There are times when you just can’t stay through the end of a meeting because there’s a work appointment or personal emergency. How do you politely leave a meeting room without raising eyebrows?
If you know in advance you would have to leave early, inform the person in charge before the meeting starts. This way, you can leave without surprising or distract the presenter or the person leading the meeting.
However, if it is an emergency or a last minute thing that you have to get to, then you have to be careful about causing and awkward disruptions. If it’s a big conference where your absence is unlikely to be noticed, just quickly but quietly slide yourself to the side of the room, and head to the door. Don’t attract any attention.
In a small meeting, leaving in the middle will definitely have everyone looking at you. In situations like these, you would also need to announce to everyone that you have to leave, so timing is key. Don’t suddenly blurt out that you have to leave when the person leading the meeting is still speaking. Wait for a break as he or she begins to move to another topic. Then politely say, “I’m really sorry, Mr/Mrs. A, but I just received a text message that needs my attention immediately. Can I excuse myself?” If you are able to wait until the bathroom break or tea break, the better. As everyone is moving around, just go up in front to the speaker or organizer and let him or her know you have to leave.