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How to End a Conversation Politely

The trick to ending a conversation is respect. Learn options for polititely ending a conversation.

By
Lisa B. Marshall,
January 25, 2016

I recently did articles on conversation starters and conversation continuers. Both were very popular. But what about conversation closers? How do you politely end a conversation?

All good things must come to an end, and so must the wonderful conversation you’ve just had because you followed my steps in the other articles. So now what? How do you close on a positive note and leave the person feeling good about the time you spent together? The most important fundamental in knowing how to end a conversation is courtesy. You want the person to feel like you really enjoyed talking to him and that you valued the interaction. So the ending should be polite and sincere. Obviously, if you’re on the train and your stop is next, you can mention that ahead of time and let the person know how much you enjoyed the chat. But at work or at a networking function, it takes tact and diplomacy to end a conversation.

The basic idea is to summarize, complement, and make plans for the next conversation. Here are a few specific suggestions: 

  • Make a positive statement: “I really enjoyed our conversation. I hope I run into you again.”
  • Offer a summary: “Thanks for clarifying the terms of the contract. I’ll look over it and get back to you.”
  • Mention another pressing engagement: “I have a meeting in an hour I need to prepare for, so unfortunately, I'll need to get going! Good to see you!”
  • Simply admit you’d like to mingle more: “It was so nice meeting you. I’d promised myself that I'd mingle this evening and meet at least three new people. Let's plan to talk next week—what's the best way to reach you?”
  • Ask for a later continuation: “I’d like to continue our conversation later, when we both have more time, does that work for you?”

Of course, emergencies arise and conversations sometimes have to end abruptly. Recently, while I was on the phone, my daughter walked into the room in pain. I had to suddenly tell the caller, “Oh, I’m so sorry, I have to get off, my daughter has a horrible migraine and I have to help her. Thank you so much for calling!” The caller understood my sincere concern and ended the conversation quickly.

One word of caution—don't offer to let the other person go—as in, "I know you're busy, so I'll let you go."  Most people will see that as a very thinly veiled excuse and frankly, it's rude to assume what the the other person wants.  

Again, the key to a successful conversation ending is to be courteous and sincere. Make the person feel good as you end the conversation. Like anything else in life that’s worth doing, good conversation will take practice.

I really enjoyed our conversation about conversations ... you?

This is Lisa B. Marshall helping you to lead and influence.  If you'd like to learn more about compelling communication, I invite you to read my bestselling books, Smart Talk and Ace Your Interview and listen to my other podcast, Smart Talk. As always, your success is my business

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