How to End a Meeting Without Offending the Client
When it comes to client meetings, preparing an agenda and keeping a schedule to end a meeting on time is important. It lets your client know your time is valuable.
You may decide to kick off your meeting by asking the client to look at the agenda and identify the most important thing they want to cover during the meeting. You can also ask them if there are any items not on the agenda they would like to cover, add those items to the list.
While asking for additional items can introduce questions you are not prepared to answer today, it does give you the opportunity to find answers or solutions after the meeting concludes.
If you find yourself feeling stuck in a meeting where the conversation may or may
not be lingering on financial matters, there are ways to signal the end of the meeting without offending your client. When you feel all business aspects of your meeting have been handled, consider these approaches to end the meeting on a positive note:
- Reassure client they are on the right track. Congratulate them on making a great decision for their future, explain why it is the best decision and what the next step are as a result of making this decision.
- Reinforce your expertise and review the next steps. Spell everything out for your client. Explain the next steps you will take and why you are taking them so they know who is handling each aspect and what is to come.
- Mention each agenda item and highlight the status or result of each. Summarizing the meeting point by quickly reviewing each item, decisions made, and action needed signifies everything on the agenda has been addressed.
- Give physical cues indicating the meeting is over.
- Close your file and move it off to the side.
- Extend a hand for a handshake when making a verbal cue like "Thank you for stopping by the office today" indicating the meeting has come to a close.
- Change the subject away from the meeting topics to something of general nature such as appreciation for their business, the weather, the season, traffic, or time of day. For example,
- "I really enjoy our meetings, and look forward to the next one."
- "Are you heading home or are you going back to work?"
- "Given it is only three o-clock, the traffic should not be too bad as you head out of here."
- As a last resort, stand up and they should follow. This move can seem personable if you come out from behind your desk with your hand extended to shake their hand.
- Give verbal cues indicating the meeting is over.
- "I've got one final comment/question before you leave..."
- "As we wrap up our meeting, is there any topic I should make note of that should be put at the top of our list to discuss for our next meeting?"
- "We've addressed all of our agenda points and it has been a productive meeting. I look forward to our next meeting. Would you like to schedule the next meeting now or via email once you get back to your office/home?"
- "At the beginning of the meeting you identified the most important thing you wanted to cover off on today, I would like to get some feedback on how you felt we addressed that question." If resolution was not possible during this meeting, you can tell them you will put this item on the agenda for the next meeting.