Chances are, you know many ways to start conversations. That's the all-important first step. But you may not know how to end a conversation politely.
Often, all focus falls upon beginning a conversation. But like all good things, conversations must come to an end. Let's learn how to end a convo gracefully. That leads to more great conversations later.
How to End a Conversation Gracefully
Let's face it: humans are social. We desire conversation and connection. There's no substitute for talking things out to connect and solve problems. Most of us are in many conversations every day!
It's important to be mindful in how to end a conversation. End a conversation on the wrong note, and you can be off-putting. Or the other person may just forget all about what you said.
Let's learn how to end a convo using a variety of techniques. These help you leave on a high, positive note. Consider these key advantages of learning how to leave a conversation before we get started:
- you make a better impression
- you show off gratitude and tact in conversation
- you've got the chance to revisit your key points
- you avoid the distraction of talking for too long
You'll enjoy all these benefits (and more!) when you learn how to leave a conversation. Now, let's dive in and explore the advantages of each approach below.
1. Rebook For Another Time
In this approach, it isn't goodbye - it's "see you later!" When you rebook a convo for another time, you hold your thoughts until they can be revisited later. This is how to leave a conversation, by saving it for another day. In doing so, you'll enjoy some benefits.
First, of course, you'll achieve your goal of ending the conversation in the present moment. But you also leave the door open to revisit the topic at hand later. This clearly shows to other people that you truly care about the conversation itself. You're offering to revisit it, while ending it for the moment.
A good way to approach this is to say:
"I'd love to continue our conversation, but I have another commitment."
You can follow this by making specific plans for when and where to resume the conversation. Again, it shows your interest while keeping things firmly on your own timeline.
I recommend taking the following steps when you choose to end a convo by rebooking for another time. These keep you on track and prove to other parties that you care about what they're saying:
- Take notes. Once you end the conversation, jot down notes of its highlights. This serves two purposes. You'll recall what was said, and you'll generate specific questions for a later conversation. This way, the revisited conversation can stay focused and brief.
- Thank the other party. Show gratitude for their flexibility and willingness to continue later.
- Get contact details. If the other person isn't someone you know well, be sure you collect their contact details. When you do, you'll be able to reach out and make plans to connect again.
2. Pause For Thinking
The best decisions often need deliberation. In other words, you need to think things over before making a choice. This is a fundamental truth in conversation, too. And it's how to end a conversation politely by promising again to return to it later.
Taking a pause to think is another approach with many benefits. Namely, it accomplishes your goal of leaving the conversation. But like our prior tip, it promises a revisit. In this case, you frame the pause as a time to think and consider what was said so far. You can think about the discussion and come up with follow-up questions to ask another time.
Leaving the conversation isn't the only benefit this technique offers. It's a genuinely useful - and smart - approach to use when you're in conversation. This is especially true if you're talking about potential decisions.
Rushing to judgment just to finish a convo seldom has good results. Returning later helps you evaluate options and choose the best course of action. And of course, sometimes it's a tactful way to defer an action that may disappoint the other party.
When you pause for thinking, try the following to be both tactful and effective:
- Send a follow-up note. Use this to clarify questions and outline the next steps (if any) in the conversation.
- Be honest. Even if you decide not to move forward, don't mislead. Be honest with yourself and clear about your objectives with others.
- Set a timeline. Open-ended decision cycles don't result in good choices. Decide when to revisit and stick to your plan.
3. Recap the Conversation
As you consider how to end a conversation politely, this is a top option. Recapping the conversation signals to others that you're ready to wrap things up. But it's a tactful and constructive way to do that.
This one is especially common in meetings, whether in-person or virtual. Recapping the highlights of a conversation is the perfect way to end the discussion. But it uses time efficiently. As you recap, you ensure that the key points are understood and remembered. When using this technique, try the following to be effective:
- Keep things brief. Remember, you're summarizing. Don't repeat everything you discussed.
- Stick to the highlights. Stay in order. List three big ideas in sequence during your conversation? Run through them again, in order. Changing things up can become confusing.
- Close with time for questions. This is a good way to avoid follow-up conversations if you need to keep moving forward. By spending a few moments now, you can leave the conversation without having to return to it later.
Finally, remember to focus on the next steps. Many conversations have a goal in mind. From them, you anticipate actions to be taken.
By planning the next steps, you can be sure that the conversation you're ending will be a productive one. Ensure that everyone involved knows what to do next. This may be a specific action or decision, and it may vary between participants.
By being clear, you can show that you're eager to engage and move forward. Plus, you'll show respect for everyone's time by remaining brief, concise, and to the point.
4. Show Gratitude
Wondering how to end a conversation on the ultimate high note? Show gratitude! This is the perfect way to wrap things up and move forward. Indeed, it’s an essential element of any important conversation. It shows others that you care deeply about what you've got discussed. And helps them understand that you’re ready to wrap things up.
In essence, showing gratitude expresses your thanks for others' time. Time is valuable, and you recognize this by appreciating people sharing it with you.
Showing gratitude is a great way to smooth things over if you've had disagreements. For example, you can say something like:
"Thank you for raising that point! It gives me something new to think about."
It demonstrates an appreciation for the views of others.
Thanking others at the end of a conversation is a key part of a successful dialogue. That's true whether or not you plan to resume the conversation at some other time.
Showing gratitude leaves others with an appreciation for their contributions. This recognition can even help them stay focused! As you express gratitude, be specific. Call out aspects of the conversation that you found most helpful or interesting. In doing so, you can subtly guide the focus of future conversations.
5. Don't End It After All
We’ve learned how to end a conversation politely using several techniques. But remember, conversations are dynamic and always changing! That means that sometimes, you may decide not to end the conversation after all!
Keep in mind, we don’t learn by talking. New information is absorbed by active listening. You may initially decide to move a conversation to a close. But perhaps a new point is raised, and you want to know more. You absolutely don’t want to cut the convo short and miss out on an important or impactful result.
This is especially true in meetings and negotiations. Successfully ending a conversation is all about timing. Sometimes, you’ll end sooner than you think. But other times, you’ll want to keep things going to ensure you achieve the desired result.
The key, again, is active listening. Try and get a feeling for where the conversation is going. If you're turning in circles and not moving towards a decision, it's often best to end the conversation. But if you sense momentum towards an agreement, try and keep the conversation going.
It often helps to keep things moving with questions. Deciding not to end a convo right away doesn't mean keeping it going forever. Instead, it works to propel the discussion towards a productive conclusion.
It’s easy to see how to end a conversation politely. With these options, you can talk successfully and manage your time efficiently. Knowing how to leave a conversation is a top skill in 2023, and you’re ready to start using it today.
The Ultimate Source for Conversation PowerPoint Templates (With Unlimited Downloads)
If you’re in a conversation, visual aids are key. A quick PowerPoint presentation helps you communicate your big ideas. They’re the convo companion you can’t afford to forget in 2023. The best way to build a PowerPoint deck is with a premium PPT template. The best source for these is Envato Elements.
Elements is a creative resource with an unbeatable offer: unlimited downloads. For a flat monthly rate, you've got unlimited access to a library of thousands of PPT templates.
Plus, Elements includes an array of other content. You’ll find stock photos, music, fonts, and more. These are resources that you can add to your PowerPoint deck to inspire conversation.
Premium PowerPoint templates from Envato Elements help elevate any conversation. Inside each, you’ll find features like:
- infographic illustrations to share data
- charts and graphs to bring numbers to life
- stylish, expertly-crafted slide layouts
- stunning custom fonts
- placeholders to easily add photos and videos
The beauty of Envato Elements lies in its flexibility. With millions of premium assets, your options are virtually limitless. You maintain full creative control over your templates. You can add your own content and tailor the designs to fit your needs.
Elements is the best investment you can make to have better productive conversations. Join Elements now and start downloading!
Now You Know How to End a Conversation Politely
You probably have spent a lot of time thinking about how to start a conversation. Now, you've got an even more important skill: how to end a convo politely. (And don't forget - great PowerPoint templates give you tools for your best conversation.)
Remember the skills you learned in this article that guide you in how to end a conversation. Start to put these techniques into practice today!
Editorial Note: This content was originally published in July 2022. We're sharing it again because our editors have determined that this information is still accurate and relevant.