How to end face-to-face conversations

Think getting off the phone is difficult? Here are some phrases to practice, so you can get out of meetings—planned and impromptu—that hamper your ability to get things done.

What’s worse than someone who talks your ear off on the phone?

A co-worker or family member who drones on and on in person can be a busy communicator’s worst nightmare.

It could be the neighbor who corners you in the front yard or the guy in line with you at the bar at a networking event. And then there’s the family get-togethers and the work holiday party—prime settings for long and awkward interactions.

How can you politely and professionally excuse yourself in a face-to-face conversation? There’s always the classic: “Is that the restroom? Please excuse me for a moment.” However, if you want to let yourself off the hook with a little more finesse, try these:

  • “I need to go inside and start dinner. It was great talking to you.”
  • “I need to check and see what the kids have done to the house.”
  • “I’m going to say bye for now. I want to be sure and catch the opening remarks.”
  • “I told my co-worker I would bring him a drink. Please excuse me.”
  • “I think I need to go in and find a seat. I’ll see you later.”
  • “It was great to meet you. And thanks for [the book recommendation, your advice, the information on . . .]”
  • “Can you please excuse me for a moment? I need to call home [before the kids go to bed, to check on my dog . . . ]”
  • “My friend just walked in. I need to go say hello to her.”
  • “I have a question I want to ask the speaker before she leaves. Please excuse me.”
  • “I think I see dessert over there. I’m going to see what they have.”
  • “Thanks for spending time with me. Would you like to connect on LinkedIn?”
  • “I had no idea you knew so much about [football, soybean farming, spelling . . .] It was great talking to you.”
  • “I want to make sure I say hello to everyone here. Enjoy your evening.”
  • “I see Jack from the office. Would you like me to introduce you?”
  • “I think the host might need some help [in the kitchen, cleaning up, with the TV . . . ] I’ll see you later.”
  • “I made it a goal to meet three new people here tonight, so I’d better get going.”
  • “The line at the bar seems pretty short now. I think I’ll grab a drink. Would you like to join me?”
  • “It’s time for me to say goodbye. I want to get on the road before [it gets dark, traffic gets too bad, the bad weather hits . . .]”
  • “I’m going to check out the buffet. Would you like to come with me?”
  • “I’ve really enjoyed our conversation. We’ll have to do this next Thanksgiving, too.”

Are there any others that have worked for you, PR Daily readers?

Laura Hale Brockway is an Austin-based writer and editor and a regular contributor to PR Daily. Read more of her work at .

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