14 Tips For Effectively Wrapping Up A Workplace Conversation

Forbes Coaches Council Members

May 8, 2022

Able (Find Your Voice Asia) helps individuals find their diamond within & grow beyond the ego in order to find peace within & with others.

Knowing how and when to end a conversation at work can be challenging for some people. It’s a situation that many don’t often consider how to handle until they’re in the midst of it. Finding the right time to wrap things up during a discussion with someone depends largely on with whom you’re speaking, when and about what.


Developing a standard “closing” practice for conversations is essential for ensuring effective workplace communication. Thankfully, this is one of the soft skills professional coaches are so adept at helping their clients master. Here, 14 members of Forbes Coaches Council share their best tips for closing workplace conversations.


1. Set Qualitative Parameters


Quantitative parameters set the guardrails for effective closing. I recommend agreeing to a meeting duration target up front as a way to respect everyone’s time. And I recommend closing with the top two to three points from the conversation, plus one next step, if appropriate. If you can keep these few “stats” in mind, then you’ll have a clean frame for wrapping up and moving forward. - Marita Decker, FutureCourse Education




2. Use A Clear And Upbeat Tone


Ending a conversation can often be a bit uneasy for many. What is something that can help here? I would suggest that the closing “tone” is critical. It should be upbeat, clear—not over the top—but businesslike and professional. Even if the news has been bad, an upbeat tone to move forward to next steps can be invigorating. Honesty and authenticity are also key in the closing tone. - Ash Varma, Varma & Associates


3. Offer To Be Of More Service


My standard closing for a conversation is, “How else can I help you today?” This is a feel-good close for both sides because I have offered to be of more service (whatever that means, based on the person I am speaking with) and they feel cared about. Often, they have no ask of me at that point, but they express their gratitude for the consideration and it leaves an open door for future conversation. - Cathy Lanzalaco, Inspire Careers LLC


4. Use Nonverbal Cues And Then Summarize


First, use nonverbal cues to signal that the conversation is over. Change your position, gather your things together, finish your tea or coffee and so on. Then, have a little summary ready in your head. Include the most important decisions and resulting action points. Finally, always remember to thank the person for their time and input. Showing gratitude is always a good way to end an interaction. - Rajeev Shroff,Cupela Consulting




5. Show Your Appreciation And Smile


For any situation, let the other side know that their sharing is appreciated and heard. (Also make sure that you have been listening and not pretending to listen!) Be sure to provide space to allow them to finish. When a pause arrives because their mind takes a break or they are in need of a breath, enter smoothly by saying, “Thank you so much for sharing.” Wrap up with the intent to continue. Do smile. - Able Wanamakok, Find Your Voice Asia


6. Articulate Key Takeaways


Being able to articulate key takeaways from a meeting is a productive way to end a meeting, as it encompasses active engagement. Thereafter, include something such as, “In our follow-up session, let’s check in on these actions...” Then, proceed to concisely put forward actions. Take any final comments around the key takeaways and actions, and lastly, thank the individual for their presence and time. - Arthi Rabikrisson, Prerna Advisory


7. Book The Next Time To Meet


Book the next meeting or next reason to communicate. Closing this meeting with next steps means a commitment to writing the next chapter. Putting a date and time on collective calendars helps bring a sense of closure to a meeting, which should be more than talk. What commitment will be made, and in what time frame should that commitment live until the next meeting? That’s hard to do, but it needs to be done to seal deals. - John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.


8. Ask If They Have Anything To Add


When you notice the conversation is waning and the topic feels complete, I recommend simply saying, “It was great speaking with you. I appreciate your time. Is there anything else you’d like to mention?” If you’ve read the situation correctly the answer is usually “no,” but asking allows your conversation partner a chance to state any last points while signaling that you have made all of yours. - Cheryl Czach, Cheryl Czach Coaching and Consulting, LLC


9. Thank Them For Their Ideas


Showing gratitude is always a great way to start your “conversation closing” process. Thank those who are in attendance for their energy and ideas. Summarize the core of the conversation and note action items. If action items are not already assigned, request volunteers or ask who the most ideal person is to drive each item forward. End with appreciation and a follow-up that everyone agrees to. - Erin Urban, UPPSolutions, LLC


10. Follow The Rule Of Three


My best practice is to say, “I’m conscious of the fact that our time commitment today is almost done, so let’s take a few moments to reflect and set our next steps together.” Some questions could include: “What three key learnings do you have from today?” “What three ideas should we explore more together?” “What three commitments will you make for the week ahead?” - Susan Murray, Clearpath Leadership


11. Set A Time Limit To Stay Focused


In pro services, I recommend that all conversations have a time limit. About ten minutes before the end, I recommend that people summarize what they’ve talked about, note any decisions they’ve made and get clarity about next steps—who must do what? This approach keeps the conversation focused, relevant and productive. - Randy Shattuck, The Shattuck Group


12. Bring It Back To The Reason For Connecting


Bring the conversation back to the original reason for connecting. Recap what you talked about, discuss the learnings and action items, and then thank them for their time. Show that you have both completed the conversation and gotten what you needed from it. Then, end gracefully by saying something like, “I’ll let you go now,” or, “I’m looking forward to our next conversation.” - Josephine Kant, Google for Startups


13. End It Gracefully With One Of These Phrases


I use several phrases to gracefully end a conversation. Here are a few: “Looks like we have a lot of great ideas—when can we continue the discussion?” “How do you feel about where we’re headed, and what might you need from me?” “In the interest of time, what would you say some good next steps might be?” and, “I’m really enjoying our conversation—what are some key takeaways before we wrap up?” -Manisha Dhawan, MPath Coaching


14. Begin With The End In Mind


To have confidence in the ending, you begin with that in mind. The ending point is evident when you have a clear purpose from the onset. How you phrase that finish can vary, but it’s ultimately about staying on topic. An excellent segue question can always be to ask if there’s anything we can do for them right now. Make it immediate and clear, and then wrap up based on their answer. - Kathi Laughman, The Mackenzie Circle LLC


Want to ask questions or need guidance? Please email me at able@findyourvoice.asia.