Whether it’s talking to a perfect stranger or someone a few degrees away from us that we’ve been wanting to connect with, it’s important to know not just how to connect effectively but also how to end a conversation in a way that leaves a lasting positive impression of us on their mind.
Ending a conversation effectively isn’t rocket science. However, there are some things to keep in mind that will help you navigate what can sometimes be a bit of a sticky situation.
You don’t want to end it abruptly and rub them the wrong way. Then again, you don’t want the conversation to drag on forever and leave a bad taste in their mouth, soiling all hope of a future relationship, whether personal or professional.
But before we talk about what conversation finishers you can use to end a conversation effectively and leave a positive impression, it’s important to touch on how important it is to keep a certain level of awareness about you when you’re conversing with someone.
How long is the conversation going to be? Or: Why you should keep some situational awareness about you when conversing
I know a few people who will talk my ear off if I let them. It’s super uncomfortable and I always end up a bit annoyed with them by the end of the conversation, even though some of these people I like quite a bit.
While I stand by the belief that this is the sign of a person who has done very little work to improve their communication skills, and that if you’re reading this you’re probably not one of those people, there are other ways we can trip up by not staying present when communicating with others.
Here are some things to keep in mind when talking to someone you’re trying to impress, particularly pertaining to how long the conversation should last:
- How did the conversation start? Was it in passing, where they headed somewhere and you pulled them away? Show them you respect their time by keeping the conversation brief. If they contacted or approached you, though, you have free reign to converse as long as they seem willing. Another unique situation is when you happen to be seated next to the person. Allow the conversation to stop naturally at certain points and let you both come back to it if it happens naturally (or if they express interest).
- Where did the conversation start? If it was in a store, you should probably keep it brief because you’re interrupting an errand or leisure time, neither of which we tend to react favorably to being interrupted during. If it was at a party of some kind, while you safely have more time to converse you should offer the opportunity for them to move on from the conversation after a while. It’s generally best to end it cordially before they do, maybe even mentioning that you don’t want to keep them and that you’ll see them around/would like to talk more another time.
None of this applies in all situations, however, it will serve as a useful guide for helping you know when to end a conversation and how to most effectively end it.
With that said, here are four conversation finishers that will help you leave a lasting positive impression.
1. “It’s been a pleasure speaking with you but I’ve got a tight schedule I’m sticking to, so I’m going to have to get going to make sure I can get everything done today.”
This is a hyper-professional conversation finisher but a really useful one if you’re talking to someone you’re trying to impress such as a potential client or employer.
You may have noticed I didn’t try and come up with some excuse as to why I needed to go. I know a lot of people who do this and it establishes a very bad habit, not just for yourself but with how you speak to the other person.
A lot of people lie about why they need to get off the phone. I know someone who habitually lies every time they’re speaking with someone in a professional setting when they want to get off the phone and it’s cringe-worthy to listen to. You know they’re lying and, because they do it so often, I bet a lot of people sniff out that the person is lying to them.
Don’t do it. The right person will be smart enough to see right through this. They’ll value your honesty and be impressed with your work ethic.
2. “Well, it was great seeing you. I don’t want to keep you, so I’ll let you get back to [your shopping]. We should talk/connect sometime.”
Every conversation we step into we’re constantly sniffing out those little signals that tell us what the other person’s intention is.
If you meet someone you like or simply someone you want to connect with, ending the conversation first before the other person does so can often be the best course of action. This keeps you from appearing needy and makes you look like the busy one if you use it right.
This is a great way to do just that while also opening things up for further communication without requiring any kind of commitment from the other person if they’re not interested. Substitute “your shopping” for whatever task they are or might be doing at the time.
3. “Let’s talk more later this week? I have a project I’m trying to finish by tomorrow at 12:00.”
This is another conversation finisher that allows you to leave a lasting positive impression by making you appear busy and responsible. It can be used in pretty much any situation, be it professional or personal.
This finisher is useful in that it’s more forward than the previous about picking up the conversation later. Only you’ll know if this is appropriate but if your goal is to connect with them again it might be more effective to go with something like this.
4. “It was great running into you. I’ve got to get to [interest activity].”
This finisher is all about purposefully connecting with someone when you have like interests with. Do your best to make this authentic and not forced. If you can do that, it’s super effective.
Let’s say you know the person loves baseball and the L.A. Dodgers, you could say you’ve got to get back home to catch the game because you and your family/friends are getting together to watch it.
You’re not being impressive on a personal level but you are leaving a positive impression in that you’re connecting with a like interest of theirs, one of the best ways to create an instant bond and leave a memorable impression on anyone.