How to politely end a virtual 1:1 meeting?
I attend my mentoring sessions or general talks with my coach and it sometimes gets awkward because I don't know how to end a meeting like I don't know how to signal that "I've asked all my questions and I have nothing more to ask". What do I say or do?
I would recommend that before your meetings you make a list of your questions and topics you would like to discuss during that session. Depending how formal the sessions are, you can keep this list to yourself or share it as an agenda with your mentor! This list will help you to organize your questions and get the most out of your mentor's experience. Also, having questions prepared shows your mentor you care about the meetings and appreciate their advice!
The list will also serve as a natural stopping point. If you share it on screen, your mentor will visually see that you have covered everything. If you prefer to keep it on paper, you can more confidently say all your questions are answered. I will stress that it's always better to come with a lot of questions because it can be awkward if you have nothing to ask. And of course, always thank them for their time and advice!
I appreciate the time that you’ve invested and I’ll see you at our next session have a great evening or a great day
Joseph R.’s Answer
1. Questions they expected or hoped you would ask
2. Points they really wanted you to walk away with/truly reflect on
3. Topics they'd like to you come prepared to explore for your next meeting
4. Resources they'd recommend (articles, podcasts, videos, books, etc.)
When you do eventually log off, be sure to thank them for their time.
Bonus: If they provide any points to reflect on or resources to consider AND you have the time to do so, send them a note ahead of your next meeting about what you've learned or are even more confused about. This will signal a topic for the next conversation AND highlight that you were listening and value their time and advice enough to follow through.
In addition, as you get closer to the end of the meeting, try not to ask open ended questions as some people have a tendency to ramble on. Save the topics at the end to be yes-no type answers. These are some of the tricks I have learned over the years...
Fabulous question! Some great ideas already shared here - a great rule of thumb is to always come prepared with your list of questions/agenda and share this (if possible) with your mentor in advance. Ask them if they have anything additional they want to add to the list - reiterate this question at the beginning of your actual call/virtual session. Make some small chat (aka: depending on your relationship - do they have any fun plans for the weekend? How is their week going? How is XYZ thing going that you discussed last time, etc.!) Then dive into your list! Once you get to the bottom of it - I always ask again if there's anything else top of mind for the person or additional thoughts/learning materials they would suggest you focus on. After - maybe sandwich with a fun comment about something they said during the small talk portion at the beginning (aka: Have a wonderful time at XYZ thing this weekend!), thank them for their time and say you're looking forward to the next session.
And voila! Realize we're all human at the end of the day and having a awkward moment or two is no big deal - you're doing your best!
In those moments when you sense the conversation is reaching its conclusion, try using these tactics to make the transition smoother and more respectful:
1. Give yourself and the other person some time to think by taking a longer pause before responding. This not only helps you gather your thoughts, but also allows the other person a chance to consider any further questions or comments they might have.
2. Maintain a warm and steady eye contact to show your genuine appreciation for the time spent together.
3. Express your gratitude for the conversation with heartfelt phrases like:
- "I've really enjoyed our time together today and I hope you have as well. Would you like to continue the conversation, or should we wrap up for now?"
- "This has been a valuable discussion, and I'd love to delve deeper. However, I understand if you need to end this meeting here. What are your thoughts?"
- "This was a great conversation. I'm looking forward to even more insightful discussions with you in the future!"
Ultimately, the key lies not in the specific words you choose, but in the sincerity and warmth with which you deliver them. By showing that you care about the other person's time and opinions, you'll be better able to foster an atmosphere of encouragement and understanding, making each conversation a truly meaningful and fulfilling experience.
Nitin Krishnamurthy - ITIL®Expert, ITIL 4 MPT, CSM®
This is very subjective... you always need not say what I wrote up above... sometimes you can be casual and say you will need to step out but this was a great discussion
Having an agenda is the best thing you could do... the above advise is when you don't have one :)
I run a lot of meetings and I find it best to have an agenda that I want to cover. That sets the tone for the meeting.
Ending a meeting isn't always easy, however, honesty usually works. You said "I've asked all my questions and I have nothing more to ask" that would be great to say, followed by "Thank you!"
Or you can try: thanks very much for the time today. I appreciate that you answered all of my questions. Would it be okay if I set up another meeting in a few months so we can touch base again?
Leah recommends the following next steps: