you not being there messes things up for them, give as much warning as you can
      (2) Do it with confidence – channel your inner Clooney – act like this is the most normal thing and they’ll follow your cue
      (3) Don’t over-apologise and/or scrabble around with justifying excuses
      (4) End on a positive – then make sure to smile through your email as you sign off.

      The only change I’d make to this is, if you *are messing them around by pulling out (eg they could have given the ticket to someone else), do your duty in terms of rectifying that (eg try and find someone else to take the ticket).

      If they press you further, you still can keep it vague. Unless it’s a good friend, they don’t need to know that you just prefer the idea of snuggling!

      • Ruth Ridgeway

        Reply Reply April 10, 2014

        LOVE this thank you! Screen grabbed for my next tricky situation I foolishly sign myself up for 😉

  • Nadia Hosko

    Reply Reply April 10, 2014

    Thanks Marsha!! Soo great to get tips on this. The last awkward conversation I was in was painful!!! But not because no one was speaking – the other person was speaking too much, and couldn’t find an opportune moment (a pause) in their speaking to make an exit. This has been happening A LOT to me lately and I feel awkward – usually because I’ve listened for a while and then feel the need to make an exit. I’ve had some great convo’s too, but when I have to go, and the other person is chatting away, interrupting people is hard for me. Would LOVE to see a video on this!! xo

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply April 10, 2014

      I love that you’ve asked this question!
      Here’s what you do:

      Make your face into an ‘I’m going to interrupt you’ face – sharp intake of breath, lift the eyebrows high and head up slightly – put an an arm on theirs and say something like,

      “You know what? I’m really enjoying this chat, but I

      also promised myself I’d talk to as many people as I could at this event
      / need to speak to [specific name] and I think she might be leaving soon
      / really need the washroom*.
      Maybe we could continue over email. Do you have a card?”

      If they do, you don’t *have to email them (that’s why the “maybe” is in there).

      Short form: if THEY are being rude enough to do all the talking and not enough asking, it’s ok for YOU to be “rude” (though I don’t think it *is rude here) and interrupt them.

      Let me know if that seems clear. Thanks, Nadia, GREAT question!

      *as I said, it IS ok to use the washroom card!

  • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

    Marsha Shandur

    Reply Reply April 10, 2014

    Technology Marsh here somehow managed to delete Sylvia’s comment. Sorry Sylvia!

  • Jeff Goins

    Reply Reply September 12, 2014

    Love this, Marsha! These videos are awesome! Keep ’em up!

  • Claire Stone

    Reply Reply January 15, 2015

    Marsha – I have just discovered you, and I am so pleased. This is the year I need to get into networking more, and I was dreading it. Just watching a couple of your videos has already made me feel better, but this one is the absolute most genius useful one of all. I am SHITE (normally) at getting out of conversations but now I just know – because I’ve been practising while doing my ironing – that I can channel my inner Mr Clooney and get out of any conversation. Thank you soooo much.

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply January 15, 2015

      Claire! This email makes me so happy!
      I’m VERY excited that you’ll be channelling your inner Clooney. Please do let me know how it goes.
      Thanks for taking the time to say hi!

  • Catriona

    Reply Reply February 18, 2015

    Great idea! I HATE when those situations arise (and they do. A lot!)
    **By the way, that’s so cool that you got George Clooney to star in the video :O **

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply February 18, 2015

      Glad you like it Catriona! Also THANKS, you know, celeb friend and all that 🙂 x

  • Sarah

    Reply Reply November 16, 2015

    Oh my goodness I just accidentally binge watched like 8 of your video blogs Marsha! I already knew this but I’m continually convinced and delighted at how much of a social, communication genius you are. Thank you for these tips and mind control secrets, it’s truly powerful. Will report back when I have results 🙂 x

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply November 16, 2015

      Sarah! You just made my day, thank you!

      And I’d LOVE to hear how the Mind Control works out for you…

      Thanks!

      xxyyM

  • Linda Ugelow

    Reply Reply July 20, 2017

    Gonna do this from now on!

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