Recently a client started our session with this admission:
“I’ve been facing a challenge when it comes to managing the duration of my appointments. Typically, I allocate one hour for coffee meetings, but they often extend far beyond that. Exiting such conversations politely has become quite hard for me. Lately, my schedule seems to be slipping away from me, causing me to run late for my next appointment and I’m not getting much else done. Do you have any ideas about what I can do?”
What we brainstormed was a mixture of using expectation-setting phrases prior to getting into the thick of a conversation and also a list of useful phrases for leaving meetings on time. The winners were:
- On arrival, and after introductions: “Just letting you know that I really must leave at X time.” “I only have 60 minutes on the car parking. Is it okay if I set a timer?”
- To exit a meeting: “Selfishly, I could chat with you all afternoon! But I’m sure your schedule is tight so I will let you go.” “I can’t believe the hour is up! Let’s not wait so long to reconnect.”
- Circle back to the original meeting purpose: “Thank you for your help in chatting with me about X Y Z. I will let you know how I go. You have been a lifesaver!“
What do you find hardest about leaving meetings?