How to Get Off the Phone

Apr 19, 2012

Have you ever booked a call for 30 minutes and found yourself still talking to the person an hour and a half later?

Yea, me too… it’s pretty common to find ourselves getting “stuck” on phone calls much longer than we intended to. And at the same time thinking “how do I get off this call?” or “how do I stop this from happening again?”

A few tips to help you have great conversations while still ending your calls on time:

  1. Know your agenda and send it out ahead of time – do you know ahead of time why you are talking to the person and what the agenda is? ie: For a team call, what specifically do you need to cover on the call? For a call with a potential client, do you know your process/questions that you want to ask? If you don’t have clarity ahead of time re: what you need to talk about it is really easy to end up talking about everything and accomplishing nothing.
  2. Give notice of time – this is as much for you as it is for the person on the other end of the line. When you start the call say “We have X minutes today to chat so let’s dive in shall we?” And as the call progresses don’t be shy in saying “Alright, we have 10 minutes left and we still need to cover A and B…” If you give a countdown of the time remaining it forces both of you to keep on track.
  3. Book an additional call for new stuff – if other things pop up on a call don’t be afraid to say “Great, not sure we’ll have time to cover that today so how about we book another time?” Don’t feel like you have to talk about everything single thing at once, because that could really have no end.

Ultimately this is about knowing your boundaries and respecting your time and the time of the person you are talking to. As you “flex” your muscles re: this you will soon find that it’s rare that you go over time on calls.

Would love to hear from you – what is your favorite “get off the phone” tip?


  1. Lynn

    This is great Tina. 

  2. RebeccaQuinn

    Great tips, Tina. I often go over on calls. It’s just so fun to talk business :)

    I like online scheduling tools as you set the time block you want (30 minutes, 45 minutes, an hour or more.) It’s very visual and clear to everyone exactly how long the appointment is supposed to last. And it can sync with the calendars of all parties. You may still have to pay attention to the time and give reminders but I think it helps set boundaries up front. I use ~ there are more, including Google calendar (which requires both parties to be using the same.)

    • tinaforsyth

      You reminded me of another tip Rebecca – i use Timetrade (and love it) for scheduling and of course I often end up with calls booked back to back. Which is another great way to get off the phone… if I have another call at the top of the hour I need to get off! :)

  3. Kim

    Love this Tina! Thank you for the great tips as always, you ROCK!


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