How many times have you had an awesome conversation that’s gone on just a little too long?
You know what I’m talking about. There’s a point in the conversation when everyone knows it’s time to wrap it up, but somehow, the discussion keeps trailing on. (Or, worse, when the other person’s still going strong and you’ve been looking at your watch for five minutes now.)
Great news! You can now stop talking at the ideal moment, all thanks to these 21 lines that will end things on a good note—and on time.
On the Phone
- “I’ve got another call in a couple minutes; thanks so much for speaking with me, and I’ll talk to you again [soon/in X days].”
“My battery’s pretty low, so I’m going to hop off. Have an amazing day!”
“It sounds like we’ve covered everything we needed to, so I’ll let you go. Thank you for such a productive meeting!”
“Can’t believe it’s already [time of day]. I’m sure you’ve got lots of things on your agenda, so I’ll let you get to them. Let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you.”
At a Networking Event
- “Please excuse me, I’m going to make a quick restroom trip. It was lovely to meet you!”
“I’ve had such a nice time talking to you. And I’ll definitely connect with you on LinkedIn so I can keep up with all of your cool ventures. In the meantime, I’m going to go [grab some hors d’oeuvres/say hi to a friend/go to the next panel].”
“I’m sorry to leave so quickly, but it’s been a pleasure and I hope we can reconnect soon. Do you have a business card?”
“I’m going to mingle a bit more, but before I go, can I introduce you to someone? [Introduce them to each other.] I’ll let you guys talk!”
In the Office
- “I’ve got to head back to my desk and work on [X project]. Let’s catch up at happy hour!”
“I know you’ve got a crazy schedule, so I’ll let you get back to it.”
“I’d love to hear about your [work/side gig/current initiative] when we’ve got more time, so let’s plan lunch!”
“There are a couple emails I have to send before [time], so I’m going to have to excuse myself.”
At the End of a Meeting
- “Looks like we’ve hit everything on the agenda. If no one has anything else to discuss, see you all at next week’s meeting.”
“There’s another meeting in this conference room right after us, so we should probably clear out and let the next guys in.”
“Great to see we finished 15 minutes early! Going to go knock out some quick emails.”
“[Person], are you walking back to your desk? I’ll walk with you.”
“Thanks, everyone, for a productive meeting! I can send around our notes later this afternoon.”
On a Video Call
- “I really appreciate you taking the time to speak with me. Have a fantastic rest of your day, and I’ll look for your [email/notes/report/follow-up].”
“Your ideas sound really promising; can’t wait to see them in action. In the meantime, you’ve probably got a lot on your plate, so I’ll let you get back to work.”
“I want to get you the answers to your questions as soon as possible, so I’m going to get off now—look for my email by the end of the [day/week].”
“Wow, I can’t believe it’s already [time]. Do you mind if I hang up and finish up my to-do list?”
With these polite but firm ways of saying goodbye, you’ll never be stuck in “conversation purgatory” again. And I can almost promise you that the person on the receiving end will be thankful (or at least not offended).
Photo of planes leaving courtesy of Shutterstock.