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The Art of Saying Goodbye

This weekend I am saying goodbye to my 18 year old son who is going to university. For some time he has been talking about the ’emotions’ of saying goodbye, and the fact I will need tissues for my tears. Any psychologist would say that there was some transference within that comment, but it is one of those rites of passage: saying goodbye to the past life to move forward.

But this situation made me consider how we say ‘Goodbye’ or more specifically within business communication situations. Of course email etiquette says that you finish the correspondence with ‘best wishes’ or ‘thank you’. But how about when you have contributed with speaking.

  • Pitching
  • A Presentation
  • Contributing to a Meeting
  • An interview
  • A Speech
  • Telephone conversation

The fact is that we are unable to take in all of the information of a conversation, and being memorable, or emphasising a summary of what we say is so important.

I am not the only speaker who initially made the mistake of having a very weak finish to a speech or presentation. Perhaps I had taken questions from the audience and then everything fizzled out and people JUST WENT HOME. Yet, if I had said something memorable or a call to action, it would have been a much better experience for both the audience, and myself. So instead of saying “thanks for listening” or “I hope you had a good time” be more specific. Here are a couple of examples of what you could do.

Pitching: tell the investors that they need to back your project.

Presentation: repeat the first action the audience needs to do.

Meeting: repeat the first action everyone needs to do (or the main point of your contribution in one sentence)

Interview: Summarise in one sentence what you can do and contribute to the job and why they should employ you.

A Speech: A call to action – e.g. connect with me on Linkedin, buy my book at the back of the room, arrange a one to one call

Telephone conversation: Repeat the purpose of the call in summary.

Then the audience will remember what to do!

And as for me this weekend; yes I am going to cry. It is the end of an era. But I have already explained to my son that it isn’t because I am sad, but proud of him. Good bye!

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