20 Foolproof Ways To End A Conversation

By Elsie Boskamp
Sep. 20, 2022
Articles In Life At Work Guide

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Sometimes, finding a way to end a conversation can be awkward. But, in life, whether at work or home, learning how to artfully end a conversation is almost as important as learning how to lead a conversation or make small talk.

The way you end a conversation, especially at work or professional events, says a lot about your character and personality.

Whether you’re stuck in an awkward conversation, making small talk, having a chat at work, or putting your conversational skills to use at a networking event, we’ve got all the tips and tricks you need to end your discussion on a high note and make a lasting impression on your conversation partner.

Key Takeaways:

  • Knowing when and how to end a conversation is an important skill to effectively manage time and energy.

  • Timing is key to ending a conversation. Look for lulls and peaks to pick an appropriate time to end your conversation.

  • Summarizing key points, explaining you need to get back to work, or scheduling a further discussion in the future are all good ways to end a professional conversation.

  • Introducing someone new to a conversation at a networking event is a great way to end your conversation.

20 Foolproof Ways To End A Conversation

Determining When to End a Conversation

You might be thinking, how will I even know when I should end a conversation? Well, to put it simply, timing is key when ending any professional or personal conversation. Consider the following:

  • Self-evaluate. Taking a deeper look at how you tend to lead or contribute to a conversation can be a great way of figuring out timing and determining when there tends to be a lull in conversations you’re involved in. Doing this self-evaluation can eventually help you establish when you should generally aim to wrap up a chat or conversation.

  • Look for lulls and peaks. Typically, a good conversation starts with an introduction and a conversation starter, leading to a deeper, more drawn-out conversation. Following this deeper topic of conversation and interesting discussion, there tends to either be a lull or a peak, which is usually a good indicator that it’s time to end the conversation.

  • Notice symptoms. If you’re still wrapping your head around the timing of a conversation, a few of the most common signs that it’s time to excuse yourself include boredom, repetition of something that was already said earlier, conversation interruptions, and, perhaps most important of all, extended silence, which, more often than not, is a good indicator that there’s nothing left to be said.

Situations To End Conversation In

How to end a conversation can be determined by the situation you find yourself in. This article will explore the following how to end a conversation in the following situations:

  • At work

  • At a networking event

  • In a casual conversation

  • In an awkward conversation

Although there are similarities, there are also significant differences on how to end a conversation based on the audience and environment.

How to End a Conversation at Work

The best way to end a conversation at work, no matter the subject, is to be confident, courteous, and professional. Whether you’re engaging in small talk or having an interesting conversation with your boss, a colleague, or a subordinate, it’s essential to maintain good social etiquette and end your chat on a high point.

  1. Summarize key points. Summarizing key points is a great way to wrap up a conversation with a colleague or team regarding new work projects or goals.

    If you’re aiming to end a chat with a coworker or wrap up an important meeting, summing up what was said is a polite and professional method of transitioning towards a conclusion. Even better, this conversation ender will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and understands the most critical components of the conversation.

  2. End with a rundown of projects you’re working on. This is a great way of ending a conversation with your supervisor or manager, as it shows your drive, communicates your efficiency and productivity at work, and showcases your professionalism.

    Saying something like, “The past few weeks, I’ve been focused on updating our company website by writing SEO optimized blog posts, making the homepage more user friendly, and adding eye-catching data visualizations. I better get back to those projects, but it was nice talking with you” is a great way to use this conversation-ending technique.

  3. Tell them you need to get back to work. Ending a conversation at work doesn’t have to be as complicated as you might think. Using work as a reason to end a conversation is perfectly justifiable since, after all, you’re at work to, well, work.

    Telling a colleague, “It was great talking with you, but you better get back to work,” or even flipping it around and saying, “I’ll let you get back to work,” is both professional and socially acceptable.

  4. Offer your assistance. If someone at work comes to you seeking advice, and the conversation is dragging on a little longer than you would like, offering to take a quick glance over their work or to review the project they were seeking help with is a great way to wrap up the chat.

    Offering your assistance will allow you to end a conversation while still supporting your colleague and preserving your character.

  5. Schedule a progress meeting for the future. If you’re crunched on time but want to continue an important conversation you’re having, suggesting a future time or date to talk can be a great way of temporarily ending a conversation while still leaving the door open for future discussion.

    Scheduling a progress meeting for the future will allow you to end a conversation in the moment easily. This conversation ender is especially worthwhile for conversations regarding specific work projects or status updates, as it allows both parties to prepare themselves for future conversations.

How to End a Networking Conversation

Being comfortable and confident enough to strike up a conversation at a networking event can be hard work, but learning how to end the conversation appropriately and leave a great last impression can sometimes be even more difficult. Using age-old networking techniques can help you end a great conversation on a good note.

  1. Get the person to introduce you to other professionals in their network. Networking events are all about meeting new people. Getting the person you’re talking to to introduce you to one of their colleagues or professional acquaintances is a great way to conclude one conversation and transition into a new one.

    If you’re planning on trying this conversation tactic, try saying something along these lines: “It was so great to meet you and talk about consumer marketing. I’m really interested in learning more about market strategies. Is there anyone in your network you could introduce me to?”

  2. Introduce them to someone new. On the same token, another great way of wrapping up a networking conversation is introducing the person you’re talking with to someone new.

    Helping your acquaintance make a new professional connection is not only a great way of ending a conversation on a high point at a networking event, but it’s also a great way of deepening your professional connections and expanding your network.

  3. Exchange business cards. Exchanging business cards is common practice at networking events and usually a great way of wrapping up a meaningful conversation with a new professional connection on a high note.

    In addition to being a great conversation ender, exchanging business cards can also help you grow and develop in your career.

  4. Invite the person to do something. If you struck up a conversation with an interesting person and want to end the convo but still keep the door open for future conversations, inviting them to do something with you, whether that’s getting a drink at the event or grabbing coffee at the end of the week, is a great networking conversation hack.

  5. Wait for other professionals to join your conversation. Networking events are all about making new connections, so you should never feel bad for ending one conversation to start a new one.

    If you’re having a group conversation with a few people, it’s perfectly ok to duck out when you feel the conversation flow has died off or the conversational topic no longer benefits you.

    By practicing active listening and waiting for a conversation lull, you can easily end a networking convo after other professionals have joined the chat by simply walking away politely or saying something like, “It was great talking with you all” before excusing yourself.

How to End a Casual Conversation

The best way to end a casual conversation is to be friendly and informal. Whether you’re having a casual chat or small conversation with a friend, an acquaintance, or even a stranger, try to use social cues to figure out when to end the convo, then keep things light and laid back.

  1. Make plans for the future. Making plans for the future is, quite possibly, the best way to politely and quickly end a conversation. The great thing about this conversation ending technique is that it shows you like talking to them, and it expresses your interest and willingness to keep the conversation going at a later date.

    Making a plan to grab coffee, go out for lunch together, or get drinks after work are all great ways of ending a conversation, no matter the topic of conversation.

  2. Connect on social media. In today’s modern world, connecting on social media can be a great way of staying in touch with your professional and personal connections. If you can’t keep talking or find yourself stuck in a conversation you’re looking to end, asking the person for their social media handles is a simple conversation ender.

    Not only is this a great way of wrapping up a wonderful conversation, but it also allows both parties to keep in touch, thus keeping that door open for any future conversations.

  3. Be friendly. When in doubt, be friendly. The art of small talk is all about being upbeat and honest. The same is true for ending casual conversations.

    After initiating a conversation, especially a casual one, a friendly way of wrapping it up would be to tell the person how much you enjoyed talking to them, making a light joke, expressing your best wishes for them and the family, or even give them a hug or a handshake, depending on your relationship with the person.

  4. Keep it informal. Keeping things informal can help you avoid awkward silences and allow you to wrap up casual conversations in a positive manner. Saying something like “It was great catching up” or “I’ve got to get going, I’ll catch you later” are great examples of informal ways to use good manners to end a quick conversation.

  5. Check your watch. Checking your watch or looking at the time is a pretty obvious conversation ender. While this tactic certainly isn’t right for every situation, it’s a perfectly acceptable way of wrapping up a convo for small talk and casual chats.

    If you’re not completely comfortable checking your watch as a means of ending a conversation, another less awkward tactic that typically achieves the same result is saying something along the lines of “Oh, is that the time? I better get going.”

How to End an Awkward Conversation

At one point or another, whether it’s at work, at home, or even at the grocery store, you’re bound to get stuck in an awkward conversation. Next time you find yourself in a conversation with no end in sight, a chat with poor conversation flow, or a talk that’s just plain awkward, don’t fret. Instead, use your body language or an excuse to wrap it up.

  1. Use an excuse. When it comes to ending an awkward discussion, sometimes the best thing you can do is smile, offer a believable excuse, and end the conversation.

    While using an excuse isn’t always the most honest or professional way of ending a conversation, sometimes it can be a good last resort when other conversation enders fail.

    Saying that you have an errand to run, are waiting for an important phone call, or have to deal with a personal issue are all perfectly acceptable excuses you can use to end a particularly awkward conversation.

  2. Excuse yourself. If you initiate a conversation that turns awkward, instead of making up an excuse to end it, you can also simply excuse yourself. Rather than keeping the conversation going, you can say “excuse me” and walk away. While this can sometimes come off as curt or blunt, it’s certainly not rude or overbearing.

  3. Reference the future. So you struck up a conversation that went sour? A great way of ending it can be referencing the future. Whether it’s bringing up something forthcoming in either your life or theirs or scheduling a time to meet in the future, this can be a great way to wrap up an uncomfortable conversation.

  4. Use body language. When all else fails, body language can be a great way of communicating to someone that it’s time to stop talking. Body language can be almost as telling as words when it comes to calling it quits on an awkward conversation with a friend, family member, coworker, acquaintance, or stranger.

    To get yourself out of an awkward situation using your body language, try gazing off into the distance, pointing your toes towards the door, or avoiding eye contact.

  5. Mention your busy schedule. Mentioning your schedule is a great way of ending any conversation, whether it’s an interesting chat, some casual small talk, or an awkward discussion.

    If you don’t want to keep talking through an awkward silence, take the opportunity to end the conversation by explaining how busy you are and noting your time constraints. Typically, this is a surefire way of wrapping up a convo.

Why Ending A Conversation Is Important

It may seem strange to think that ending a conversation is a skill. However, it is very important to know how to appropriately end a conversation for several reasons, including:

  • Effective time management. Conversations that go on for too long take time away from other activities, projects, or needs. By knowing when and how to end a conversation, you are making sure you are using your time wisely.

  • Saves social energy. Some conversations can be exhausting. If you find yourself in an exhausting conversation that no longer serves a purpose, extracting yourself saves your social energy.

  • Clarifies what was discussed. Wrapping up a conversation by acknowledging what was discussed prevent s any miscommunication in the future. This is especially important in the workplace because you do not want to leave a conversation with a different impression than the other person or people.

  • Good manners. It is simply polite to end conversations the right way. This helps you build a better reputation than would otherwise be the case.

Final Thoughts

With the right conversation hacks, ending a professional or personal chat can be easy and stress-free and even help you deepen connections or develop in your career.

Evaluating a conversation, determining when to wrap up the discussion, then using specific techniques like exchanging business cards, referencing the future, excusing yourself, keeping things friendly and informal, summarizing key aspects of a conversation, or connecting on social media is the best way of appropriately, properly, and professionally ending any conversation.

Using the techniques outlined in this article, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of conversation and ending casual, awkward, and professional conversations in a way that makes a positive and lasting impression.

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Elsie Boskamp

Elsie is an experienced writer, reporter, and content creator. As a leader in her field, Elsie is best known for her work as a Reporter for The Southampton Press, but she can also be credited with contributions to Long Island Pulse Magazine and Hamptons Online. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Stony Brook University and currently resides in Franklin, Tennessee.

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