If your listener is getting fidgety and distracted while you’re talking, it could be a sign you’ve stayed on one subject for too long. It’s either time to stop dominating the conversation or to move on and talk to someone else.

Should the boot be on the other foot, wait for a pause and aim to wrap up the conversation on an

upbeat note and with a smile. For instance, ‘I’m glad to hear your family is doing so well, Liz. Good

luck with the new baby,’ as you retreat.

If you’re trapped by a windbag, the chances are you both have empty glasses. Offer to go and fetch you both a refill. When you return, hand over the glass as you pass by with a breezy, ‘Good to meet you’. By this time, they may have found a new victim to latch on to.

If they refuse a fresh drink, you are free to seek one yourself, saying, ‘I really enjoyed meeting you. ’ Here are some other get-outs:

• ‘Have you spotted the cloakroom?’

• ‘Do you know Harry?’ as you introduce them to each other and slide away.

• ‘ So sorry to desert you but I have to catch Sally before she leaves. ’

• ‘I haven’t said hello to our hosts yet, I’d better go and do that now. ’

• ‘I’ve left something in my coat pocket, do you mind if I get it while I remember?’

• ‘I need some fresh air; would you please excuse me?’


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