When McGraw Hill asked me if I was interested in writing Perfect Phrases for Icebreakers, I accepted, partly because I had come to realize how much the way you open a conversation matters. Openings set the stage for good interaction.
Closings matter, too. You know this if you’ve ever been on the phone with someone who ended abruptly or clearly left you (in terms of attention) before the conversation had been mutually concluded. It feels odd.
Sometimes I’ll be ending a conversation when someone else will call, show up or otherwise invite my attention. Since the conversation is all but complete, it’s tempting to rush off to take the next call or tend to the visitor. What I prefer is to ask,
- Can you hang on just a sec? I want to ask this person to wait a moment so we can say a proper good-bye.
Most people appreciate the effort to close the conversation with the grace it deserves. I’ve yet to have anyone object to the short wait.