How to Politely Leave an Online Meeting

Sometimes, you need to leave your online meeting. Learn how to leave online meetings politely.

Online meeting is now a trend.  While businesses find it helpful, the challenges are there. 

Spending a long time holding an online meeting with your team is not easy. You begin to think of how to leave especially when you feel the meeting is no longer interesting or you have a pressing need to attend to.

Sometimes, the problem is how to leave such a meeting without sounding rude. You're not alone if you often find yourself in this kind of situation. In this copy, you'll learn different ways you can politely leave an online meeting.

Since the pandemic hit, many businesses have resorted to online meetings to keep going as many employees work from home. 

According to Statista, Zoom records 300 million daily meeting participants. Also, online meeting via Instagram live room is on the increase that users wish there is no Instagram time limits

Even at that, people still leave online meetings before the duration elapses. 

Let's look at some reasons.

  • When an online meeting takes longer than expected
  • If a participant feels bored and tired
  • When team members and the organizer of the meeting fail to agree on issues thereby resulting in disagreements
  • When the agenda of the meeting is not well stated
  • If a participant feels disrespected and unappreciated

10 ways  to leave an online meeting politely

1. Give a sincere reason for leaving 

When you have a genuine reason to leave, say it. Other participants in the online meeting will understand.

Gently interrupt the moderator or wait for your turn to speak to give the reason you want to exit the meeting. An example could be:

"Hey folks, I have a task to handle at this time. I'm already behind schedule"  

Some participants of the meeting may pity you considering that you're behind schedule for a task you want to handle. 

2. Express your gratitude 

You exchange ideas with your team, deliberate on issues, and also learn new things during an online meeting.

When you want to leave before the meeting ends, express your gratitude to every participant. This shows you enjoyed the meeting, and value all that was discussed. 

3. Sound apologetic 

Express regret and apologize that you are leaving the meeting. It shows you value other participants.

Remember that other participants have tasks to handle but are waiting patiently for the meeting to end.

If they exit like you, it means only a few people will remain and that may affect the online meeting and its objectives. 

4. Thank the organizer and participants for their time

Some online meetings last more than 30 minutes. The average meeting length on Zoom for November 2021 was 54 minutes. This is a long time considering that one will sit down on a chair with the eyes on a PC.

It's something you should appreciate your co-workers for as you exit the online meeting before them. That's a way of indirectly appealing to them to bear with you as you leave. 

Even if the duration of the meeting is short. Let's say 15 minutes and you are leaving before others, still appreciate them for their time. It shows how polite and respectful you are. 

5. Wish everyone a fruitful day ahead 

Wishing everyone a fruitful day ahead before leaving online meeting shows you care about them. Even if you don't, say it just to look polite before others. People feel loved hearing kind words from others. 

Whether those kind words are genuine or not, it's left to you who said them. That you achieved your aim is the most important.

6. The battery of your device can help

The battery of your device, be it PC or smartphone can get drained during an online meeting. 

This happens if the battery efficiency of your device has dropped and the meeting is a long one. 

You often receive the alert  " battery low ". Having a low battery can be an opportunity to politely leave the meeting. You could say " Sorry folks, my battery is almost empty. I just have to go". 

This is understandable. The organizer of the meeting and other participants won't bother because it can happen to anyone. 

7. Leverage poor internet connection 

You need a strong internet connection to participate in an online meeting. Otherwise, you won't hear what is being discussed and other participants won't hear when you contribute.

Poor internet connection happens irrespective of where you're. You can leverage it to politely exit an online meeting if it happens during the meeting and you have been looking for a  way to leave. 

You can inform the organizer of the meeting that you're experiencing a poor internet connection and that it has made you not catch up with what is being discussed.

8. Tell a colleague to brief you later

The reason for participating in an online meeting is to get details of what is being discussed and also make your contribution. When you feel it's time to go,  inform a colleague who is your friend to take notes on your behalf.

That way you don't miss out on any crucial information passed across. At a later time, you can ask such a colleague to brief you on the summary of the meeting. 

That will guide you on your next line of action especially as it relates to a project your team is working on. 

This strategy works because the colleague you informed to brief you later will stand for you if the organizer of the meeting notices your departure. 

This can save you any form of query your team may issue to you. 

9. Capitalize on your inability to perform a task

You may be appointed to perform a task during online meetings. For example, your team leader may ask you to share your slide while making a presentation to other members.

This is one of the common tasks I perform during online meetings. Unfortunately, some of the folks I work with lack the confidence to make a presentation during online meetings. 

Those that are confident enough can't share their screen because they aren't conversant with advanced online meeting tools.

You can capitalize on your inability to perform some tasks to politely exit such a meeting.

Kindly inform the organizer that you require time to learn and master some features in the online meeting software to be able to perform some tasks. 

10. Jump on malfunctioning tool

Online meeting tools malfunction. I occasionally experience my online meeting app logging me out during a session.

It is a glitch and can be frustrating especially during a live meeting. However, it is a genuine reason to leave a meeting if you have been thinking of the best way to that without sounding rude. 

You can inform the organizer of the meeting of the challenges you are facing from your own end. It's understandable the situation is beyond your control. 


While online meeting can be interesting and fun, nothing stops you from leaving before it ends. What matters most is how you go about it. 

You won't want your co-workers see you as someone that is rude. That's why you must show how polite you are when you want to leave an online meeting.

I have shown you 10 different tactics you can use to leave an online meeting politely. 

It is up to you to digest them and know when best to apply a tactic. You shouldn't sound rude when leaving an online meeting.

Remember you will meet your colleagues during the next online meeting and they will remind you of how you rudely left the previous one. 

About The Author

Chuks Chukwuemeka is a Freelance SEO Content Writer & Strategist who helps SaaS brands grow their online presence organically. He’s the founder of depreneurdigest, a marketing blog, and loves learning new things about SEO. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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