How Do You Say Goodbye?

At a recent workshop, I was asked for advice on a challenge I’ve never encountered. While I certainly have some thoughts and suggestions, I’ve decided to share this challenge with you.

Have you also experienced this challenge? Please share your ideas and feedback in the comments section below.

Two people in the workshop mentioned that they have difficulty ending a phone call. They find themselves in an awkward back and forth situation that I can only describe as verbal volleyball. It might sound something like this:

“Okay, well thanks.”

“Yeah, thanks. I’ve enjoyed talking to you.”

“Yeah, me too. Always great to talk to you.”

“We’ll talk again soon.”

“Yeah, for sure. I look forward to it.”

“Yeah, so do I. Well … okay.”

“Okay, uhm, bye.”

“Yeah, bye.”

My first, somewhat thoughtless answer to this question is … goodbye – to end a phone call I say “goodbye”. But even as I said this, I knew it wasn’t true. The word “goodbye” didn’t feel or sound right when I said it. I don’t think it’s a word we use very often anymore. Perhaps we are favouring the more casual “Bye” instead?

Since I was asked the question, I’ve been paying more attention to how I end my phone calls. My habit is to quickly summarize the conversation, get agreement and then hang up. Much to my surprise, I’m not even saying “Bye”.

Here’s a sample of how I wrap up a phone call:

“Well, thanks so much for calling. Based on what we’ve discussed, I’ll prepare a proposal for you and send it on Monday. Does that work for you?”

“Yes, Monday’s fine, and even later in the week will work for us as well.”

“I’ll make sure you have it on Monday and we’ll talk again once you’ve had time to review it.”

“Sounds great.”

“Okay, we’ll talk again soon. ” Click

So now I’m curious. How are you ending your phone calls? Is there an etiquette we should be following? What do you think?

#inspireconversation

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10 thoughts on “How Do You Say Goodbye?”

  1. Hi Mary Jane!

    I tend to be very swift and to the point with this, often taking people by surprise.

    I say, “Okay, thank you for ___. It was a pleasure speaking with you. Have a great day!”.

    “Oh, you’re welcome….”

    “Goodbye.”

    “Bye….”

    Click.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Natasha, for sharing this. Wondering if you receive any feedback from others. You acknowledge that you know they are surprised. Are they also appreciative? I believe that people do appreciate when we are efficient and allow them to get back to their day and tasks.

      Reply
      • Here’s Natasha’s reply: “Yes, I do believe people are pleasantly surprised! It demonstrates my professionalism in keeping things brief for all involved. I think it is appreciated and I don’t plan on changing my M.O. any time soon!”

        Reply
  2. Great topic! I usually say, “Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today.” “Oh, you’re welcome.” “Bye” “Bye”

    I don’t like “have a great day” as it rings false to me. The person I’m speaking with is usually a stranger and I have no idea of what challenges they will be facing during the day. I would only say it to someone that I know well.

    Many thanks!

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comment, Peggy. It is so important to use language that “rings” true to us. That way we always sound authentic and our message is heard in a truthful way. So … saying “thank you” is perfect.

      Reply
  3. Depending on the conversation, I usually do end it with a “Have a great day” or “Bye Bye”. For me when I say “Have a great day!”, I mean it… if the others don’t feel it’s rings true, that says more about them, than I. Again, it depends on the conversation, and sometimes on who I’m speaking with.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comment, Paul. As with Peggy’s comment below, authenticity is what works. People will hear that you are sending them wishes for a good day and it will be appreciated. I often do a variation on this which is “Enjoy your day”.

      Reply
  4. Is it okay to say “good bye” instead of just “bye” at the end of a phone call?
    Does it sound more formal and professional to say good bye?

    Reply
    • Thanks for posting this question, Dave. I do get asked this a lot. And yes, It is fine to say “good bye” or “bye” or “bye for now” or “Thanks so much for the conversation. Talk again soon. Bye.” Ending the call doesn’t have a definitive formality … but it does need to take place. Both parties need to hear words that indicate the call is now complete.

      Reply

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